Two men held for assaulting teenage cousin in Haripur – 29 Apr 2023

HARIPUR: Two men allegedly assaulted a teenage cousin in the limits of the city police station, police said here on Friday.

SHO city Siddig Shah quoted a 13-year-old boy from Dir district as saying he had been living with his cousins in a rented room of a plaza on Railway Road for the last few months.

On Thursday night, the SHO said he was on a routine patrolwhen he noticed some commotion in the plaza and as he entered the building, a crying and undressed boy ran towards him and informed him that his two cousins had assaulted him.

He said the police arrested the two accused, identified as Abdul Shakoor and Ehsanullah, and registered a criminal case against them under sections 377/34 of PPC and 53 of Child Protection Act. The SHO said preliminary medical examination of the victim confirmed he was raped.

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Woman commits suicide by jumping in front of train – 29 Apr 2023

VEHARI: A 50-yearold woman committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train here on Friday afternoon.

Saleema Bibi jumped in front of Fareed Express near Iqbal Town track.

She sustained serious injuries and died on the spot. Police claimed that she had committed suicide due to some domestic problems. However, the police are investigating the incident.

RAPED: A 10-year old girl was raped allegedly by a milkman at Mujahid Colony, Burewala cityarea, some 45km from here, on Friday.

According to details, the daughter of a labourer went to buy milk from the bazaar where the milk shop owner took her to a washroom and raped her.

Later, he locked her in the washroom and fled.

The girl fell unconscious and was admitted to the Burewala THQ Hospital. A police official claimed that the accused hadbeenarrested and an FIR registered against him under Section 376/1 of the PPC.

He said an initial medical report confirmed rape.

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Police recover kidnapped minor from his kin – 29 Apr 2023

MUZAFFARGARH: Police claim to have recovered an eight-yearold child from his alleged kidnapper, who was also arrested during the operation.

The child was recovered by a special team constituted by District Police Officer Syed Hasnain Haider, led by Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Syed Ejaz Bukhari. Police said the kidnapped child was recovered from Khanewl district and the suspect was arrested.

Earlier, Punjab inspector general of pohce had taken notice of the kidnapping and ordered Dera Ghazi Khan Regional Police Officer (RPO) retired Capt Sajjad Hassan to recover the child.As per police, Farhan was kidnapped over a monetary dispute in Seetpur, in the limits of Alipur police station, on Tuesday the last and the kidnapper, Riaz, a relative of the victim, had also sent a threatening voice message to his father on WhatsApp.

The case was registered by Seetpur police under section363 of thePakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of Allah Bukhah, an uncle of the child, who said his nephew was kidnapped when he was going to learn the Holy Quran at the house of one Nazeer Kumbhar.

Alipur DSP Ejaz Bukhari said the police traced the suspect through his phone data.


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Woman found murdered in Quaidabad – 29 Apr 2023

KARACHI: A woman was found murdered in her apartment near Star Ground in Sherpao Colony on Friday, according to police.

Quaidabad police identified her as Nasreen Bibi, 45, whose throat was slit with a sharp object. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre(JPMC)tofulfilllegalformalities.

Area SHO Nadeem Riaz said her husband Abdul Latif claimed that she was killed by dacoits over resistance, but when the police visited the spot, there were no signs of looting.

The couple lived on the fourth floor of a multi-story building with one main gate which was closed.

It was the third marriage of Latif and second of the victim woman. She had adaughter from her first husband, who lived with her in-laws.

The police were waiting for the victim`s father who was supposed to arrive from Mansehra to initiate legal proceedings.

Man shot by carjackers over resistance A 60-year-old man was shot and wounded by carjackers over resistance in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Friday.

Police said Raees Khan was injured at Munawar Chowrangi. He was shifted to the JPMC.

A police officer said the armed robbers snatched a Toyota Corolla car from him. As he put up resistance, they opened fire on him and fled along with the four-wheeler.

He suffered a bullet wound in his leg and his condition was stated to be out of danger.

