Police lag in using modern forensics

Torture must be replaced with scientific techniques like DNA testing


Muhammad Shahzad July 04, 2020

LAHORE:

The world celebrated the ‘International Day of the Victims of Torture’ on Friday, highlighting the need to replace torturing suspected criminals with modern scientific techniques of investigation like proving them guilty through DNA matching.

The top brass of police, government authorities and other stakeholders should realise how devastating resorting to torture is when it comes to policing and investigations.

They should know that the use of torture besides hurting and damaging people severely also promotes a culture of abuse, authoritarianism and high-handedness.

When it comes to the authenticity of investigations, the confession of a criminal has no worth. This has been demonstrated through various instances where the DNA of the criminal proved him guilty.

The cases of international serial killer Colin Pitchfork, who was convicted on the basis of his DNA, after 17-year-old Richard Buckland had been termed the prime suspect.

Pitchfork was convicted after a mass DNA screening was conducted and he was traced as a serial killer.

At least 33 years have passed since DNA test was introduced as a modern investigation technique. The DNA matching emerged as an investigation technique while busting the myth of the importance of confession.

However, this had been the only source of investigation in an overwhelming number of cases in Pakistan in particular and around the globe in general.

There are no efforts seen on part of any stakeholder or officer in Punjab Police also, despite major blunders and tragic incidents that stained its image.

Mudassar of Kasur can be termed as another Buckland for he was also taken as a prime suspect in the notorious Zainab serial killing case in Kasur.

However, he was not as lucky as Buckland as Mudassar was killed in an encounter after confessing to murder and sexual assault.

Later, a case was registered against DPO Nasir Ali Rizvi. However, he still enjoyed the protocol and position of a senior police officer and no one knows the fate of the case against him.

The custodial death of ATM thief Salahuldin that invited public wrath against police was another example.

However, the stories of horrific torture and custodial deaths mainly for confession through coercion as part of police investigations keep pouring in consistently.

This portrays how deeply ingrained and acceptable is the culture of torture in the police.

A few days back, an inhumane case of humiliation and torture of a youth named Amir Tehal over a minor issue by K-P police was also reported.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2020.

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