HYDERABAD: The Khairpur Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has allowed an application filed by investigating officer (IO) of nine-year-old housemaid Fatima Furiro’s murder case, seeking permission for collection of DNA samples of the victim’s parents and suspects, who were in jail.

The IO, DSP Qudoos Kalwar, told Dawn that ATC judge had allowed the application, “but it is not yet confirmed whether the samples will be collected by laboratory staff in the jail or the accused will have to be taken to the laboratory”.

The IO had filed the application in the light of a letter written by in-charge of Forensic Molecular Biology Laboratory for DNA Testing at the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) on Oct 12. The sample collection has already been delayed by over a month.

The process has remained suspended for over a month

Police had approached the court after the Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) chairperson Iqbal Detho asked Khairpur Mirs senior superintendent of police (SSP) Dr Samiullah Soomro as to why the process for male DNA’s matching remained incomplete when the laboratory had already made an official request to police in this regard.

The SSP, who had called on the SHRC chairperson in Sukkur the other day, was told that it was an important piece of forensic evidence required in the case investigation.

The SSP had earlier claimed that samples had already been sent to a Punjab laboratory on the advice of Dr Summaiya Syed, a technical assistant of the special medical board constituted by Director General Health Services on the orders of judicial magistrate concerned.

The SHRC chairperson said that the IO should have filed an application with the court seeking permission for having the DNA process completed through sampling process. After the police failed to bring the suspects and the victim’s parents to the laboratory so that the pending process of DNA examination could be completed, the laboratory in-charge sent a communication to the secretary of the inquiry committee informing him that mixed male DNA had been found and samples were to be collected in the laboratory.

The DNA testing process had been started at the LUMHS laboratory after it received samples of the victim’s body upon its exhumation but the process was terminated abruptly and the samples were then shifted to health department’s International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University on the advice of a health officer.

According to a LUMHS source, “we want samples to be collected in the university to avoid any possible lapse. When suspects are brought to the laboratory, we will be sure that the samples belong to the real suspects and they personally verify their identification”.

Fatima Furiro was found dead in mysterious circumstances in the mansion of a revered family headed by Asad Shah on the night of Aug 14-15 where she worked as housemaid. Later her mother Ms Shabnam lodged a case Asad Shah, his wife and father-in-law.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...
More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...