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Victim of religiosity – 29 Apr 2023

There are many factors at play here

A Chinese engineer has been booked on blasphemy charges under the pressure of a mob at Dassu Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Tian, identified in the FIR as merely a heavy transport supervisor, invited the ire of the labour when he reprimanded them for coming late from the payers. According to the FIR, some workers and their interpreters alleged that the Chinese national uttered “sacrilegious remarks” when they sought a break to offer prayers. Since the incident happened in the month of Ramazan when the pace of everyday activities usually gets slow, chances are that the workers would have taken more than usual time to return to work after offering prayers. Mr Tian was taken into police custody apparently to save him from meeting the fate of the Sri Lankan factory manager who was burned to death by a frenzied mob that had accused him of committing blasphemy.

There are many factors at play here. One is religiosity. Second is the absence of the writ of the government. Third is the unproductive labour force. Fourth is the incorrect interpretation of blasphemy. Fifth is the wrong implementation of the blasphemy law.

The basic obligatory tenants of Islam, such as Prayer, Fasting, Hajj, Zakat and Jihad demand different types of efforts and exertions from the practitioners. Of all these obligations, only Namaz is offered daily and five times a day. Metaphorically speaking, the purpose of Namaz is to build the quality of humility and submission in Muslims. However, nowhere Namaz or any other obligation is meant to traumatise its practitioners or others. Therefore, every individual is expected to offer 17 units (rakaat) in a day. No unit takes more than 15 minutes, even if offered with complete concentration. The morning prayers are expected to be extended because that is the time when people are fresh and have no chores on their hands. For other prayers, the length of the prayer is left to the individuals depending on their situation and the time on hand. During the journey, Namaz is halved to facilitate the travellers.

Pakistan is not the only Muslim country where people offer prayers or follow religious obligations. However, it is the only Muslim country, perhaps, where religion is left to the whims of the people. No regulations monitor mosques. No regulations scrutinise the prayer leaders or the clerics teaching in mosques or appointed as Quran teachers at home. In many Muslim countries, clerics are licensed. Mosques follow SOPs for using loudspeakers and conducting seminars. The Friday sermons, one of the most important sermons followed by prayers, are vetted by religious authorities. In Indonesia, mosques are closed after Friday prayers and worshipers are asked to return to their work — as is stipulated in the Quran. The Quran has explicitly laid the responsibility on the state to enforce/administer the system of Namaz. With this obligation, a state is expected to establish regulations and laws to govern the congregations.

Pakistanis for some weird reasons have been wired as the guardians of Islam. This is the result of the fallacies attached to the creation of Pakistan such as: Pakistan was made in the name of Islam; it was a gift from Allah, the proof of which is that it was given to us on the 27th of Ramazan; the Quaid-e-Azam wanted to carve a nation for the Muslims of India so that they could practise their religion without any hurdles; Pakistan is the fortress of Islam — any assault, anywhere on its, finds defenders in Pakistan.

Until 1946 Jinnah was against the partition. He wanted to implement the Cabinet Mission Plan, which offered a federalist system whereby every province would have an independent administrative structure. This three-tier administrative framework would have made the Muslim-majority areas autonomous in their affairs. However, when the Indian National Congress refused to accept the results of the 1946 elections in which Muslim-majority areas had won most of the seats, Jinnah decided to go for partition.

The purpose of building false stories around the creation of Pakistan, along with the deliberate attempt to keep the public education system deprived of sufficient budget and trained human resources while bolstering madrassa education, has been to create a directionless nation subservient to the rule of the power elite. The matter was made worse with the so-called Afghan jihad — a territorial war turned into a jihad, just like the territorial war of Kashmir was. Both wars raised a generation fed on the notion that Hindus, Jews and the Communists were/are the enemies of Islam and, by extension, Pakistan.

The entire history of the misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy law originates from stripping Ahmadis of their Muslim badge. Without getting into the debate of the authenticity of this step, the argument that bears discussion is: why did the lawmakers leave the blasphemy issue loose-ended? Why could they not see its possible future misuse for gaining political mileage? Why was questioning blasphemy made an act of blasphemy — closing the doors of debate on the issue?

What an irony that the police officers detaining Tian had to show a copy of the FIR against him to a 400 or so mob to assuage their anger. If the Chinese national has committed blasphemy, it is for the relevant authorities to deal with him rather than the mob.

