Phenol-typing: A New DNA Technique for Criminal Investigations

J. J. Baloch

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Forensics, which stands for application of science to legal domain, claims to have reached the new frontiers of truth in sifting the grass of quilt from the grain of innocence during the process of criminal investigations. Phenol-typing helps not only to trace the suspects but also saves the innocent. We are still struggling to attain the stage of DNA profiling in Pakistan. Given the expansion, quality and complexity of police investigations as well as the magnitude, nature and extent of crime incidents in Pakistan, our policymakers should give a serious thought to investing and adopting this new, cost-effective and fool-proof technique of crime investigations.

This infant area of DNA Phenol-typing enables forensic lab technicians to generate a computer picture of the suspect through the speck of skin or fragment of hair collected from the scene of the crime. This technique is quite useful in reaching and identifying a suspect without his or her physical appearance and without any description of the eyewitnesses. Phenol-typing is in contrast with DNA profiling or fingerprinting which help find out the match of DNA sample markers, collected from the scene of the crime, with the known individuals.

It is, indeed, an investigative tool rather than a source of evidence that could be used in a trial. “When a suspect identified through phenol typing comes to court, conventional DNA fingerprinting will be used to show an exact match between their DNA and a sample from the crime scene.”

Leister University, UK, Crime Lab is said to have developed this technique of genetic fingerprinting which has led to the conviction of thousands of murderers, rapists and other offenders by linking their DNA to blood, semen, saliva and skin samples. This new technology examines “a special group of DNA sequences that vary enormously between individuals and are not related to physical appearance.” In Pakistan, medical universities should prioritise the crime medicines such as DNA forensic for assisting our police departments in the area of medico-legal evidence.

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Not only our universities could do better if so directed and so financed to launch the projects on the lines of developed countries to facilitate their criminal justice institutions for building their capacity to keep peace and ensure justice for every Tom Dick and Harry but also private entrepreneurs may be encouraged to join hands of the law enforcement for the collective benefit of the society as well as for the profits of their companies as it is being done elsewhere. This is not something Greek to commercial companies worldwide to build their products on a large base of academic research into the genetic variations that make individuals look different. “The currency of this work is the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP). Each SNP (pronounced “snip”) is a change in a single chemical “letter” within the three billion letters of the human genome, which leads to a difference in the individual’s characteristics — his or her phenotype. The effect of one SNP is usually small; the challenge through genetic studies is to construct a panel of many SNPs that collectively determine a feature such as an eye colour,” so claims Clive Cookson.

In terms of SNPs UK launched a huge project named “Twins UK” in 1992. Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Tim Spector, at King’s College, London championed this project. This long-term study project included 12, 000 identical as well as non-identical twins produced ample data about genetic factors affecting health and appearance of the understudy twins in relation to the environment they were subjected. Professor Tim calls his Twin samples as “the most investigated people on the planet”. The professor goes on stating: “We know, for example, that eye colour is almost 100 percent heritable, while freckles and moles are 70 percent heritable. Most facial features such as earlobes and creases on the ears are heritable to a considerable extent.”

However, further research is expected to provide stronger links with facial shape and give an indication of age by tracking “epigenetic” changes in DNA as people grow older. “In the long run, phenol typing could transform the investigation of serious crimes in which the offender leaves a microscopic trace of his or her body fluids or tissues but DNA fingerprinting provides no match. It would be the equivalent of having a physical description from a perfectly reliable witness.”

Clive Cookson (2015) maintains: “In January 2011 Candara Alston and her three-year-old daughter Malaysia were murdered at home in Columbia, South Carolina. This month, on the fourth anniversary of the still-unsolved double homicide, Columbia Police put out an unusual picture profile of the suspect… A computer-generated image of a suspect in the Candara Alston murder case is believed to be the first image in forensic history published entirely on the basis of a DNA sample”.

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On the contrary, Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto murder case exposed our investigation loopholes and grey areas. Had our police been able to make the proper use of DNA forensics, no actual culprit could have been gone scot-free nor yet would any innocent police officer have been either incriminated or convicted. The investigation and prosecution of this case have been a great eye-opener for all of us where we can’t ensure justice even to our own investigators who are supposed to ensure justice to the aggrieved family. But had this case been investigated employing the phenol-typing there would not have been such injustices to anyone. The country’s security landscape and the proxy war environment are suggestive to the fact that we should be alive to the fact of the likelihood of such incidents in future and hence be prepared not to repeat the sheer show of incompetence. Those who do not learn from history, they are sure to remain in history and are bound to become history.

Columbia and Toronto Police departments have begun to use this technique of investigation for including or eliminating suspects. The seasoned detectives who have long experience of dealing with forensic evidence seem to be very optimistic about the utility of this scientific discovery in establishing the truth of the cold-blooded and blind cases of murder, rape, and terrorism. In Pakistan, we do have dedicated and devoted police officers who may be encouraged and incentivised to embark upon building their capacities for delivering better public service.

In partnership with many police departments in UK, USA, Canada, Germany, China, and Australia, many companies are making investments and advertisements for the commercialization of this new technique of investigation which despite it’s being a tiny part of blood can storm police to reach bigger leads in tracing the culprits and in solving the cases with authenticity and perfection. Pakistan Police should learn and pick up before it is too late. Countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Brazil have made remarkable advances in scientific investigations.

“When you have a couple of companies willing to take the time and spend the money developing products, it shows that the field is ready to move into practice,” says Jenifer Smith, a forensic science professor at Penn State University, who is embarking on a project to exploit next-generation DNA sequencing in criminal investigations.

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“Ancestry particularly interests the police,” Many forensic companies now claim that they can tell police where the mother or father comes from or which racial origin a particular suspect hails from. In this way, the phenol-typing technology moves DNA to the forefront of the investigation, while DNA profiling has been the bread and butter of forensic companies in the past. However, many argue that if we can remove a large number of people from the investigation that saves a lot of time and resources. This is truer beyond any iota of doubt as the Phenol-typing can save the huge amounts otherwise spends of snapshots, each costing more than 5000 US dollars.

In Pakistan, we are in the initial stage of adopting the police technology for crime prevention and detection. Many police veterans have raised the voices to transform our archaic methods of investigations to the newer ones because providing the justice and peace to both the accused as well as the innocent is the prime contractual duty of our mother state. Therefore, it is prime time for us to go for scientification of our criminal investigation and criminal justice system by investing in public safety as well as justice delivery systems as the very legitimacy of our statehood hinges on its commitment and capacity to keep the promise of protecting the life, property, and liberty of the citizens of Pakistan.

