Multi-Agency Workshop on the Use of Forensics in Counter Terrorism Cases from 26 to 28, September 2023 in Lahore

28 September 2023, Lahore - The United Nations of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under the framework of Preventing and Countering Terrorism, organized a three-day training at the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) titled Multi-Agency Workshop on the Use of Forensics in Counter Terrorism Cases in a bid to enhance the effectiveness of counter-terrorism departments across Pakistan from 26 to 28, September 2023. This workshop was made possible with the support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) bringing together participants from counter-terrorism departments in four provinces, including Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. With the primary goal of equipping these dedicated professionals with the latest forensic tools and methodologies, promising to revolutionize their efforts in the ongoing battle against terrorism.

The workshop began with a visit to the state-of-the-art facility of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA). Participants were exposed to cutting-edge technologies and resources used in forensic analysis. It was a testament to the commitment of PFSA to provide the best resources for forensic science. Next session was dedicated to arming participants on collecting evidence of firearms and tool marks. Proper techniques for collecting physical evidence were discussed in detail. Following this, the emphasis shifted to the preservation of physical evidence. Participants learned to safeguard vital pieces of evidence to maintain their integrity.

The participants were provided with insights into processing methodologies, which can significantly impact the outcomes of counter-terrorism investigations. Furthermore, they learned how to effectively format their reports, ensuring that they were both precise and compelling. Another session started with the collection of evidence related to latent fingerprints. Participants explored techniques that are pivotal in identifying potential leads in investigations. Preservation of physical evidence, in this case, latent fingerprints, was given due importance. The participants delved into how maintaining the quality of such evidence is integral to successful investigations.

The processing and significance of physical evidence in latent fingerprints was an eye-opener for many. Understanding how latent fingerprints can become key components in counter-terrorism cases was a remarkable takeaway from the workshop. The day ended on a high note with a session on proper report formatting for latent fingerprints. Participants then shifted their focus to the collection, preservation, and processing of physical evidence related to computer forensics and audio-visual materials. This session offered crucial insights into dealing with cyber threats, a growing concern in counter-terrorism efforts. Followed by an extensive discussion on the legal perspective of forensic evidence as understanding the legal implications of the gathered evidence is vital for its admissibility in court.

A highlight of the workshop was a mock crime scene investigation. Participants were split into groups, and each group had the opportunity to engage with mock crime scenes involving firearms and tool marks, latent fingerprints, computer forensics, and audio-visual evidence. The practical exercise was an invaluable experience, giving attendees hands-on exposure to forensic investigations.

The workshop concluded with a closing ceremony graced by the Additional Director General of the PFSA. The ceremony provided a platform for the participants to share their experiences and insights gained during the three-day workshop. The Multi-Agency Workshop on the Use of Forensics in Counter Terrorism Cases represented a significant step forward in empowering counter-terrorism departments across Pakistan. By equipping professionals with the latest knowledge and methodologies in forensic science, the workshop has undoubtedly strengthened the nation's counter-terrorism capabilities. It is a testament to Pakistan's commitment to combating terrorism effectively, both today and in the future.