This entire context — where education is thrown downhill, where religion has turned universities into battlegrounds, and where the state has lost the vigour or lack the spirit to combat the tendency to use religion as an instrument to square revenge — has built a nation, which according to the reports of the State Bank of Pakistan, is one of the least productive and most inefficient human resources in Asia. As a result, we have become a country of beggars — from top to bottom.

Hard work, persistence and efficiency have no place in the lives of Pakistanis — shortcuts and theft is our way of life. One of my friends has closed his plastic manufacturing factory in Punjab because he cannot compete with the prices of a Gujranwala-based plastic manufacturer who runs his units on stolen electricity.

Tian has shown us a mirror— that is where the culprit is.

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Constitutionality of suo motu – 29 Apr 2023

The “disqualification” judgments of the PML-N supremo is a case in point

By the end of WWII, many liberal democracies ceded power to judiciary for the enforcement of human rights. The framers of our constitution had intended the same to empower our superior courts to assure civil liberties. For this purpose, Chapter 1 of Part II of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 guarantees the Fundamental Rights, which are widely known as the “conscience of our constitution”.

To ensure the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, the founding fathers of the constitution empowered the judiciary specifically by incorporating Article 199 for approaching a High Court, and likewise, Article 184(3) for the Supreme Court in case of an infringement of any fundamental rights. However, the exercise of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) is contingent on matters of “public importance” involving any violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens. The Court under the said Article is additionally equipped to take notice of a matter on its own, without the need for a formal complaint or petition to be filed, which is called suo motu.

The plain reading of the said Article doesn’t enunciate who has the right to approach the Supreme Court, which broadens the court’s original jurisdiction among the judiciaries in the South Asian region. For instance, any party may petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, under Article 184(3), whereas Article 126 of the constitution of Sri Lanka and Article 102(1) of the constitution of Bangladesh only allow petitions by aggrieved parties. And the provisions also allow the Supreme Courts in these jurisdictions to take suo motu notice in matters of public importance. In all these countries, also in India, the judiciary is under heavy fire, owing to the misuse of suo motu power. This often happens when the court exercises its power to promote its own agenda, rather than for dispensing justice.

In Pakistan, the rise of suo motu under Article 184(3) started with the advent of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the former chief justice, who exercised unbridled judicial powers under the umbrella of suo motu which eventually threatened the rule of law. His successor, Saqib Nisar, took it to another level while many other chiefs justices preferred a restraint.

For a long time, there have been rising concerns and fears amongst the bureaucracy, legislatures and other power brokers of the country that the judiciary is overstepping its legal boundaries by regularly taking suo motu cognizance, based more on political vendetta rather than on a bona fide legal interpretation of matters of “public importance”. Critics opine that the SC has been favouring PTI through suo motu notices by denying PML-N members the right to a fair trial. The “disqualification” judgments of the PML-N supremo is a case in point.

The parliament came up with an infamous solution at a critical time when the country is already battling with political, economic and terrorism issues to enact the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Bill, 2023, which will require a three-member bench of the apex court, comprising the CJP and two senior most judges, to decide whether to take up the suo motu matters, which is a bar on the prerogative of the Chief Justice. The SC has barred the parliament from enforcing the proposed law. However, it seems quite revolting on the part of the parliament which is transgressing on the rights of the SC enshrined under Article 191, mandating the court to formulate its own rules to regulate its practice and procedure. To the common man, it doesn’t make sense how a parliament could formulate rules for an apex court in the presence of Article 191. This act solely conflicts with the independence of the judiciary.

What if the court takes up the matters of parliamentary rules and procedures, and starts dictating to parliament on conducting its affairs? So let the SC amend its own rules. As for the misuse of suo motu powers, both the parliament and judiciary should try to address it collectively by consenting to rules that allow the exercise of such powers in a transparent manner, but they should only come from within the SC.

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How does a sexual violence trial work? – 29 Apr 2023

The Ministry of Law and Justice has recently notified the Anti-Rape (Trial Procedure) Rules 2022 under the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021.