For this end in view, we badly need to build research centres for crime sciences throughout our public as well as private educational centres so that we can be able to do away with our old-fashioned system of investigations and adjudications. For assigning priority to this clarion call, our policymakers should start with establishing a ministry for criminal justice policy with exclusive mandate to control crime, disorder, and injustices which are allegedly being provided by the very institutions of order and justice in our country. Such exclusive ministry should be autonomous and resourceful in making and enforcing its policies aimed at upholding the rule of law quite immune from political engineering and bureaucratic meddling and completely specified for specialized job of the core departments of criminal justice including police, prosecution, judiciary and prisons.

The departments of crime science should be staffed with qualified researchers who can collect data, analyse it, understand the crime patterns, trends, and series and comes up with their scientific and evidence-based policy solutions. Only establishing the forensic labs as having been done by our different police departments including Punjab Police, Sindh Police, KP Police, FIA, National Forensic Science Authority and the like without staffing them with well-qualified researchers and lab technicians will not do. The much-neglected part of all these newly established forensic establishments is the absence of proper DNA units with all resources and skilled staff. At our premier law enforcement training facility, National Police Academy, we are yet to find a well-qualified instructor for forensic medicine, what to talk of DNA profiling or DNA phenol-typing.

There is hardly any better welfare of the society, that the state is expected to guarantee, than the peace and justice which reads through each and every page of the supreme law of the land-the constitution.

The Writer is a Novelist and a Criminal Justice Analyst….

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The Hot-spot policing

J. J. Baloch

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MAP OF 60 HOTSPOTS OF MOBILE SNATCHING IN KARACHI-2015

 

Hot-spot policing emphasizes the specific places which become hotter because of crimes getting concentrated and repeated there. It begins with an assumption that a particular place offers the criminals an opportunity to commit crimes and escape easily without being caught. “Hot spots policing strategies focus on small geographic areas or places, usually in urban settings, where crime is concentrated” (Braga et al. 2012).

In this sense, many crime scientists believe, place-based policing is theoretically based on routine activities theory (Cohen and Felson, 1979), which identifies crime as a matter of the convergence of suitable victims present at certain places from where criminals can anticipate little chances of facing the consequences of his or her commission of criminal act or he or she foresees minimum risk and an absence of capable guardians or police. Of course, all these elements must occur within the context of a place or situation. Accordingly, place-based policing recognizes that something about specific places leads to the convergence of these elements.

When I was doing as SSP/DPO district East Karachi in 2015, I came to know that certain crimes were taking place at particular places. As for example, the areas which were identified for daily mobile and other valuable snatchings included Tipu Sultan Crossing, Jauhar Mor, Old Sabzi Mandi, Stadium Road, Dalmia, Disco Bakery in Gulshan, Tariq Road and its suburbs particularly PECHS block two and civic centre. In order to control the street crime, I raised deployment of anti-street squads with motorcycles raised for this purpose at the identified spots. Crime reduced for some days at these hot spots but it was displaced to other areas as university road, Millennium Mall and such other places.

We observed that the street criminals are smart enough to track police activity and plan crime according to their calculation of perceived risks, anticipated rewards and ease of exit without being caught. Keeping in view the smartness of the criminals, I, after analysing crime trends and patterns through available data of previous years, placed armed police officers as under covers in civvies at the places which we thought could be next likely targets and where our uniformed personnel were not visible or present. In this way within a weak our undercover personnel had more than ten encounters killing and injuring entire operatives of the gangs active in street snatchings. This state of unpredictability served as a strong deterrent to street crimes and it fell almost to 70%. Thus, the strategies of place-based policing can be as simple as bringing extra patrols and intensive deployments to repeat crime places.

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Hot spot policing is no substitute to problem-oriented and community policing models because in its very nature this approach can’t be sustained for pretty good time and it displaces crime rather than eliminating it. Other police practices are focused primarily on people. Those practices often begin with people who call the police and are focused on identifying offenders who commit crimes. They end with the arrest of those offenders and their processing through the criminal justice system. Catching criminals on a case-by-case basis and processing them through the criminal justice system remains the predominant police crime prevention strategy.

However many crime prevention researchers suggest that police should put places, rather than people, at the centre of their practices. Their point is not simply that places should be considered in policing, but that they should be a key component of the databases that police use, of the geographic organization of police activities, and of the strategic approaches that police use to combat crime and disorder. It goes without saying that for crime data analysis place where the crime takes place repeatedly offers easy statistics for mapping crime and make the strategy to deal with accordingly but the problem of crime remains to be solved.

There is perhaps a no better-established fact in criminology than the variability and instability of offending across the life course. It is well-established that a primary factor in this variability is the fact that most offenders age out of crime often at a relatively young age. But there is also evidence of strong instability in criminal behaviour for most offenders, even when short periods are observed. This may be contrasted with developmental patterns of crime at the place, which suggests much stability in crime incidents over time.

However, you would be rolling your eyes in disbelief that the average age of a street criminal is around 16 years and going for zero tolerance policing would certainly cause the public to get disgruntled over striker actions against teenagers. In one incident a purse of the school teacher was snatched while she was on her way to shop from Chase-up Grocery shop on Shaheed-e-Millet Road in the jurisdiction Police Station Firozabad. Our undercover officials with the help of some active citizens present on the spot arrested all two motorcyclist teenagers red-handed with the pistol loaded and recovered the snatched purse. The lady teacher whose purse they snatched got offended not with snatchers but the people who caught them and handed them over to local police. She came all the way to police station, contacted me and strongly fought for their release only on the basis that they were teenagers and need restoration more than punishment. I was amazed at the positivity and optimism of that lady who was hell-bent on getting them out of the bars and refused to get her case registered. After getting fingerprints and photos I handed over both teens to that madam; she gave them two thousand and her cell number to contact her for any work they wanted to do if they were not doing it due to any reason of poverty or unavailability of opportunity. We got suspicious and confirmed the credentials of that lady and found that she was running a charitable institution and her family was into the business of construction. She knew how to rehabilitate the teens.

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From this incident of the positive engagement of that lady teacher, we as police officers had some takeaways. First, the punitive approach is not always effective and it varies from criminal to criminal and crime to crime. Secondly, there is the sense in trying for restorative strategies especially where underage teens or women are involved in crime. Thirdly, we should not at all ignore as to what conditions and circumstances of life and livelihood produce such criminals in their early age; there is need to get this right at the root. This is called root-cause approach in crime science.  

