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Karachi

September 15, 2018

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SHC sees no tangible progress in establishment of DNA lab

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday observed that no tangible progress has been made in establishing a forensic laboratory for DNA tests in the province and a facility for serology tests at each district hospital.

The high court made this observation during a hearing of a petition of non-governmental organisation Madadgar seeking the establishment of a DNA lab and proper health facilities for women and child victims in criminal cases.

At the previous hearing, the court had directed the home department and the provincial police chief to submit reports on the appointment of officers at government hospitals for recording statements of dying victims in criminal cases.

Filing a progress report on behalf of the inspector general of police, the AIG (legal) submitted that police officials had been posted at the government-run hospitals in all three zones of Karachi to deal with medico-legal cases and record statements of victims in a critical condition.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro observed that still no tangible progress had been made for the establishment of a forensic laboratory for DNA tests in the province and a serology facility at each district hospital.

The court directed the provincial law officer to file a report showing some tangible progress in setting up a forensic laboratory and burns wards at hospitals, besides posting of female medico-legal officers at government-run hospitals to record female victims of violence with little chances of survival as well as of those injured. The law officer told to submit the report by October 24.

A former health secretary had earlier filed a statement with the court, submitting that all major hospitals in the city were equipped with a 24-hour emergency. He said that female medico-legal officers have been appointed to the government hospitals and medico-legal certificates and postmortem reports would be issued in computerised form in future.

With regard to the establishment of a DNA lab, he said the health department had declared the toxicology/molecular biology lab department of forensic medicine at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences as a certified government lab for DNA tests, and burns centers had been established at all major hospitals of the province.

The ex-health secretary submitted that a summary had been moved to the chief minister for the establishment of a forensic lab for DNA tests and a serology facility at each district hospital.

He further stated that efforts would be made for early approval of the summary, and all stakeholders would be consulted on ways to improve in the health department.

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