Investigators in South Punjab face difficulty due to lack of forensic labs

There is only one forensic lab in Lahore which caters to more than 1,000 police stations

Owais Qarni December 30, 2017

MULTAN: Investigators in South Punjab are facing immense problems as there is only one forensic laboratory in Lahore to prepare forensic reports and deal investigation process. In 2013, the Punjab government terminated all the forensic labs that were established at divisional level in the province. Since then, investigators have to travel to Lahore to get forensic reports.

However, travelling to Lahore is not only expensive but time consuming and all the expenses are paid by the accused or people related to the case from their own pocket. Lack of forensic labs is also hindering the investigation process and consumes more time due to the workload.

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The forensic lab in Lahore caters to the needs of more than 1,000 police stations in Punjab. The investigators from far-off cities like Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Attock and Layyah are compelled to travel to Lahore either on their own expense or on the expense of the people related to the case.

Officials told The Express Tribune that the forensic lab agency project was completed in June 2013 in Lahore. Later, all the laboratories in Multan and other divisions were terminated. Therefore, the police officials have to submit all the evidence of the cases in Lahore’s forensic laboratory and the reports are used for investigation purpose in the cases.

The move only facilitated the investigators and people in Lahore but created difficulties for the people hailing from far-off cities. Cases related to different departments, including property, drugs, figure prints, polygraph, trace chemistry, photography, forensic pathology, audio and video are being dealt at the forensic laboratory.

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Similarly, in sexual harassment cases, both the accused and accuser have to visit Lahore at their own expense. The district police do not pay their travelling expenses despite the fact that it receives funds of millions of rupees from the government.

Similar situation has also been witnessed at other police stations in Multan, Vehari. Khanewal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Lodhran and other divisions of the province.

In a bid to expedite the process, an integrated system of forensic facilities or labs is required to carry out transparent investigation of cases across the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2017.


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