However, this approach of looking into the distant causes of crime costs police too much and is not true in case of hardened criminals who run the organised gangs. Lawrence Sherman, Lorraine Green and Weisberg were among the first researchers to show that hot spots policing could be effective in doing something about crime. At a time of scepticism regarding the effectiveness of police practices, they found that concentrating patrols on crime hot spots could benefit crime prevention. One long-standing objection to focusing crime prevention geographically is that it will simply shift or displace crime to other places not receiving the same level of police attention that crime will simply “move around the corner.” This is what I observed while increasing patrols around the hot spots. What really worked was undercover officials but the fact remains that they too were placed at spotted areas of crime clusters.  

Our experience of mapping crime in terms of places in our metropolis Karachi district East 2015 provided us with the advantage of qualitative data collection to understand why place-based policing does not simply push crime around the corner. We found that offenders did not perceive all places as having the same opportunities for crime. For example, easy access for clients was a critical criterion for drug dealers in PIB colony Karachi, as was relatively few residents who might call the police about prostitutes in Clifton. The need for special characteristics of places to carry out criminal activity meant that crime could not simply displace to every place in the Metropolis. Indeed, the number of places evidencing such characteristics might be relatively small. In turn, spatial movement of offenders from crime sites often involved substantial effort and risk by offenders.

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“Policing places puts emphasis on reducing opportunities for crime at places, not on waiting for crimes to occur and then arresting offenders. Successful crime prevention programs at places need not lead to high numbers of arrests, especially if methods are developed that discourage offenders” (Weisberg: 2006).

Many Policing experts argue that “it is time for police to shift from person-based policing to place-based policing”. However, It holds true even today that the primary function of police even in the twenty-first century remains to be catching criminals to be processed through a well drawn criminal justice system. It is worldview of policing which many want and argue to replace with ameliorating crime on the spot. I am of the firm opinion that 21st century policing in post 9/11 world has witnessed greater innovations in policing strategies whose focus range from offender, place of offence, victim, opportunity minimization, and incapacitating criminals both through punitive and well as restorative methodologies to intelligence-led, predictive, and problem-solving approaches to deal with crime control.

All these approaches have both the advantages as well as disadvantages; the seasoned police officers go for the most suitable strategy that suits their area to achieve the goals of reducing crime both through detection as well as prevention. Without denying the scientific analysis potential of Hotspot policing, I always prefer to take the best from all police innovations of modern times and make the most suitable mix in what is called “the strategic policing based on networked approaches”. For me this has always worked very well. 

The Writer is a Blogger, educator, Novelist and senior Police Officer at police service of Pakistan.

Use of Biometric Technology in Policing

J. J. Baloch

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The use of biometric technology in policing is gaining greater currency worldwide in the 21st century. Though the biometrics, unlike forensics which is a new entry in law enforcement and investigation domains, is the oldest science of criminal identification starting from the “foot-tracking” techniques of suspects and offenders from time immemorial, yet its new miracles have left many detectives rolling their eyes in disbelief. For making our careers the success stories, we, the police officers, should learn to master the understanding and use of biometric tools and keep up with technological advances in this very challenging area of our professional work of crime prevention and detection.

What is Biometrics and How it Plays in Policing?

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, biometrics means “to measure life, and that is what modern biometric devices do: they measure and analyse an individual’s characteristics, ranging from physical traits – friction ridge patterns on hands, iris and facial structure, for example – to behaviour-related characteristics, such as voice dynamics and handwriting. These devices typically consist of a sensor that scans the targeted characteristic, software that converts scanned data into digital form, and a database that stores biometric data for comparisons. A biometric check can identify an individual or verify identity.”

Judging humans through their acts is as old as humans themselves. Making development, progress, and advancement by working and struggling is the fundamental characteristic of human civilization that history and its associated sciences like sociology and anthropology claim to have recorded are born out of what we have come to know as human habits and habitations. These habits and habitations do not vary in varieties but they do differ in their combinations and equation present in every individual person. For example, all humans take birth, speak, understand, get happy, feel pain, eat, drink, sleep, live in families, learn the culture of their societies, grow and die but they all do all these things for different reasons, on different occasions and under different conditions. That is called their unique experience with unique signatures even if they are in billions.

Every individual is different; his or her fingerprints are different, his or her facial features vary; his or her body weight, pulse movement, heartbeat, walking picture, DNA structure, body type, and everything physical do have varying features. Even twins are not the same, though they have similarities as humans. It is the reasons why these distinctive individual habits help detective analysts find truth in the differences prevalent and inherent among the human creatures of Habit. Here what humans are mattered less but what is important is exactly what you do because it is where law enforcement biometrics comes in.

There are certain ways to measure the individual habits. These ways include a signature, typing, writing, reading, vein, diction, tone, voice patterns recognition and also other body parts moments and physical variation recognitions. These are used to analyse and paint a clear picture of an individual. In police, we use these individual physical variations to identify the suspects.

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The Reality Change Policing

The biometric process of understanding human physical variations started for the first time in 1891 when fingerprints were used to classify inmates in USA and UK. Afterwards, many law enforcement and investigative agencies adopted the biometric methods of measuring the physical existence of humans. When police got involved in human biometrics and technology began to develop with Godspeed, the reality change policing into play for managing the reality of change through technological interventions by the police to establish the truths of their doubts and suspicions.

Traditional Biometrics

The biometric technologies in use of police evolved gradually and hand to hand with the technology as well as criminal innovations. The traditional biometrics involved different early methods of individual identifications. For example: “Gait Analysis” which tried to discover as to how people walk-foot tracking, talk-voice formations and tones, express both oral and written, behave-habits etc. Another method included “Olfactory Analysis” which employs the sense of smell to understand body odour that is different in every individual body and helps identify the person. Research confirms that body odour remains constant throughout individual life and its results are claimed to have been 85% accurate. “Visage Analysis” or facial feature analysis is the third traditional method used to identify persons. Though facial recognition has had some problems owing to some differences in ‘poses’, ‘resolution’ and ‘wardrobe’ changes that potentially affect the accuracy of facial identifications, yet these minor issues have been overcome by the scientists due to the advances in digital technology and improvements in existing systems over the years.

