Visit to Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) during 4 th Training Session of Module 'Trace Evidence and Evidentiary Value'

Lahore, 3 January 2020 - The project Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT), UNODC, remains committed to the mandate of enhancing the professional capacities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police in terrorism investigations and consequent legal proceedings. Against this background, training on the module 'Trace Evidence and Evidentiary Value' was delivered from 25 December 2019 to 03 January 2020.  During the week-long training, several instruments were used as means of imparting knowledge including presentations, lectures, case studies, group activities; and most importantly a study visit to forensic facilities in Lahore.

The two-day study visit to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) Lahore, organized for the participants on 30-31 December 2019, formed a crucial component of the training. Thirty Investigating Officers (IOs) from the KP Police and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police participated. The visit to these state-of-the-art-facilities at PFSA was arranged through the technical and financial contribution of the European Union (EU). The objective was to facilitate exchange of knowledge on the use of forensic science in terrorism cases and investigation processes. It provided the participants with first-hand practical experience of the role of forensics in investigation.

During the visit, participants were introduced to several types of evidence to be considered for forensic testing - including digital evidence, CDRs, DNA, and latent fingerprints - after a brief orientation session. Numerous experiments were performed for a better understanding 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 attendees were 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 last part of the visit also featured presentations and demonstrations on explosives, firearms and tools-marks, vehicles, and ballistic tools. The visit concluded with a group activity in the form of a moderated mock trial on 'crime scene management'.

Following the visit, on the remaining days of training Investigating Officers were taught by the finest forensic scientists from the digital forensics, explosives, and ballistics areas of study. Several key concepts were discussed under the headings of: Evidentiary Value of IT-based Evidence; Geo-Fencing and Geo-Tagging; Crime Mapping; Utilization of NADRA; the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and Benefits of JITs; and Oral and Documentary Evidence. 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'.

Participants extended words of appreciation, and thanked the EU for making this training possible. They deemed it beneficial in enhancing their understanding of legal court proceedings and processes of evidence collection, via practical demonstrations of the subject matter.