NATIONAL FORENSIC SCIENCE AGENCY

The project of National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) was approved by ECNEC on 09-12-2010 at a total cost of Rs.3488.011 million for three years. The 1st PC-I was revised with the objective to establish HQ at Islamabad along with Regional Laboratories in four Provinces that would consist of five major departments:-

  1. Biology
  2. Chemistry
  3. Ballistics / Explosives
  4. Scientific Investigation
  5. Crime Scene Investigation

After 18th amendment, the subject of Law & Order had been transferred to the provinces which were supposed to establish their own forensic facilities and there was no justification to execute the project in the provinces as it was an overlapping activity. The provinces of Punjab and Sindh had already established their Forensic Labs while in KPK and Baluchistan provinces, the facility was being upgraded, therefore, project needed revision excluding these activities in provinces thus saving money.

In view of the above, 2nd revised PC-I of NFSA was approved by CDWP on 31-03-2015 with the Project cost of Rs.1461.399 million. NFSA Project had completed its original period of two (02) years on 31-03-2017. Secretary Interior had accorded extension for three (03) months up to 30-06-2017. Further, extension of the NFSA Project for another two (02) years was approved i.e. 01-07-2017 to 30-06-2019 by CDWP. Besides, extension of another one (01) year was accorded by CDWP w.e.f 01-07-2019 to 30-06-2020. In addition to this, NFSA Project was accorded extension for another one (01) Year w.e.f 01-07-2020 to 30-06-2021 to keep the office machinery in running position and carry out the process of revision of PC-I smoothly.

National Forensic Science Agency Islamabad is a project of Ministry of Interior under the supervision / execution of National Police Bureau (NPB), which provides forensic services to different law enforcement agencies all over Pakistan. The main objectives of NFSA Project are:-

  1. To enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies through modern scientific tools, training and equipping them with latest criminal investigation techniques.
  2. To improve convictions in the courts on the basis of impartial, irrefutable and scientific evidence and to exonerate innocent people.
  3. To create a nucleus to provide international standard forensic services. This in turn would help in achieving public trust in the Criminal Justice System of the country.
  4. To improve quality of life of citizens through better observance of human rights.
  5. To combat organized crime and terrorism using modern technology.

CURRENT STATUS OF LABORATORIES OF NFSA

Currently, six (06) labs are working namely Firearms & Toolmarks, Fingerprints, Questioned Documents, Explosives, Narcotics & Crime Scene Investigation are fully functional. Toxicology laboratory of NFSA is expected to be fully functional within 02-03 months.

All Scientific Officers presently working in NFSA have undergone through rigorous evaluative on job training for six (06) months at Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) and have passed proficiency tests of International Standards in respective disciplines. Four (04) Scientific Officers related to DNA/Serology Section were not able to clear proficiency tests and subsequently their contracts have been discontinued. Therefore, DNA/Serology Lab is not working. One (01) Scientific Officer related to Narcotics Section was not able to complete training. Presently, Thirteen (13) Scientific Officers are working.

PROMINENT FEATURES

  1. Staff strength of Scientific Officers has been revised to run the lab operations and cross verification of results.
  2. Quality Assurance unit has been established and staff to run the Quality Assurance Unit has been included.
  3. As the 2nd revision was formulated in 2015, therefore, most of the equipment were outdated and due to foreign exchange Dollar-Rupee disparity prices of the equipment had escalated. Therefore, in 3rd revision prices have been revised and equipment have been updated to meet the requirements of current era.
  4. Equipment for Digital/Computer forensic section have been revised and software licenses have been added to avoid the illegality issues and meet the standards.
  5. Legal section has been included.
  6. Proper IT Section has been included.

STANDARDIZATION OF NFSA

Standardization is essential for smooth operations of any organization. It helps organization to manage to decrease ambiguity and guesswork, guarantee quality, boost productivity, and increase employee morale as well. Some of the following steps have been taken for standardization of NFSA.

  1. A risk assessment analysis has been done by the Labs and risk register in this regard maintained. Furthermore, calibration of some scientific equipment have been done and new proposal has prepared for the calibration of all the laboratory equipment.
  2. All the quality assurance supervisors of the Labs and section in charges regularly informed the required quality related documents.
  3. External competency of FTM forwarded for processing.
  4. Internal competency conducted successfully as per the scheduled of three (03) sections LFP, FTM and QD.
  5. Internal audit has been scheduled to implement and ensure the Quality standards.
  6. PNAC initial audit has been conducted for the accreditation of NFSA as per ISO-17025 standards.

WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

  1. Quality Assurance Unit has been established.
  2. Accreditation process in the light of ISO-17025 is in its final stages.
  3. Recruitment of Seventeen (17) remaining staff members.
  4. Training of Fourteen (14) scientific officers at Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA).
  5. Construction of NFSA Building (3rd & 4th Floor) completed.
  6. Construction of Training Block Completed.
  7. Procurement of Scientific Equipment / Consumables / Furniture.
  8. 76% of the funds released have been utilized in the F.Y 2018-19.
  9. 88% of the funds released in the F.Y 2019-20 have been utilized.
  10. 90% of funds released in previous F.Y 2020-21 have been utilized.

WAY FORWARD

The project has been completed on 30 June, 2023. PC-IV has been submitted to executing agency for converting NFSA from project phase to regular department. NFSA shall cater forensic needs of LEAs and criminal justice system and will directly serve the areas of ICT, GB and AJ&K. It will work as coordination, and standardization body, and as a national coordinator for interaction with international bodies as well.