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New Biometrics of Facial Recognitions  

The photo identities in modern times have added new dimensions of facial recognition in the field of biometrics. Many law enforcement and intelligence agencies have developed large databases criminal and suspect faces and acquired digital facial readers. For example, FBI created the facial database in 2011 which is called “FBI Biometric Centre of Excellence”.  This large database is now being used by local police departments for multiple purposes. Facebook, Google, Twitter and many other social media networks are the largest FBI sources facial data, perfecting agency’s search for missing faces. The claims of social media privacy, to a many, are nothing more than merely a misnomer. It is also a fact that incoming ten to fifteen years facial recognition is more likely to attain perfection in identification capacity. Many optimists are of the view that use of biometrics in policing will bring a number of benefits in terms of controlling crime and improving security which is listed as follows:

§  Terrorist Threat Assessment: Biometrics will be highly useful in spotting terrorist threat in advance of the happening of the untoward terrorist incident. Thus, it will help in the prevention of terrorism and violence in the society.

§  Lie-detection: Many security agents use lie-detecting robots which will broaden security services through the use of biometric sensors and scanners. These lie-detecting robots, which are called “Automated Virtual Agents for Truth Assessment in Real Time”, are being widely used at borders and airports. Moreover, Softwares have been developed to detect lies from eye movements. Such software using robots with sensors can pick up physiological signs which help in detecting that a person is lying. President Trump’s executive order signed in January 2017 authorise American Law enforcement agencies to ensure biometric exit-entry screening for the people travelling to the USA.

§  DNA Shaming: DNA shaming is a process of using someone’s DNA to link him or her to a crime and hence bring shame for the wrongdoer or violator; thus a policing subject. For example, “Face of Litter” was an advertising campaign which went viral on social media in 2015. Hong Kong sponsored it in partnership with advertising agencies such as Ogilvy and Parabon’s Nanolabs. Their defence department became part of this campaign in which technology had been used to identify physical characteristics of s litterbug. This technology used DNA to develop images in public places to shame the litterbug. DNA combined with Passive entry-exit technology was used to match data.

§  Heartbeat Identification: Many experts of biometrics have been using human heartbeat for identification. Heartbeat is the more individualized form of human identification than the other biometric methods such as facial, Iris, ear prints, vein patterns and body odour. Many research studies recommend preserving and protecting electronic health records of heartbeats as a way of biometric identification. Not that much absolute, the heartbeats present the unique signature of every individual identity. US Army and Police are using this technology for identifying individuals through their heartbeats as an effective biometric tool.

§  Body-worn Camera: Body-worn cameras of police officers, when connected with advanced biometrics, can help in taking pictures and in transmitting such pictures to the central database for the record. Police officers roam the streets and get their body-worn cameras on when they interact with people in real time situations. In this way, they keep the record of so many individuals which are stored in the central database and further used for record and identification whenever so required.  Police scan the faces live as they scan licence plates. “In the long run, some futurists predict that real-time Iris recognitions could replace facial recognition as a key identification mechanism.”

§  Solving Missing Person Cases: Many techs and gear experts in policing are of the firm opinion that biometric methods of identification have been instrumental in solving the missing person cases. DNA electronics are used to compare and to match DNA indexes with DNA profiles of suspects and victims for using kinship analysis signatures that help identify missing persons. FBI extensively uses kinship software for tracing missing persons.

§   Reducing the Risk of Undercover Agents: The job of undercover agents has become riskier and trickier in times of high threats to law enforcement and intelligence personnel in the post 9/11 world of terrorism and hate crimes. Ensuring privacy and identity security of undercover officers through anonymity in the age of information anarchy are, indeed, become the daunting challenge. This helps undercover agents go undetected in achieving their desired targets.

§  Source of Criminal Evidence: Biometrics adoption is the very effective source of collecting reliable and provable evidence against criminals. Many countries have amended their laws to accommodate the biometric source of evidence as the most authentic way of evidence to be used in criminal investigations and as the most productive tool of crime fighting. Moreover, biometric methods are easier, cheaper, admissible and detective friendly means to make smart, scientific and systematic evidence management of criminal investigations.

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The biometric advances have emerged as the future policing currency in many developing and developed countries. Their detective and preventive potential have been widely recognised as very cost-effective and reliable crime-fighting tools which are expanding their wings in law enforcement domain. This is more likely to grow in future and we should adopt it fully in Pakistan.

The Writer is a novelist and Criminal Justice Analyst. 

The Value of Science in Policing

J. J. Baloch

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All objects in the universe are unique. No two things that happen by chance ever happen in exactly the same way. No two things are ever constructed or manufactured in exactly the same way. No two things wear in exactly the same way. No two things ever break in exactly the same way“, so maintains Joe Nickel, a Forensic Expert. Such is the value of science in policing that makes the difference by understanding the difference of the signatures of everything whether it be a crime scene, the fingerprints, the tool marks, the foot tracks, the writings, the ballistics, the biometrics, digits, or anything that help understand crime and criminality. Application of science to the law is called forensic. To me, forensic is the soul of science in policing.

The value of science in policing implies smartness in law enforcement, cost-effectiveness for policing, authenticity and reliability in criminal investigations and to great extent the least political interferences in police work. Policing is defined as a “science of peace and order”. Any scientific methods employed to achieve the goal of peace and order by the police can determine the appropriate value of science in modern day society.We believe that a radical reformation of the role of science in policing will be necessary if policing is to become an arena of evidence-based policies. We also think that the advancement of science in policing is essential if police are to retain public support and legitimacy, cope with recessionary budget reductions, and if the policing industry is to alleviate the problems that have become a part of the policing task”( David Weisburd and Peter Neyroud: 2011).

Criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, pedagogues, philosophers and academics from different fields of science have produced a great number of scientific reports on surveys and projects concerning practical and theoretical topics of police, policing and police training after World War II. They had some direct or indirect influence on political (economic, legal, organisational) decisions and the development of conditions for policing and police training in some countries or regions… It was only possible to bridge the gap between theory (science, academic research) and police practice in some countries and in some fields of police/policing.   

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Police departments in Pakistan, as in elsewhere in the world, face a growing number of fiscal challenges. These challenges include many but the most recurrent being balancing the need to combat crime with the cost of policing. Apparently, the volume of budgets increase but such increases are accompanied with limits on the discretionary powers and powers to make the decision about the scientific innovations in policing. The number of police force keeps on increasing without their substantial capacity. Therefore, the policing situation in Pakistan warrants very constructive scientific and technological interventions.

