Multi-Agency Workshop on Use of Forensic Evidence in Counter Terrorism Cases 26-29 July 2022

29 July 2022, Lahore - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan under the Country Programme-III (2022-2025) and Sub-Programme-IV “Preventing and Countering Terrorism” organized Multi-Agency workshop on use of Forensic Evidence in Counter Terrorism Cases from 26-29 July 2022 at Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) Lahore in collaboration with National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) with the financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The training brought together Investigation Officers and Forensic Experts from federal and provincial Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) including NACTA, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW), Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and experts from Forensic Science Laboratory KP. The objective of the workshop was to facilitate exchange of knowledge on the use of forensic science in terrorism cases and investigation processes. It also provided the participants with first-hand practical experience of the role of forensics in investigation.

The training started off with visit to the state-of-the-art-facilities and multiple forensic disciplines at PFSA. Experts from PFSA provided brief orientation sessions on the procedures pertaining to, and guidelines to be followed for, analysis of trace and forensic evidence. Dr. Manzar Zaidi, Senior National Consultant, UNODC delivered a session on the “Role of Forensic Evidence in promoting Human Rights in Criminal Justice System of Pakistan”. Dr. Zaidi went through multiple cases to highlight the importance of forensic evidence in terrorism cases, he also explained how forensic evidence plays vital role in promoting Human Rights by exonerating those falsely implicated and vice-versa.

The four days training comprised of presentations by experts from PFSA on several forensic science disciplines including forensic pathology and histology; data extraction methods from computers or cellular devices; trace evidence and audiovisual analysis. The experts also presented on explosives, firearms and tools-marks and ballistic tools. The Trainers deliberated upon the legal aspects of trace evidence and elaborated on 'The Legal Framework of Evidence under Pakistani Law', 'Confessions: The Witness Statement', and 'Physical Evidence: Electronic Evidence'. The training concluded with a group activity in the form of a moderated mock exercise by the crime scene investigation team of PFSA who practically showed collection, preservation and transportation of physical evidence in terrorism related cases.

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Tahir, Director General, PFSA appreciated the efforts of NACTA, UNODC and Government of Canada for arranging the multi-agency training which brought together experts to share knowledge and their experiences under one roof. He stressed that such workshops are beneficial in inter-agency coordination and PFSA is available to host such events in the future. Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed Khan, Deputy Director, NACTA also attended the closing ceremony and appreciated the expertise and the state-of-the-art facilities available at PFSA which is the second largest forensic laboratory in the world. Mr. Iftikhar acknowledges the PFSA pivotal role in criminal justice system of Pakistan, he thanked UNODC and Government of Canada for organizing fruitful training for national LEAs. In the end, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Tahir distributed certificates to the participants

This activity was made possible with the financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC)