Mastering the Mutual Legal Assistance Requests in Pakistan

12 August 2023, Islamabad –  Through a joint initiative with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a two-day Workshop focused on drafting Mutual Legal Assistance Requests (MLARs) in cases concerning terrorism financing. This was made possible with financial support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The key aim of the workshop was to acquaint professionals with a comprehensive and tailored practical guide for procuring electronic evidence across international borders. Participants not only acquired crucial insights and competencies across various domains but also gained a thorough grasp of Pakistan's MLA framework and electronic evidence procedures. A meticulous exploration of the Central Authority's role in both soliciting and furnishing electronic evidence was undertaken, encompassing both informal and formal cooperation within Pakistan.

The workshop was designed to deepen participants' understanding of international legal instruments and the invaluable resources offered by the UNODC concerning MLA and electronic evidence. A key facet of the workshop involved training officials to adeptly navigate and surmount challenges associated with MLA. The pivotal role played by Central Authorities in ensuring smooth cooperation was underscored. Furthermore, illuminating presentations from TikTok and shed light on the intricacies of acquiring electronic evidence from service providers. Representatives from the Department of Justice Canada, the United States, and the Central Authority of the United Kingdom also provided insights into the process of sending mutual legal assistance requests to obtain electronic evidence from their respective jurisdictions.A total of twenty-two males and two females participated in the workshop. These participants represented diverse law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Counter Terrorism Department from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Home Departments of Balochistan and Sindh. Through collaborative group activities, participants had the opportunity to identify and share operational-level challenges, subsequently seeking expert guidance to devise effective solutions. The workshop fostered transparency and a collaborative ethos among law enforcement agencies, ultimately streamlining the process of soliciting mutual legal assistance requests.

The successful workshop was made possible with the generous support of Global Affairs Canada.


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