–Varsity officials say ITU’s goings-on, ongoing projects marred by uncertainty since Dr Umar Saif’s removal
–ITU Communications director confirms staffers to remain out of work till renewal of their contracts
LAHORE: At least 80 staff members of the Information Technology University (ITU) have become jobless as their contracts could not be renewed due to the absence of a vice chancellor amid negligence of the incumbent government, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, most of the ITU staff, including teachers, research assistants and junior staffers, were working on a one-year contract basis, which had expired on December 31.
“The contracts are to be renewed every year after evaluating each staff member’s performance, however, the goings-on of the varsity have been marred by uncertainty and ongoing projects have been halted ever since Dr Umar Saif was removed from the position of its vice chancellor,” sources said.
They added that Dr Saif had been removed because the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government considered him as a blue-eyed of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.
An ITU official, seeking anonymity, informed Pakistan Today that Dr Umar Saif, during his tenure as the vice chancellor, had formulated certain rules to recruit brainy staffers and a policy to hire them on a contractual basis.
“These one-year contracts were renewed on the basis of each staff member’s performance, which resulted in everyone striving to keep things up to the mark,” the official said.
They added that when the government removed Dr Saif from his post, the entire system collapsed and the authorities also failed to understand the sensitivity of the varsity’s affairs. “The government hasn’t even bothered to appoint a new vice chancellor for the past three months. Instead, has given the Punjab University vice chancellor additional charge of ITU, which is unfair to this university.”
“Just imagine the intensity of blow that ITU’s international reputation would take when people would learn about how the government has appointed a non-technical person to manage it. How are IT qualified people supposed to work under him?”
“The government thinks that ITU and Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) were projects of the previous government and doesn’t realise that ITU is the future of the nation. Nobody knows what is going on in the minds of government officials. The government should work to end this uncertainty and understand it is about the future of qualified people who are working at the institution,” said the official.
Speaking of the expiration of contracts, they lamented that higher-ups were not thinking of the extremely qualified staff that had gone jobless. “This kind of ignorance leads to stress and depression. It appears as if Prime Minister Imran Khan is unable to stand by his promises of bringing back learned Pakistanis to the country. It is like his government is working to even lose the gems we have in Pakistan.”
ITU Communication Director Tahir Perwaaz said that he was unaware of the varsity’s affairs as he was out of station. “No one has been terminated,” he said, adding that however, those staffers whose contracts had expired would not be working at the university until they get it renewed.