A trial starts once the police submit the investigation report (challan) to the prosecution under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Under various provincial legislations (for example, in Sindh the Criminal Prosecution Service (constitution, Functions and Powers) Act 2009 is applicable), the challan is scrutinized and finalized by the special prosecutor, it is then submitted before a magistrate for their approval to take the case to trial. From there onwards, the trial starts in the sessions court designated as a special court under the Anti-Rape Act.

The important point to note is that the rules are applicable only when the trial stage starts. Therefore, the procedure prior to the trial – such as Section 164 CrPC, statements of the survivor and prosecution witnesses, recorded before the magistrate – is not covered under the rules.

No special protection mechanisms are provided to the victims/survivors at the pre-trial stage. This is a gap in the effectiveness of the Anti-Rape Act and Rules as the magistrate courts are not gender friendly and re-victimize the victims/survivors. This is a matter of concern as it has been held by the Supreme Court that a conviction is possible based on the strong solidarity statement of the victim/survivor (2022 SCMR 50 – Supreme Court of Pakistan), (PLD 2021 Supreme Court 550).

Rule 3 is titled ‘Scheduling of trial’. It mandates the issuance of a ‘trial scheduling certificate’ by the judge of the Special Court. This is a good step in the right direction. However, under Section 3(6), the responsibility of confirming availability of witnesses, evidence and expert reports to the special court could be an added burden on the prosecutor’s office. Therefore, appropriate human resources should be provided to the special prosecutors, to implement the rules effectively.

The most common reasons for adjournments in the cases are due to the absence of the complainant and prosecution witnesses. Even if the complainant does confirm their availability, they often move to their villages to avoid appearing in the courts as they often lose out on their daily wages when they have to attend court. Therefore, the rules should have placed a limit on unnecessarily calling the complainant to the hearings. Additionally, the bar associations also need to be consulted (and gender-sensitized) for devising an appropriate strategy to overcome the issue of unnecessary strikes that occasionally disrupt the trial process.

Moreover, many national and international CSOs organize capacity building trainings for special prosecutors and judges in good faith. However, this is problematic because there is no set annual schedule on when the capacity building trainings should take place. In a case of sexual violence, where I am appearing as a counsel for the complainant, first there were adjournments in the case because the special prosecutors were on a two-day training organized by a local CSO. In the next week, there were adjournments because the judge was on a week-long training organized by an international CSO. This causes delays in the trial process.

The adjournments due to trainings are doing more harm than good. The registrar of the high courts and the prosecutor general’s office should initiate consultations and issue an annual schedule for the capacity building trainings. CSOs should not be allowed to engage justice actors for training as per their own schedule (instead their project timelines and targets should be in accordance with the annual schedule issued by the government for a do-no-harm approach). The current practice is counter-productive since no notice is given to the complainants, who give up their daily wages to come to court, only to find out that the presiding officer and prosecutor are absent. Hence, losing confidence in the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

Moving on, Rule 4(b), states that on the first day of the trial, the judge will hear and settle all technical and legal issues affecting maintainability, form and jurisdiction. This includes deciding the method for recording the evidence, through the ordinary procedure or via alternative ways, which may include use of a screen within the courtroom so that the victim is not able to see the defendant, assess and address the need for interpreters, any other special arrangement related to the different-ability of a victim, assess and address the need for any protection order for the victim or any vulnerable witness.

An important point to note is that I have dealt with cases where the accused is a juvenile. A case that memory does not allow me to forget is where a 15-year perpetrator committed rape of his three-year-old cousin. Which court will deal with cases where there is a juvenile involved? The special courts under the Juvenile Justice System Act (JJSA 2018) or the Anti-Rape Act? The rules under JJSA 2018 have not been notified as of yet. Perhaps, this can be decided by the judge (after considering the circumstances of the case) when following the process laid down under Rule 4.

Rule 5 lays down the ‘Procedure for trial’. It states that the “Court shall not grant more than two adjournments during the trial of a case, out of which one adjournment shall be upon payment of costs by the person seeking adjournment”.

Rule 6 mandates that the special court shall provide a conducive trial environment, “…which protects all parties, including the victim from secondary victimization and takes into consideration the victim’s specificities such as age, gender, mental state, different abilities.”

