Chaklala house fire: Absence of forensic lab delaying police investigations

Investigators suspect tragedy might have resulted from an ongoing family dispute.


Obaid Abbasi June 24, 2015
Investigators suspect tragedy might have resulted from an ongoing family dispute. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The absence of a forensic laboratory in the twin cities and reliance on the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) in Lahore is delaying investigations into the Chaklala house fire, shared a Rawalpindi police official involved in the case. 

Seven members of a family including five children were killed on June 17 in Chakala Scheme-III after a fire apparently erupted in their house. However, police suspect the family might have been killed over an ongoing family dispute that might have led to the tragedy.

A senior police official, who requested not be named, said the incident took place on June 17 however, after a lapse of one week, the local police have yet to receive the lab reports from Lahore.

The official said the lab was in Lahore and that is why it was taking time. “This is further delaying the investigation,” he said.

The official claimed that they could complete investigations in such high-profile cases in a timely manner if they were provided a forensic lab.

“It is unfortunate that the not a single lab is available to the police in the whole city where crimes of different nature take place on a daily basis,” said another police official who is also part of the investigation into the Chaklala house fire incident.

Officials say investigators heavily rely on postmortem and forensic reports. “We cannot proceed further in the case till we receive the reports from Lahore and we have no option now but to just wait,” he remarked. The police official said police had already recorded the statements of the family members but it could not reach at any conclusions till they had received the reports.

On the other hand, City District Government Rawalpindi has sought help from the Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (Iesco) to determine the cause of the fire. An official said Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed had requested Iesco to send experts to provide assistance in determining the cause of the fire.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2015.

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