There are many examples of police departments worldwide that have attached prime importance to the application of science to policing practices and have received remarkable outcomes in reducing crime and violence within their areas of responsibility. Among them, the names of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, California, London, Tokyo, and many other mega-cities are always referred by the policing experts. The police departments in Pakistan such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are struggling with scientific ways and have recently experienced great success in terms of controlling crimes of different types including terrorist incidents.

Why Think of Science in Policing

Increases in funds for building structures, criminal database, forensic facility, digitalization of police investigation and operations, and improving public service delivery are the areas where our governments need to invest for better convictions and equipment to deal with violent acts and mobs.  Decreases in funding for public safety mean those police departments cannot support an ever-increasing number of law enforcement officers — or, in many cases, even the status quo. Therefore, police officials must shift their attention to the science of controlling crime and disorder. In his seminal work on the topic, criminologist Lawrence Sherman is of the view that such evidence-based model driving its authenticity from science could serve as the “most powerful force for change in policing” and also an instrument of policing the changes in crime industry.

Sherman further observes: “The use of the best available research on the outcomes of police work to implement guidelines and evaluate agencies, units and officers.” Evaluation of ongoing police operations is important because it can link research-based strategies to improved public safety outcomes, allowing police agencies to move beyond a reactive, response-driven approach and get smarter about crime control. Science can equip our police departments in Pakistan to adopt innovations in policing ranging from intelligence-led policing to predictive, evidence-based, and proactive policing approaches focussing on crime prevention more than on punishment.

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The Disconnect Between Researchers and Police Departments

One factor that contributes to the lack of agreement about how to design policing strategies is the disconnect between the evidence researchers uncover and the approaches taken by many police departments. This disconnect has varied causes, and it leads many practitioners and policymakers to view science as “a luxury that can be useful but can also be done without.” Conducting social science research is time-consuming, which runs counter to community demands for a quick response and to political realities facing police chiefs. And sometimes, even after months or years of study, researchers simply do not know why certain crime phenomena occur and their call for the further inquiry is common.

Who Should do What?

However, incomplete answers about the crime should not keep police departments from using the best available science to inform their strategies. Home departments and police chiefs (IGPs) should embrace the potential of science and introduce it to the toolbox their police officers use to solve crime problems.

If the onus for adopting scientific approaches to controlling crime is on the police, the responsibility for disseminating scientific police practices as well as processes rests with the research community while the politicians are to provide funds to support research-based policy guidelines for policing. Governments through their provincial and federal home or interior department should envisage an establishment of research institutes for criminal justice research which should feed Pakistan’s criminal justice policy, setting goals of crime reduction and improving public safety standards.

Connecting Science to Crime Control Strategies

Researchers can fulfil this responsibility by producing timely, readable reports of their work. Most researchers author lengthy technical reports full of scientific jargon, more suited for academics than practitioners and policymakers. If they want practitioners to use their findings, they must make their research easier to understand. John Laub, Director of the National Institute of Justice, said, “If we want to prevent, reduce and manage crime, scientific discoveries must be translated into policy and practice.” If every crime control research effort resulted in a short, readable and accessible summary that was effectively marketed, perhaps local leaders would start to demand that police pursue policing Science. Each summary could outline the issue studied, the method used in the study, the study’s findings, and their application to policing and crime control.

Inherent in connecting science to the development and evaluation of crime control strategies is the understanding that local knowledge and experience counts and must be blended with scientific evidence to create operationally — and politically — realistic strategies. Police and community members’ knowledge of local conditions, expectations and social dynamics that contribute to crime and disorder are important and should not be ignored.

Adoption of Science in policing does not replace community-specific knowledge, and it does not remove a police department’s authority or responsibility for crime control decisions. It is intended to inform decision-makers about the best scientific evidence regarding strategies to realize desired outcomes. This evidence helps them create or refine their approaches and provides structure for evaluating their efforts. It cannot and is not intended to replace the wisdom and judgment of policing officials and those to whom they report.

Police departments in Pakistan can increase institutional as well as practical knowledge about the science of crime control by forming partnerships with local universities or colleges to use the services of professors, graduate students or interns. National Police Bureau of Pakistan should hire a Ph.D.-level criminologist to translate existing research findings, help craft new scientific research-based strategies and evaluate existing ones. In addition to this, the government of Pakistan can utilize the services of those officers from the Police Services of Pakistan who have completed their foreign education, especially those who have done PhDs abroad.

A shift of the “ownership” of the science of crime control from academic institutions to police agencies may be needed to implement science in policing. Facilitating this shift, those who appoint and remove police chiefs of provinces or districts— Federal and provincial governments — can change the reward systems for police chiefs to encourage them to pursue science-based police practices. As a consequence, “police departments will, as Sherman advocates, become more conversant with the science of crime control and increasingly use the “best evidence to shape the best practices.”

Resistance to Science by the Police Culture in Pakistan

Policing in Pakistan still, coexists with conventional ways and has witnessed mismanaged, slow, disconnected and indifferent-to-ground-reality reforms that have been witnessing many fluctuations due to the absence of uniform institutional approaches. In all police agencies working in Pakistan, there is a growing consensus on the effectiveness of using scientific methods in preventing and solving crimes, but the interest of stakeholders in peace and order varies from one department to the other. If Khyber Pakhtoonkha government allows reasonable independence to Provincial Police Officer (PPO) KP for taking better decisions based on ground reality, the Punjab government is still revisiting tighter bureaucratic controls and Sindh government tries hard to ensure political controls on Sindh police through their home department; while in the GB and Balochistan the police functions are performed by non-police or military agencies. All those in Pakistan who want to control police through different means never want police to be capable of doing their work, autonomous to rely on their own, and independent to remain impartial in decision making. And the application of science to policing is destined to enhance police capacity that many vested interest groups resist; Adoption of science in policing could ensure across-the-board accountability that the thana culture in Pakistan always resists!  

Closing Remarks

Adopting a community-oriented problem-solving philosophy and to use the best available scientific evidence to drive crime control strategies, policymakers and taxpayers alike can help law enforcement officers make our cities safer. They can also help law enforcement officers become more responsive to all the communities they serve, increase their legitimacy with their communities. Application of science in policing increases transparency in police procedures, that in turn warrant for more accountability and hence better professionalism in police which is, indeed, a dire need of the hour. Thus, policing, which is devoid of science, is nothing more than merely a watchman-ship.

