Dr Umar Saif, one of the most blue-eyed officials in the team of former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, has been removed from his offices of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) chairman and vice chancellor of the Information Technology University (ITU).

He had held the position of the university’s vice chancellor since the foundation of ITU in 2013, while he remained the chairman of PITB for almost seven years – from November 2011 until November 2018. Dr Saif’s tenure as the ITU VC ended in January 2017, however he remained at the helm of the varsity’s affairs and was handed over the charge of acting VC.

The selection committee tasked with finding a replacement for Dr Saif advertise the vacancy after Supreme Court of Pakistan’s strict orders of finding permanent VCs for universities across Punjab earlier this year. However, the issue of finding a suitable VC for ITU was put on the backburner prior to general elections, with the selection committee citing a “lack of response for the advertised post”.

Uneager Response: HED Might Re-advertise ITU Vice Chancellor Post

According to sources, a summary was finalised for appointing a VC at ITU, but it was scrapped and the post might get re-advertised as the Punjab government is in reportedly in the middle of finalising a new criteria for the appointment of vice chancellors in the province.

Punjab VCs’ Appointment Criteria All Set For A Comprehensive Overhaul

 

The new Punjab government, as well as the one before it, has faced a hard time finding vice chancellors for public universities in the province.

Is A University Vice Chancellor That Hard To Find In Punjab?

This problem has plagued many government varsities that continue to operate without permanent heads of affairs.

Long Time, No (V)C: Punjab Still Far From Finding Permanent VCs

Dr Saif confirmed the development in a Facebook post, as well on his twitter account.

 

 

The Cambridge scholar was considered a sworn favourite of former CM Shahbaz Sharif. Academics had time and again raised  questions over his appointment as the ITU VC, often citing the fact that he served only as an associate professor at LUMS before his appointment to the top office of then newly formed ITU.

He also appeared to be a part of every important decision and development during Shahbaz Sharif’s tenure; even having a presence in search committees that were tasked with vetting candidates for appointment as vice chancellors, all when he himself was a candidate for the VC’s post at ITU. An official notification of his removal from the two posts is yet to be issued.

As usual, the news of Dr Saif’s removal lit the Twitter late on Monday, with people on both sides of the divide deeming it apt to put their thoughts on to their timelines.

Many praised the man for what he wanted to be remembered as, a digital evangelist.

While other criticised the PTI government and questioned its commitment to upholding merit.

Still, there were others who went ahead to appear thankful over the development.

 

But all things remaining as they are, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for ITU and dozens of projects initiated by PITB is a post-Saif era. Here’s to hoping only for the best.

 

Write A Comment