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Forensic DNA laboratory to be established at KU

KARACHI: The provincial health department has planned to set up a forensic DNA laboratory at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University.

The laboratory will be called Strengthening Forensic DNA and Serology Facility.

The facility will provide assistance to the police and other law enforcement agencies in the scientific investigation of civil and criminal cases. Genetic material discovered during investigations will no longer be sent to diagnostic laboratories in Punjab, thereby saving both time and money.

Sindh Health and Population Welfare Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho  said the health department will provide forensic equipment and funds from the health department’s reserved funds for research in the first phase. She said all forensic DNA testing will be provided free-of-charge in the laboratory.

It is reported that the facility is being developed on the orders of the Sindh High Court.

According to the summary submitted by ICCBS Director Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, the facility will require Rs 150 million to purchase equipment and issue service contracts and another Rs 25 million for chemical kits. In addition to this, the laboratory will need Rs 20 million for training and development of its staff while Rs 65 million will be allocated for the non-development budget, which includes salaries and allowances of the staff.

It may be noted here that the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur had shocked the nation earlier this year and the culprit was caught after investigation teams used DNA reports from Punjab’s forensic laboratory. The suspect had been successfully evading investigators until a DNA sample confirmed his hand in the crime.

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