Dr. Umar Saif, the current Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board, has been included in a list of the top 500 Most Influential Muslims around the globe.
Compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, the Muslim 500 is an annual publication that ranks the most influential Muslims around the globe and this year, three scientists from Pakistan made it to the list. These include Professor Atta-Ur-Rahman, president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the first Muslim to win the UNESCO Science Prize; Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme; and Dr.Umar Saif, the current chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board.
The Muslim 500 has featured the PITB head in the Science and Technology section along with the other two scientists from Pakistan, making this the only Asian country to have more than one scientists in the list.
A LUMS graduate, Dr.Umar Saif is a technology pioneer and one of the best technological minds this country has to offer. He is also the primary force behind Punjab government’s recent push to revolutionize the technology and entrepreneurs eco-system. As of March 2015, the tech board had completed more than 173 projects under his rule. Some of their best projects include an online web service for monitoring of 52,695 public schools in Punjab, a system to monitor and find businesses for tax collection and automation of the Punjab Police force.
Dr.Umar Saif has also pioneered several IT-based solutions for health and education and has done a lot of work for the entrepeneurs of Pakistan. Under his leadership, the PITB board launched Pakistan’s first government-sponsored incubator, Plan9, another accelerator program called PlanX and a co-working space for Pakistani freelancers called TechHub Connect.
Apart from his government job, he is also the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University, Lahore, and was a core member of the $50 million Project Oxygen at MIT. His work has been acclaimed locally as well as internationally. In 2010, he was named “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and a year later, MIT included him in the list of the ‘World’s Top Young Innovators for the year 2011′. In 2014, the Pakistani Government also honored him with the nation’s third-highest civilian honor, ‘Sitara-e-Imtiaz’.