Training Rollout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police on Trace Evidence and its Evidentiary Value, Peshawar

26 October 2019, Peshawar. UNODC under its PACT project with the collaboration of the European Union (EU) has initiated a Training Rollout on Terrorism Investigation Course under which twelve specialized modules have been designed to enhance the existing knowledge and capacities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police officers. Trace Evidence & its Evidentiary Value is the fourth module on which a deliberated training rollout session was organized in Peshawar on 21 to 25 October 2019, with the purpose ofimparting in-depth and real-time information to the participants. A total of 30 police officers are being trained under this programme.

The first day commenced with a presentation on 'Evidentiary Value of IT Based Evidence' presented by Mr Akhtar Nasir. He enlightened the participants in particular on the growing significance of digital evidence under the IT infrastructure, which has become a core component of evidence in numerous crime cases. Mr Nasir then continued with his second presentation on 'Geo-Fencing and Geo-Tagging, CCTV Cameras, Crime Mapping, and Utilization of NADRA for Verification of the Suspect'. This was deemed a primary presentation as all aspects discussed in this lecture are inter-related; whereas NADRA is a vital organization maintaining nationwide records of all individuals for identification purposes and is thus of assistance in crime related incidents for impromptu identification. The third presentation of the day was by Mr Farooq Zaman on 'Joint Investigation Team (JIT), JITs formed pursuant to the ATA, and Benefits of JITs'; whereas Mr Allama Iqbal delivered the fourth presentation using a case study on 'Oral and Documentary Evidence, Primary and Secondary Evidence, and Government of Sindh v. Farad Naseem, 2002 PCr.LJ 1765 (Karachi High Court)'. These presentations were important in highlighting in-country aspects through real life examples. The last presentation was by Mr Sikandar Sahibzada on 'Legal Framework of Evidence under Pakistani Law' as it is essential to maintain the law's perspective front and centre while resolving any crime or terrorism related case.

The second day started with a review session on the previous day's learnings, after which Mr Mir Qasim deliberated on 'Confessions: Witness Statement'; the witness statement being among the most powerful elements which directly impact the course of an investigation. A second presentation on 'Physical Evidence & Electronic Evidence' was led by Mr Iqbal, in which he distinguished between the two kinds of evidence, and shared the significance of each with reference to relevant cases. Following this, Mr Nasir gave a third lecture on other forms of evidence and their collection methods: 'Digital (Audio/Video/CDs/Sims) and CDR' was the designated topic, under which a deliberated discussion was held. The day concluded with an assessment supervised by Ms. Rizwana, which assisted in evaluating the knowledge gains.

On the third day of the training rollout, Mr Sikandar Sahibzada gave a lecture on 'Trace Evidence: Evidentiary Value of Trace Evidence': he emphasized the significance of trace evidence and its importance in resolving terrorism related cases. Mr Nawab Khan delivered the second presentation on 'Analysis of Trace Evidence: Glass and GSR'; while Dr M Tahir gave the third lecture on 'Analysis of Trace Evidence: Plants, Seeds, Paint, DNA and fingerprints; Blood'. These two lectures cast light on the technical aspects of trace evidence, which plays a vital role in accurate evidence collection, which in turn leads to clues. The day concluded with a quiz conducted by Dr M Tahir in which he assessed the prevailing knowledge of the participants and the knowledge gained through the lectures.

The fourth day lined up sessions primarily based on case studies. Mr Bakht Munir presented a Case Study of Benazir Bhutto in the Context of Pakistan, this being a seminal case in the  country's history; whereas Mr Zaman presented the second case study, on the Murder of Daniel Pearl. It was concluded that these two cases had changed the course of terrorism investigation in the country, and remain sources of study for investigators. Dr M. Tahir delivered the last lecture of the day on 'Collection and Preservation Techniques of Trace Evidence', after which he took a quiz-based assessment of the participants.

The fifth day was of great importance as the UNODC team organized a post-training knowledge test in which a thorough assessment of the participants was conducted, after which the test results were compiled, and the evaluation and feedback shared with the participants to identify their strengths and weaknesses post-training. Tips and techniques given by the UNODC personnel were also shared with the participants to improve their weak areas for future reference. Mr Iqbal once again took the opportunity to share the course review, and gave a summary presentation of the learnings attained during the span of the training rollout; after which the closing ceremony was held in which participants were given certificates and a group photograph taken. The participants also shared their feedback, in which they particularly extended their gratitude to the UNODC and EU for taking the initiative in designing such a thorough training rollout, with continuous assessments for reinforcement of knowledge and enhancement of expertise.