Punjab Forensic Science Agency Plans to Set up a DNA Database of Criminals

Dr. Ashraf Tahir, Director General, Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) has said that they plan to establish a DNA database of criminals.

The proposal has been sent to the higher-ups and is expected to cost PKR 600 million. He adds,

We can make it fully functional within a year provided the desired resources are made available and the law is passed.

Ashraf played his part in helping establish a similar database in the US in 1998. Approximately 63% of convicts commit the same crime after being released from prison, according to a study that was presented to the US Congress when Ashraf needed approval for his project.

Ashraf said that repeated offenses after being released were the inspiration behind establishing a DNA database and this system has been established in 80 countries. Since 1998, over 16 million criminals have been added to the database in the US, he further added.

DNA is the most accurate evidence and it is improbable to beat it, he said, pointing out that 0.3 million cases had been resolved with the help of DNA testing – initially they had left the police clueless.

The director general said that PFSA’s establishment will provide Pakistan with the same tools once it is up and running, the DNA samples of convicts will be added after collecting them from jail and arrests.

Ashraf said the samples would be sorted by the nature of the crime and the database will bear fruit over time.

The more samples are in the database, the more beneficial it becomes. It does not produce results immediately but with the passage of time it does.

The need for a DNA database in Pakistan arose after Imran Ali was arrested for murdering minor girls in Kasur. According to Ashraf, more than 2,000 samples were gathered and matched in the Kasur case and 250 in a case in Dera Ghazi Khan and Pattoki.

Ashraf explained, “Once the DNA database is prepared, you do not need to go through all this exercise. It becomes far easier.”

Although, work on the project has continued for a few years and a summary had been sent last year too, but due to bureaucratic red tape, it couldn’t get through. He commended the current home secretary for taking an interest in the matter.

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