Workshop on Presenting Forensic Evidence During Terrorism Trials for Prosecutors Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) 

02 – 05 August 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 a Workshop on Presenting Forensic Evidence during Terrorism Trials For Prosecutors, held  from  02-05 August 2022 at Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) Lahore, in collaboration with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), with  financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The training was attended by 18 prosecutors from Anti-Terrorism Courts in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The participants were provided with hands-on training on the required use of forensics evidence during investigations and presentations during trial of terrorism cases. 

The substance of the 4 Day training was  focused primarily on the introduction and scope of Forensics; specifically, in its identification, collection, preservation, and transportation. The participants were given case studies to understand the above concepts, using state-of-the-art mock crime scenes and other facilities at PFSA. The courses were delivered by  experts who provided hands-on training to the participants on the tools and techniques used in the scientific examination and analysis of evidence. The trainers guided the officials through how to perform a forensic investigation while maintaining the critical documented chain of custody for presentation as evidence in the court of law.

During the workshop, after a brief orientation session, participants were introduced to several types of evidence to be considered for forensic testing - including digital evidence, CDRs, DNA, and latent fingerprints. A number of experiments were performed to enable  a better understanding by the participants of the identification, collection, preservation, and transportation of evidence. Presentations were given on the procedures pertaining to, and guidelines to be followed for, analysis of trace and forensic evidence. Forensic science experts present at the facility demonstrated the step-by-step procedure of data extraction from cellular devices and other digital media and placed special emphasis on DNA extraction and analysis. The participants were also given a presentation on collection and analysis of DNA, serology, and latent fingerprints; and were taken on a tour of the relevant laboratories. They also discussed several forensic science disciplines including forensic pathology and histology; DNA and biological information; trace evidence and audiovisual analysis. The concluding part of the workshop  at the PFSA  featured presentations and demonstrations on explosives, firearms and tools-marks, vehicles, and ballistic tools. 

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Tahir, Director General, PFSA appreciated the efforts of NACTA, UNODC and the Government of Canada for arranging this training which brought together prosecutors from all across Pakistan to share their knowledge and  experiences under one roof. The DG also highlighted the role of PFSA in criminal justice system and  that PFSA had won the confidence of the judiciary, public, security agencies, stakeholders in the criminal justice system, federal agencies, the international forensic community and the general public. Before this evolution, judiciary did not rely on forensic evidence but after  PFSA was established, the judiciary began  accepting reports based on physical evidence in the court of law. At the conclusion of the closing ceremony, certificates were distributed to all participants by Dr. Ashraf Tahir followed by a group photograph.