Former chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Dr Umar Saif failed to appear before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore on Monday in a matter concerning alleged irregularities during his sting as the top IT expert in the province.
Saif is accused of irregularities and nepotism in a number of projects during his service tenure and was asked to appear before NAB in an on-going investigation being carried out on charges of irregularities in the Punjab IT board.
Dr Saif is accused of misappropriating funds and causing heavy loss to the national treasury. He is also accused of irregularities and corruption in various IT projects during his tenure, along with accusations of hiring people on nepotism instead of merit.
Saif was also the founding vice chancellor of Information Technology University, Lahore and adviser to Former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. He was appointed the PITB chairman in 2011 by the Muslim League (N) government. However, last year in November, he was removed from the post.
During his tenure as the chairman of PITB, Saif led the digitisation of land record mechanisms, police department and other important provincial departments. He also launched programmes aimed at improving the stature of citizen-based services in the province including the police, health, education, high-court and city district government, through the utilisation of digital devices such as smartphones.
He also launched Pakistan’s first start-up incubator program, Plan 9, steered the development of Punjab Innovation Policy in collaboration with the world-renowned IT giants Google and also handled PlanX and TechHub Connect.
However, his critics say his efforts were all a gimmick and have had little effect on the actual government processes in the departments he claimed to have “revolutionised” through technology. He was also considered a favorite of favorites and a blue-eyed of former Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and enjoyed perks reserved only for a few.