The Dubai Police Chief’s request for the Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB) to assist in efforts to digitise the police stations and other mechanisms in Dubai is most welcome, and tells us that one governmental institution at the very least, is working well enough to get recognised on the international stage. And this is not the only international project PITB is engaged in; the institution is also working on computerising the Hajj system of Nigeria. PITB’s work in digitising 712 police stations in 32 districts of Punjab has been received well enough to be exported, and for this it must be commended.

Cooperation with the UAE on this project can lead to other mutual endeavours, leading to a thaw in the icy relations between Pakistan and the UAE, ever since the former’s announcement of not taking part in the Yemen conflict. While the situation has not been overtly hostile, UAE’s deepening relations with India, and Pakistan’s exclusion from any discussions of mutual development have had an impact on the previously close relationship between the two countries. With renewed cooperation, this is likely to change.

But even PITB still has a lot to accomplish in Punjab, and potentially provide assistance to other provinces, like it does to countries such as the UAE and Nigeria. There are still many police stations that lack the skilled manpower to make digitised police stations function – even though PITB will state otherwise – and perhaps the organisation can take the lead on this project as well, to ensure all government employees working at digitised offices can operate them properly and efficiently as well.

Not only that, but there is still work to be done even on the projects that PITB is spearheading. For instance, the landmark Land Registration project, launched at the behest of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has not completely eradicated the menace of patwaris as promised.

However, even with the obvious shortcomings, PITB’s success should be recognised – it has spearheaded countless technologically-based projects that have helped governance, the economy and many other faces of development in the province.