By Anwer Hussain Sumra
LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to hire the services of a forensic expert, of international calibre, to head the Forensic Science Agency (FSA), a Home Department official told Daily Times on Monday.
The government advertised the vacancy in international newspapers to invite the applications of the most qualified candidates. Seven candidates replied to the advertisement, most of them Pakistani’s. The Planning and Development Hiring Committee consultant selected the most qualified candidate for the job, who has worked in four countries abroad.
The FSA was to be established in 1997, during Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s first tenure, the official said. The establishment of the FSA had already been approved by the Annual Development Programme (ADP), for its headquarters to be set up at Birdwood Road.
The Home Department prepared a summary and submitted it to the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department for approval.
In the proposal, it was recommended by the Home Department that all those facilities should also be brought under the FSA, adding that the FSA would be administered by the Home Department.
Condition: The following facilities would be controlled by the FSA: Chemical Examiner, Forensic Science Lab, Finger Print Bureau and the DNA Testing Lab. This would remove any barriers that the masses face in obtaining justice in civil and criminal cases, as they now only need to contact one department. The establishment of the FSA was one of the conditions of the Access to Justice Programme (AJP) funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), the official added.
The Chemical Examiner deals with poisons and the adverse effects of drugs and chemicals on various biological systems. The Finger Print Bureau is responsible for the attestation of documents, and identification via thumbprints.
The DNA Testing Lab is for conducting tests to clarify any suspicious cause of death or injuries in criminal cases.
The AJP, in 2001, had been launched by the government of Pakistan, after taking a loan of $350 million from the ADB to implement legislative, judicial, police and all administrative reforms to strengthen the administration of justice. The establishment of the National Forensic Science Laboratory at Islamabad, and four provincial Forensic Science Agencies at all provincial headquarters, were included in the AJP.