February 27, 2024

Organ trade ring busted in Pakistan

TAP | Updated: May 1, 2017

Lahore, May 01: Two senior doctors and three paramedics have been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly running a major organ trade racket since 2009 involving recipients from Gulf countries. 
The two doctors of public hospitals were taken into custody during a raid at a posh locality here. Two donors and as many foreign recipients have been shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. “Besides arresting two senior doctors ? Fawad Mumtaz and Altamash Kheral of Lahore General Hospital and three paramedics - we have taken four Omani nationals into custody who had come here for organ transplant. This racket has been operating in the country since 2009 and exploiting a number of people here to oblige its clients in Gulf countries,” Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) investigator Jamil Ahmed Khan told PTI. 
He said both doctors during interrogation revealed that they have been looking for clients in the Gulf countries through an agent stationed in Oman since 2009.
“They along with their other accomplices are also operating in Rawalpindi and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. They would charge an average 6 million Pakistani rupees to 7 million Pakistani rupees from a foreign client (recipient of a kidney) and pay just over 100,000 Pakistani rupees to a poor donor,” he said, adding the doctors have made a windfall in this illegal business of organ transplant. Talking about the plight of the donors, the FIA official said 20-year-old Nahid Akhtar and rickshaw driver Muhammad Aamir were operated upon by the doctors in an operation theatre set up at a small rented house in the private housing society.
“Nahids kidney was removed but the doctors failed to transplant it into an Omani national, because of excessive bleeding. Both women were semi-conscious when the FIA raided the house. Similarly, both doctors had taken out Aamirs kidney and were performing procedure on another Omani national. We called ambulances and shifted them to the Mayo Hospital where they are stable now,” the official said. The doctors had paid only 125,000 Pakistani rupees and 130,000 Pakistani rupees to Nahid and Aamir, respectively, while they (doctors) received over 5 million Pakistani rupees from each Omani recipient, he added. “My family was to pay debt that forced me to sell my kidney to arrange the amount. Extreme poverty made me to do so,” Nahid said. Aamir also had the similar story. 
The FIA has booked both doctors and three paramedics under Punjab Human Organs and Tissues Act (amended) 2012 and Pakistan Penal Code. The doctors would face up to 10 years of imprisonment with fine up to 10 million rupees. A few months ago, police sealed a multi-storey hospital in Rawalpindi for illegal organ transplant and detained 24 people. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year thousands of people from Europe, Middle East, the US and Australia come to India, Pakistan, China, Egypt, the Philippines and other countries in search of poor donors who are willing to give one of their kidneys for financial compensation.
The WHO said up to 10 per cent of the 63,000 kidney transplants that occur annually throughout the world involve donors from developing countries who are unrelated to the recipients.
A common feature of this commercial organ trade is that the donor usually does not receive any post operative care which can lead to grave consequences. PTI