In eastern Pakistan, law enforcement authorities have dismantled an illegal organ trafficking network, detaining eight individuals who were involved in surgically extracting kidneys from numerous patients. These kidneys were subsequently sold to affluent individuals in need of transplants. The alleged ringleader, known as “Dr. Fawad,” is accused of performing 328 kidney removal surgeries and selling them to clients for prices reaching up to 10 million Pakistani rupees each.
According to Mohsin Naqvi, the chief minister of Punjab province in Pakistan, Fawad received assistance from an unnamed car mechanic who administered anesthesia during these operations. The gang targeted patients from hospitals and conducted these surgeries discreetly in the Taxila region, Lahore, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The absence of kidney transplant regulations in Kashmir facilitated their activities in that area.
While three deaths have been confirmed, authorities are still in the process of verifying additional cases. Fawad had been previously arrested five times but managed to resume his illegal operations after each release. Shockingly, some patients were unaware that their kidneys had been removed.
The investigation began after a man reported that he had been convinced by one of the gang members to undergo private medical treatment. Later, when he sought further medical assistance from another doctor, he was informed that he no longer had a kidney.
To combat such illicit kidney transplant advertisements online, Naqvi is collaborating with the Inspector General of Police of Punjab to strengthen the country’s cyber laws. The primary focus is on identifying and apprehending other criminal groups engaged in similar activities.
Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade of human organs in 2007, with a more stringent law enacted in 2010 that penalizes organ harvesting and trafficking with up to 10 years in prison and a 1 million rupee fine. Prior to these legislations, Pakistan was a hub for organ trade, serving both foreign transplant recipients and wealthy locals. Despite the legal changes, recent reports suggest that illegal kidney transplants have resurfaced in the country.