Rule 7 titled ‘Examination of the victim or witness’ allows the judge of the special court to adopt measures for examination of victim or witness, which include: use of video-link, screens, examination to be conducted in camera. It is important to note that these survivor-centric measures were already laid down in Salman Akram Raja v Government of Punjab (PLJ 2013 SC 107). Since it is a judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it serves as a binding precedent across all courts of Pakistan.

While the procedure for recording of evidence through videoconferencing is laid down in Rule 9, the facilities recommended for videoconferencing are stipulated under Rule 10. These include desktop, laptop, mobile devices with internet connectivity and printer; camera; microphones and speakers; display unit; document visualizer; alternative electricity source such as UPS or generator.

It is understood that these electronics and equipment are required for videoconferencing. The important bit, which the rules have failed to tackle are the burning questions: such as who will provide the equipment to the Special Courts? The federal or the provincial government? Will they be provided from the Prime Minister’s Anti-Rape Fund under Section 20 of the Anti-Rape Act? Even the provincial law, Sindh Witness Protection 2013 allows for videoconferencing, the reason why it is not utilised is due to the lack of resources.

In a nutshell, while the Anti-Rape (Trial Procedure) Rules, 2022 has introduced numerous praiseworthy mechanisms, such as the issuance of a ‘trial scheduling certificate’, a broader reading of the rules seem to have compiled pre-existing special protection mechanisms. A multi-coordinated approach of all justice stakeholders, CSOs and the government is required to devise a strategy on implementing the law, as outlined above.

The writer is a barrister. She tweets @RidaT95 and can be reached at:

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Environmental care – 29 Apr 2023

Part – II
By Sohail Azmie

Pakistan’s forest cover is steadily declining with no action by authorities. Regeneration of forests and replantation initiatives have been ineffective and disjointed due to abysmal focus by the government.

The sole notable achievement made by Pakistan in this regard is mangrove restoration. In 2015, Pakistan was able to replant mangroves over an area of 95,000 hectares. Regional Director and Representative of the United Nations Environment Program Young-Woo Park believes that “these are alarming rates considering the low level of forest coverage in the country together with high ecological value of forests in maintaining the life support system.”

Since no serious attempt has been made to preserve forests or replant trees in the country, the government is likely to face some challenges. In the future, the rising demand of timber (which is currently about five million cubic metres per year now) will not let the government pragmatically plan for recovery of lost forests. The sharp imbalance between the demand and supply of timber and the growing need for more agricultural land logically implies that the rate of forest depletion will increase, thus exacerbating the effects of climate change and extinction of many species of birds and animals.

The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, has declared 33 mammals as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. This is one consequence of decreasing forests and increasing pollution.

Also, there are two species of fish and 22 various types of marine animals, which are at serious risk of being extinct in Pakistan’s rivers and seas. The impact of the disappearance of these species will critically disturb the ecosystem, subsequently resulting in an environment unfriendly for human existence.

Kemari Jetty in Karachi presents a true picture of our society, which perhaps does not need any more elaboration – a society that is unable to figure out what is best for it and what could be harmful will always wrestle hard to survive. Millions of cubic metres of untreated water is dumped daily into the Arabian Sea from Karachi. We think we are not financially efficient enough to afford treatment plants to filter water before it goes into the river or sea; some may say we have problems far greater than pollution and climate change.

These arguments will soon become regrets when we are struggling for food and water. Imagine a scenario – though it might not happen in our lifetime – where our seas become so polluted to keep any fish alive, the subsoil water is dried up, and rain patterns are altered so as to become harmful for humans. What shape and form the survival might take then is difficult to tell.

Kemari Jetty, which actually compelled me to write this article, does not only present a story of neglect, but it also highlights deep-rooted troubles in the country. All these issues can be traced back to rampant corruption, illiteracy and poverty. In an environment of poor transparency, there is hardly any planning that could help avoid deforestation and plan for effective environment conservation and poverty alleviation.