The Writer is a scholar, an educator, a novelist and a senior officer at Police Service of Pakistan…

 

 

 

 

Warriors or Guardians: The Role of Police Officers

J. J. Baloch

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The rapidly changing times of digital democracy, high connectivity, greater freedom and easy access to everything in real time keep redefining the role of police officers in the 21st century. Pakistan claims no exception to this rule. This phenomenon has made policing not only a difficult but also a very dangerous job to perform. However, the training discourse of police officers in any police academy anywhere in the world reveals with unmistakable clarity that police officers are groomed as warriors rather than the guardians.

The policing challenges in the 21st century require policing educators to revisit the basic structure of their training designs which appear to be inherently flawed in the context of emerging socio-political realities. If we examine the policing literature of any academy or any police publications from any part of the world, warrior mentality would appear to be a dominant and recurrent theme, filled with great slogans and enthusiasm for waging war on everything-crime, drugs, illegal weapons, terrorism etc. Indeed, it is important to instil the physical spark in young officers facing the challenges of crime, but the more important is to inculcate in them the moral values of courage, confidence, optimism, cordiality, honesty, service delivery, passion, empathy, impartiality, democracy and rule of law in building their integrity of character which could serve as an instrumental in winning the public trust.

The police officers in Pakistan, as a general practice and a common tradition, are used to be trained as the best warriors instead of the best guardians. It is the general perception in almost all the policy circles of law enforcement and government that only warriors can engage any kind of threat in a befitting manner and can better serve and protect their communities or localities from nearly any threat while standing on thin blue line. Such thin blue line is always drawn between law-abiding citizens and the criminals.

It goes without saying that the police have become a trickier and riskier profession and everyone can hardly survive the dangers associated and threats involved in enforcing the writ of the law. Today, than ever before, the culture of uncertainty and mistrust dominate the very attitude of police officers. In many cases, it has been observed that criminals and outlaws or what we call non-state actors are doing the role of the guardians of the people in terms of guaranteeing them the protection of their cultural, economic, political and social rights. This becomes alarming when public begin to trust terrorists and drug peddlers more than they trust their police and this has been witnessed in many parts of Pakistan during our war on terror. Winning such seminal war without enlisting public support is, indeed, a misnomer. Many research studies have found that war on terror can never be won without effective policing. And there could always be the remotest chances of police to win such a war without mandatorily winning the public trust before engaging in such a deadly showdown.     

There is little doubt in the fact that the police officers tend to invoke their inner warrior instinct instantly. There are some scholars and scientists, however, who suggest that the current model of training structure, organisation and indeed culture, among police departments, is setting law enforcement up for a collision course with the citizens who the police officers are sworn to serve and protect. Articles and even books such as Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko (2013) and The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (2017) have raised serious concerns for what the perceived militarization of police means for law enforcement and for fundamental rights of the citizens.

In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating and frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society. Balko focuses on many policies and police practice instances which are castigated to have posed the serious threat to the fundamental rights or civil liberties of the US citizens as enshrined in their much celebrated 4th Amendment. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.

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However, Alex S. Vitale in his critique: “The End of Policing” goes further in condemning the militarized role of police in very clear and categorical terms; he maintains that the problem is not with police officers’ attitude and training but rather the substantial problem is with policing itself. He argues that policing must end and modern democratic society no longer needs authoritative, dictatorial and punitive methodologies to encroach upon fundamental rights of the people in the name of establishing peace and order. He believes that policing can be replaced by employing restorative, legal and humanitarian methods of addressing the problems of crime and disorder through rehabilitation of non-conformists within the given societies. To him, it is in the very nature of policing as a form of coercive and blatant force that it stands in the way of protecting human rights. He attacks policing as a burden on public exchequer and recommends for cost-effective community voluntarism of pre-state societies to be more effective than the modern security paradigm which is designed to thrive on taxing the public in the garb of public safety. Finally, he infers that crime will never end if the police get more powers and more budgets because the end of crime will make the police no longer relevant to societies, so it is in the very nature of policing to let some sort of crime exist. These findings may make us very uncomfortable as working in policing industry but there is a large number of people who concur with the Vitale’s notion in Pakistan and this book is a clarion call to make our house in order by assuming truly the role of a guardian.   

The case of Pakistan police is quite different from American police in many ways. However, some existing commonalities in both cases need to be highlighted here. In America the police officers are blamed to be taking on the role of the military while in Pakistan Para-military forces, like rangers, have assumed the policing function due to consistent violence in our cities since the 1990s when ethnic and sectarian violence raised their ugly faces, killing many innocent people. Now the same culture of reckless violence has joined the ghost of terrorism which is fed by growing religious militancy and extremist ideologies both at home and in neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan. The common in critique is the fact that in both the cases of US as well as Pakistan, the police are not doing policing but rather performing a military function that tarnishes the image of police as a social service which is tasked by the constitution to protect the fundamental rights of their citizenry as their primary and core job.

In Pakistan, the relationship between the police and the public has remained regrettably tenuous. Since its very inception in the second half of 19th century on Irish Constabulary model which was mandated to suppress the rebellions like that of 1857 in British India, the Police have been lacklustre in building the image of the guardians of the rights of the people. On the contrary, the common men in the streets believe that the police are the coercive tool of the government to get their unlawful job done. There are others who take police as the government’s occupying force which is toned and tuned to deprive people of their rights by being hand in glow with political and criminal actors within the society.  

A demonstrator detained by a policeman gestures near the Faizabad junction in Islamabad

The good news for all Pakistanis is that like all other police forces in the world, the police departments in Pakistan are coming back to their basics. The police reforms in Pakistan is the on-going process and the duties of police officers are no longer to dance to the tunes of the people in power but to follow the procedure and to act in accordance with law without fear and favour. Police Order 2002 redefined the role of police officers as the guardian of the fundamental rights of the people and this notion stands validated by many superior court judgements in Pakistan. The transformation of KP police in Pakistan from regime service to the public service through their new legislation of Police Act 2017 has generated new debate about the redefined role of police officers as the guardians to serve and protect their communities with rejuvenated passion in changing police demographics-Millennials- of the 21st century.

The overwhelming inefficiency of police in performing their core functions has increased the public scrutiny of police officers and police departments in Pakistan. Social media technology is making public scrutiny much easier and stricter. The public has always expected high ethical standards from police officers and so much more so now than ever before. The incidents like model town Lahore, 12 May 2007 Karachi, and incapacity to restore public life during frequent Dharnas-Crowd Demonstration- in Islamabad D Chowk and Faizabad and their live media coverage have gone a long way in exposing the helplessness, negligence and non-professionalism of our police force and in necessitating change in everything policing and police.  

