ISLAMABAD: The Norway Government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed an agreement today on Norway’s contribution of NOK 9,000,000 (USD 1.1 Million approx.) for over a period of three years. This funding will assist UNODC to carryout activities to enhance the capacity in two divisions of Punjab Police and Prosecution Departments namely Gujranwala and Rawalpindi. The agreement was signed by the Country Representative of UNODC, Mr. Cesar Guedes, and by the Ambassador of Norway, H.E. Mr. Tore Nedrebo.
The Criminal Justice Systems in Pakistan are overburdened due to a number of reasons, among those, is the reliability on witnesses rather than physical evidence. In a world of ever evolving technologies, it will be imperative to migrate into scientific based investigation using new tools and technologies. Therefore, the need for training and enhancement of investigative and forensic skills of police officers cannot be over looked. Efforts must be made to train police officers on international standards and provide them with the state of the art training and tools which includes the ‘know how’ in the area of forensic investigation skills to enable investigation officers to collect material evidence in order to ensure effective prosecution.
The situation in Punjab province is comparatively improving towards investigation and overall crime scene management. Punjab has the largest forensic science laboratory in Lahore which is used for the further analysis of physical evidence collected at crime scenes through mobile crime scene units.
Highlighting the achievements of UNODC, the Representative of UNODC, Mr. Cesar Guedes, indicated that UNODC has an extensive experience of implementing programmes with Police and Prosecution in Pakistan with a specific focus on the Punjab province with the financial support of the Government of Norway. “Since 2012, UNODC is providing assistance to the Police in Gujranwala Region with a focus on investigation, forensics and training. Building on previous efforts with the support of the Government of Norway, UNODC aims at furthering its engagement with the support of Norway.” Underlined Mr. Guedes. He further emphasized on the good working relationship of UNODC and the Government of Punjab and the continuous support and coordination. The Representative of UNODC in Pakistan reaffirmed UNODC’s continuous support to the Government of Pakistan with the support of the international community and thanked the Embassy of Norway for supporting this very crucial initiative which will enhance the capacity of the Punjab Police and the Prosecution Department in countering crime and ensuring peace and prosperity.
“I am very pleased to sign this agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Country office in Pakistan on Behalf of the Government of Norway.” Said H.E. Mr. Tore Nedrebo, the Ambassador of Norway. He further stated that this signing ceremony marks the confirmation of good cooperation and continuation of efforts through another very useful project assisting the Punjab Police Department to enhance their training and investigation capacity. H.E. Mr. Nedrebo also indicated that UNODC has proved to be a very solid partner and this partnership will continue for another three years through the contribution of Norway of the amount of NOK 9,000.000 to improve the skills and capacity of the police and prosecutors in Punjab.