When the timber mafia is permitted to cut down trees at will; when land-grabbers are allowed to clear the trees off mountains and build housing societies; when industrialists pay bribes to get out of the requirement to treat its waste before dumping it into the sea; when the municipal administration fails to provide basic facilities to its people to avoid spread of pollution and trash, then a malnourished and a homeless garbage collector on the shores of the Arabian Sea would care nothing about the environment and the consequences of his action as he only fights to live another day.

Society and state are responsible for owning the cost of such irresponsible action. But the authorities concerned – in our case, unfortunately – considerably suffer from lack of vision and are guilty of inaction. Individually, people who care about the environment and the future of our children have a ‘moral’ obligation to spread the message to places like Kemari Jetty, which says: we have set a course for environmental destruction, we need to act now, lest it becomes irretrievable.

The question is what we can do now. First, we have to follow what I call the ‘individual social responsibility’ – or the ISR – principle. Each one of us is responsible for raising awareness among our family members, friends and colleagues. The ISR may not be a documented social covenant but binding on everyone to become part of the collective good.

Teaching our children about the consequences and dangers of pollution must be our first task, and we should lead by example. We can take them to the neighbourhood for picking up trash and disposing it off at the designated places or dustbins on a weekly basis. Those living in Karachi can visit the sea and let the children contribute to environmental conservation by cleaning waste or clearing pollutants, which are found near shores.

Students from environmental studies departments of various universities can be engaged by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) for initiatives like ‘Healthy Seas’, ‘Clean Shores’ or ‘Saving Oceans’ etc, especially focusing on Karachi Harbour.

The corporate world is also supposed to give back to society in the name of ‘corporate social responsibility’ or the CSR; private companies can make a huge difference through CSR. Major industries located in Karachi, especially chemical processing companies, have significantly contributed towards devastation of Karachi’s marine environment and now they must act to, at least, stop the trend, if not reversed.

The Pakistan Navy has been actively contributing towards environmental protection, however it alone cannot negotiate with the Herculean task of getting rid of pollution that has spread wide and far in Karachi Harbour.

A joint PN-KPT-PMSA ‘marine environment protection’ initiative needs to be launched on an emergency basis, which may be led by one of the stakeholders. The initiative can propose measures and procedures for reducing pollution; ways and means to treat the sewage water being dumped into our seas from Karachi and penalties for people using the seas, benefiting from its riches but caring less for its sustenance. If it is not done now, we may not have the future worth spending on the seashores of Karachi.


The writer is a freelance contributor.

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Forensic evidence – 29 Apr 2023

IT was Edmond Locard (1877-1966), the `Sherlock Holmes of France`, who came up with the `exchange principle` in criminal investigation. According to this principle, everything and everyone that enters a crime scene leaves some piece of evidence behind. Forensic science is an integral part of the modern criminal justice system. Its earliest application dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman societies.

Notable contributions were made by them in medicine, especially pharmacology, ie, the types of toxins and their uses and effects.

Significant efforts were made in China in the 13th century in pathology and entomology to solve crimes, while 16th-century Europe saw medical practitioners making further contributions to forensic medicine. By the 17th century, forensic science had begun to evolve into an important area of study. Later, the 18th and 19th centuries witnessed a breakthrough in the application of forensics in solving crimes via footprints, clothing fibre, fingerprints, ballistics, toxicology and DNA profiling. The 20th century saw law enforcement form special forensic teams for evidence-gathering and analysis, as crime scene investigation acquired a modern outlook.

Forensic analysis, which involves careful consideration of each piece of evidence at the crime scene, is an essential part of police work today. The investigation is helped by recreating the scene of crime in multiple ways to connect the crime with suspects, assess motives, identify the weapon used or the method employed to commit the crime. It not only helps in narrowing down the suspects but also getting the real culprit convicted.

Forensic science provides the scientific basis for information through the analysis of physical evidence, the identity of the culprit through clues at the crime scene such as fingerprints, blood drops, hair, mobile phones, etc. Most crime today is committed, facilitated or abetted via digital means, making digital forensics another mode of investigation.

Traditional forensic analysis methods include chromatography, spectroscopy, hair and fibre analysis and serology (eg, blood/DNA examination). Advanced methods involve forensic anthropology, entomology, odontology, chemical analysis, criminal profiling, geographic profiling, document analysis, data analysis and audio/video analysis. The goal of using forensic tools is to connect the crime with the suspect and obtain a conviction after a trial.