In the intensely connected societies of ours, people can hardly take any pain in exposing police officers misconduct with public instantly on real-time media. Flash forward to the “Age of the Internet” where everything is accessible hands down to every Tom, Dick and Harry with Smartphones and tablets in their hands, they can show wrongdoings of police officers thereof to thousands, if not to millions of people. There are still others who think nothing of purposefully goading police officers and pushing the envelope as far as they can while remaining within their rights. People miss no opportunity to expose the ignorance of police with regards to the very laws that the police officers are supposed to enforce, the procedures they are trained to follow and the rights they are sworn to uphold. In the recent episode of Faizabad sit-in by Labaik Ya Rasul Allah movement protesters, the weaknesses of police strategy, planning and conduct were fully exploited by the protesters on social media while the electronic media was banned by the government for few days. Police departments around the world still espouse their role as guardians of public rights in their slogans and their mission statements. It does not take long, however, for new officers to begin to see themselves as set apart from, rather than a part of, protecting the civil liberties of their citizenry.

The warrior image of police officers erodes public trust and eroded public trust is eroding police effectiveness as the builder and keepers of peace in Pakistan as well as in every society worldwide. In such state of affairs police officers fail to help and defend themselves. Instead of showing measured, thoughtful and intelligent responses, police officers view any challenge to their authority as a threat that must be subdued or eliminated. This bravado is getting both citizens and police officers hurt and only serve to further diminish the public trust in police and policing.

The Writer is an author of “Whiter than White”-a novel and a senior police officer at Police Service of Pakistan…

 

 

Dying Hope

J. J. Baloch

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For the entire modern world, America has represented hope and a beacon of light for centuries; but today “America does make sense anymore” even to patriot Americans, so admits Andrew Shaffer-a New York Times bestselling author- in his recently published novel: “Hope Never Dies“. Trump administration’s crisis of immigration knows no ending but keeps rolling which appears to crack the image of America as a champion of civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Many true American patriots lament that the rational part of American soul has lost somewhere in political point scoring on the chessboard of the darker politics.

Not only libertarians, nor yet only political opponents of President Trump but also many Americans are not happy with what he has been doing since he is in White House especially regarding his policies which have generated a massive human rights crisis in the country, once known as the land of opportunity and hope. All the enforcement departments, courts, media, civil society groups and human rights activists are worried on what they call “abrupt, ill-conceived, cruel, uncivilised and anti-humanitarian immigration policies” of the trump administration. The federal government of America was separating children “using vague or unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing or minor violations against the parents, including charges of illegally re-entering the country, as justification”, so writes David Leonhard, a New York Times columnist.

The 2017 ban on travellers from Muslim countries was so abrupt it surprised the officers who had to enforce it. Before the midterm elections, President Trump ordered thousands of troops to Texas to stop what he called “an assault” by a caravan of Central Americans. That caravan is now at the border of California. But the most tumultuous order of all, was this summer’s separation of children from their parents, which Mr Trump had to quickly withdraw. Though administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border officially ended in June, yet many doubt that the administration might have covertly revived this policy again.

Many reports found that the starting time of children separated from families and time when the separated was kept secret from the public and media for a long time. One of the isolated Child named Immers with his father crossed illegally into America from Honduras, a country at war with gangs and cartels. Father, when interviewed, revealed that he hardly survived in his hard journey through anarchic country Honduras with the hope of applying for asylum in America and hence he claimed to present himself to US border patrol with the request to save his and his family life. Under asylum law of the USA, the asylum seekers cannot be denied to stay until they are given a right to the judicial hearing. Under orders of Trump administration asylum seekers were charged with the crime and their children were separated from them. Immers’ father told 60 minutes interview:  “I never thought that they would separate him from me. But an immigration agent said, ‘you are going to be separated, your son is going to be taken away, and then a judge will decide what will be done with you.'” As a child cannot be arrested or incarcerated, so immers was sent to Michigan to live with a foster family.

The courts are also resisting such illegal and inhuman orders of the trump administration with full vigour of law and agility of conscience. This month, a federal judge struck down the president’s latest immigration order. It has been a turbulent two years on the border as the administration imposed barriers with little consideration of their legality or consequences. To the non-compliant judges, president Trump describes as ‘Obama-Judges’ creating an impression that the judges appointed during Obama’s tenure are inclined to oppose his policies of ‘making America great again’. On this characterisation of the role of judges, they responded to guard their integrity by maintaining that they are the ‘American-Judges’ and they are there to protect the soul and body of their constitution; they are neither Democrats nor Republican nor yet have anything to do with them.

In the meantime, another humanitarian crisis along the border has begun. Last weekend, immigration agents lobbed tear gas into Mexico to deter members of the migrant caravan from crossing the border or seeking asylum. Tear gas has a particularly harsh effect on children because of their weaker respiratory systems. The Trump administration does not actually seem to be trying to discourage turmoil at the border. It is near to striking a deal with Mexico to keep asylum seekers on the Mexican side of the border, which could add to the sense of chaos. “Trump’s border policy has squeezed asylum seekers at both ends,” writes Vox Dara Lind.  “Officials stress that migrants ought to present themselves legally at ports of entry, while asylum seekers at ports are forced to wait days or weeks for entry.”

Some critics are though tough on Trump’s approach to the southern border as one of the significant moral failings of his presidency yet they are very careful to the sensitivity and implications of open border policy too. According to them ‘there are no easy answers to this marathon challenge for America as the United States, like any other country, can hardly afford to accommodate such a large number of displaced immigrants. Just because their lives back home are not safe is not enough justification for them to be a burden on one country. This asylum issue is likely to create a more serious and unmanageable crisis that could damage Trump’s political credibility severely if not fixed appropriately.

In the interest of the highest ideals of civilisations and the noblest values of humanity, America, being the torch bearer of civil liberties, should revisit Trump’s legacy of bitter policies and must not disavow its international responsibilities in the higher interests of peace, justice and freedom. Despite the fact, the challenges demographic storms are genuine, there is need to address the somewhat complicated human crisis of displaced and home souls in a more humane and civilised way, applying wisdom and knowledge instead of force and harsh policies.

The Writer is a novelist, essayist, blogger, author, educator and Senior Police Officer. 

