According to officials of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), the recent attack on the office of its chairman was a targeted one aimed at either harming or threatening the chairman.
The office of the Chairman of the PITB, Dr Umar Saif, had reportedly been attacked by snipers a few days ago, on Sunday morning.
No person came in harm’s way as the incident took place on an off day. Dr Umar Saif was also not in the country and thus missed the shot.
Dr Umar Saif, who is in Dubai at the moment, is an MIT graduate that has been serving the Punjab government for some time. He is a member of the provincial cabinet and leads projects such as Plan9, PlanX and Tech Hubb Connect at the PITB.
The news was broken by General Manager Punjab Information Technology Board, Burhan Rasool, that posted a number of chilling images on his facebook account, saying the sniper’s “bullet shells landed a few inches away from Dr Umar Saif’s chair.”
“Sad & unfortunate! While we were making Pakistan proud in Dubai, some ‘Namaloom Afraad’ were trying to deprive us of Great minds. Sniper Bullet (diagonally shot from a lower position) precisely targeting Dr Umar Saif’s office. The bullet shell dropped a few inches away from his chair (after hitting the ceiling)” read the PITB GM’s facebook post.
According to the PITB’s head of security Major Nauman, their Media Manager Parwat, and DG security Faisal Yusuf, speaking to Pakistan Today, there is no confirmation as to who had taken the shot and why.
“We know as much as you do,” said the Media manager. “There is no confirmation as to whether this was an attempt to harm. We have left it to the police and it is their investigation.” he added.
However, when further prompted, he added that they suspected it was a targeted attack to try and intimidate Dr Saif, who has been threatened in the past. Similar suspicions were more directly addressed by GM Burhan Rasool in his earlier mentioned social media post.
Meanwhile, the Punjab police is carrying out an investigation and do not have any specific leads as such. They said that it is not clear whether the bullet is a stray or comes from a sniper, and that forensic testing was being carried out.
Dr Umar Saif’s work has received wide acclaim as he has personally been the brains behind mass digitalisation operations such as those for the police and land departments respectively. Even now the PITB chairman is in Dubai where they are working with the Dubai police for multiple technology initiatives, signing a number of Memorandums of Understandings for systems set to go live this year. Because of his highly publicised profile and work, he has been threatened before.
“There is no way that the bullet crashing in Dr Umar’s office of the many offices in the building is a coincidence” said another PITB official.
Dr Umar Saif himself was quick to assure his followers and well wishers of his safety after the information started making rounds on social media. He both tweeted out and updated a facebook status thanking everyone for their prayers and well wishes, saying “dear friends, thanks for your messages. I am safe now.”