To this end, there are two important aspects the preservation and recordingof the crime scene. Failure to accomplish these two crucial steps can jeopardise scientific evidence and end in the loss of forensic records. The law delineates the admissibility of evidence when collected properly and after following a clear chain of custody. Any contamination of the crime scene or the forensic evidence collected will affect the credibility of the investigation and give the accused an advantage.

Significant details of evidence that are required during a crime investigation are recorded at two levels. An examination is carried out for class characteristics and the other for accidental characteristics of the evidence. The former includes items like shoeprints, tool impressions, etc. If these point towards a suspect then there is sufficient circumstantial evidence and reasonable grounds for building up a case.

Accidental characteristics are unique marks and features that develop on any item resulting from wear and tear.

Investigators use accidental characteris-tics to link the suspect to the crime scene or the victim.

These days, criminal investigations are incomplete without forensic analysis, which contributes enormously to sol-ving heinous crimes and other forms of violence. Without the application of forensie science, it would be very difficult to catch any criminal, unless an eyewitness was present at the scene of crime. As soon as a crime is reported, police and other law-enforcement agencies become involved in the collection of evidence. The investigating officer tries to collect the maximum amount of proof found at the scene of crime, be it physical or digital; even minuscule evidence can affect the outcome of the case at hand. It is forensic science that deals with the analysis of the evidence to establish facts that are admissible in a court of law. Without the help of forensic science, murderers, thieves, drug traffickers and rapists would roam free.

It is therefore of utmost importance for police forces to keep pace with modern forensics in terms of their training, equipment and the use of analytical tools.

Rational and scientific methods are pivotal in making investigations transparent and their outcome certain.• The wúter is a police officer.

Twitter: @MariaTaimurPSP

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Census controversy – 29 Apr 2023

UNLESS there is broad-based acceptance of the results of the ongoing census amongst all political stakeholders, the expensive and time-consuming head count may become an exercise in futility, much like its 2017 predecessor turned out to be. For this, it is essential that the state ensures transparency in the gathering of data and tabulation of results.

That is why the government did the right thing by extending the head count till May 15, and briefing political parties on the status of the exercise.

Both parties within the coalition government, as well as those in the opposition, had raised doubts about the census. Amongst the loudest critics of the head count is the PDM-allied MQM-P, which has dangled the prospect of leaving the government unless its reservations regarding the census are sufficiently addressed. While the Muttahida has a long history of making demands of its partners and threatening to leave coalitions, there appears to be some substance in its criticism of the census.

MQM leaders say Karachi`s population has been massively undercounted, with the party`s head claiming the megacity`s actual population is around 35m, whereas the provisional results put the numbers at just over 16m. Further, the MQM accused the PPP, which rules Sindh, of `systematic alteration` of population figures. The prime minister assured an MQM delegation on Thursday that its grievances would be addressed. The MQM is not alone in its criticism. Sindh`s chief minister was quoted as saying that his administration would `surely` reject the results.

This appears to be premature, though the PPP`s grievances about undercounting interestingly support the MQM`s argument.

Meanwhile, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, another government ally, also questioned the apparent decline in urban Sindh`s population. In the opposition camp, the Jamaat-i-Islami has threatened protests if its reservations about Karachi`s allegedly reduced numbers are not addressed.

It is not just about Karachi or urban Sindh. Figures for the whole country need to be accurately represented, especially when population carries so much weight in the NFC Award, determines seats in parliament, etc. This is especially true for a province like Balochistan, which is behind in most indicators.

While there is a debate amongst experts to reduce the weightage given to population, the fact remains that the census numbers should be a truthful representation of Pakistan`s demographic realities. Lending credence to the criticism of the head count was the planning and development minister`s observation on Friday that enumeration had been slow both in urban and remote areas.

Moreover, during a recent `combing operation` in Karachi, it was discovered that several high-rise buildings were left uncounted.

The PBS should continue to engage and share data with political stakeholders and experts so that any flaws in methodology or other anomalies can be identified and rectified.

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