Pakistan’s Unfurling Digital Revolution

J. J. Baloch

Pakistan-Digital

 

Many people around the world, even scholars, think of Pakistan as an unstable, feeble and dysfunctional state entrapped in violence, intolerance and theocratic undertones. However, only a few are alive to the digital fertility of Pakistan’s 20 million population in which 67% are youth under the age of 25. Since the social media revolution in the first decade of the 21st century, Pakistanis are fast embracing modern technology in daily lives. Pakistan, which struggles to come out of the long periods of the ‘War on Terror’, is currently advancing with the economic development of 5.8% and enhanced confidence of the investor.

In a historic feat, the federal cabinet of previous government had approved Pakistan’s first digital policy, “Digital Pakistan Policy” which will offer many incentives for the IT sector of the country. The new digital policy offers various benefits to the IT sector which we have extensively covered here. These include the income tax holiday, 5% cash reward on IT export remittances, 5% sales tax reduction on domestic revenues in federal territories and providing preferential bank loans to the IT industry. Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) has played a key role in convincing the government to give approval to these major incentives in the history of Pakistan’s IT and Telecom industry.

The new digital policy also aims to boost e-commerce sector in the country by developing an ecosystem where payment service providers (PSPs) and payment service operators (PSOs) will collaborate to form a more interactive e-commerce platform. ‘Digital Pakistan’ Policy will serve as a catalyst towards a holistic digital ecosystem in the country with advanced concepts and components for the rapid delivery of next-generation digital services, applications, and content. Moreover, the Digital Pakistan Policy will also provide a basic framework to establish incubation centres across Pakistan to nourish technology start-ups so that they can more efficiently work on global trends like IoT, AI, and robotics etc. Thus, the Digital Pakistan Policy claims to pave the way forward for the country to drive its growth through the digital economy.

Many digital professionals here and abroad have hailed Digital Pakistan Policy as a landmark move made by the previous government at the tail end of their tenure. Mainstream policy discussions in Pakistan rarely focus on this oft-neglected yet vital sector in any modern economy. Over the last five years, without much government support or clear terms of business, our IT sector has experienced tremendous organic growth, generating $3.3 billion in revenues, according to the 2016-17 so records the Economic Survey report for 2017. There is ample room for further growth, and the IT ministry’s stated target is to raise exports of IT goods and services to $10 billion by 2020, through the introduction of several economic incentives. The potential this has to revolutionise both private and public services, attract foreign investment and deepen our integration in global value chains cannot be overstated.

Where the policy is surprisingly thin on details are the very issues that the government had compromised on in the past when it enacted the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016: data protection and content regulation. “PECA affords the PTA the power to remove and block any content based on extremely generalised parameters. Given the lack of clarity on content restrictions and the distributed nature of the internet, as long as the potential for broad and arbitrary bans on content exists, the law in its current iteration fosters a non-conducive business climate”. Here, people’s right to information and freedom of expression are intrinsically linked to ensuring open and free cyberspace.

Meanwhile, the policy makes only passing reference to the need to ensure consumer rights by passing a data protection law. In recent years, citizen databases in India, Turkey, Brazil, etc. have reportedly been breached many times, even NADRA is no exception to this kind of breach. Yet the policy, which aims to consolidate all citizens’ personal information under one cloud, fails to address specifics of how such data is to be collected, stored and, most importantly, protected. For Pakistan’s IT industry to truly flourish, any future government must ensure that the country’s digital laws are harmonised with global standards. This policy is a start, but in the upcoming election campaign, all political parties ought to have well-articulated digital visions.

In addition to the digital policy adopted by the Federal government, the provincial governments like Punjab and KPK are in cut-throat competition to screw their respective IT boards for new digital innovations every other day. The government of Punjab has taken the lead in e-Policing through its state-of-the-art Safe City Projects. While the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa disclosed to build Pakistan’s first ever digital city. “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board (KPITB) is alluring investors for Pakistan’s first Digital City, to be based out of Haripur, on the periphery of capital’s Margalla Hills. KPITB is now inviting investors for Pakistan’s first Digital City”.

Now Digital analysts and scientists gauge Pakistan’s digital potential as one among the top ten growing economies in the world. At 2017 World Economic Forum Devin W. Chief Executive Officer featured Pakistan as one of the quickest developing web-based business showcases on the planet. Besides this observation, Alibaba purchased Pakistan’s biggest online business-Daraz.pk in 2018. Eric Jing, chief executive of Ant Financial, said it would provide “inclusive financial services in a transparent, safe, low-cost and efficient way to a largely unbanked and under-banked population in Pakistan”. Also, many governmental and non-governmental agencies have gone digital in their way of adopting the technology.

“The global map is being altered at a much faster rate than anticipated due to the disruption created by digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and block-chain. Further digital and technological disruption is now set to mend fractures in society – leading to improved living conditions and enhance economic empowerment.”

In this regard, a powerful impetus to massive adoption of the technology of new media in Pakistan has come from China in the recent decade. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a noteworthy joint venture between China and Pakistan, has been quickly advancing and the effect of the enterprise can be found in the lives of Pakistanis, as reflected in an enhancing Human Development Index 2017. However, the traditional obstruction to economic development like inadequate transport facilities, inconsistent power supplies and absence of financial inclusion in the South Asian area are being expelled to benefit as much as possible from the fourth innovative revolution which is quicker and speedier to achieve in the globalised world of the 21st century.

This exhibits the ‘open door’ displayed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which can inspire individuals by consolidating the physical, digital and biological worlds to produce a better quality life for humans and to converge innovations and technologies with the end goal to create inclusive and human-focused future. However, the major worry for partners in Pakistan and whatever is left of the area is to enhance abilities and make a future-prepared workforce with comprehension of advanced media and information about the business enterprise.

The task of Pakistan’s leaders today is to convert problems and Challenges into promising opportunities. The state of everything-is-fine never produces leaders and visions. The real test for our leaders is their ability to grasp the perspective and curve out a holistic strategy to respond to the new situation where globalisation is on its meteoric rise. The great historian of all times Arnold Toynbee maintains that those who respond to challenges aptly make the history and those who fail in so doing become the history. Pakistanis are at home in rising from the ashes, and this time too they will undoubtedly prove their distilled wisdom to test their mettle by responding to all challenges in a befitting manner.

The writer is novelist, essayist, blogger, scholar, educator and a Senior Police Officer at Police Service of Pakistan