Disgraced doctor and mechanic held over alleged organ trafficking in Pakistan

Police investigation uncovers more than 300 illegal kidney transplants conducted in Punjab and Kashmir

Pakistani officials said the illegal kidney transplants were performed in private homes. AP Photo
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Police in Pakistan have arrested eight people including a disgraced doctor and a mechanic who allegedly ran an organ-trafficking ring that conducted at least 328 illegal kidney transplants.

Fawad Mukhtar, a doctor already arrested five times over malpractice, used the unidentified mechanic as a surgical assistant and anaesthetist on vulnerable patients lured from hospitals, said police.

The chief minister of Punjab province Mohsin Naqvi said the transplants were conducted in private homes, at times without the patient's knowledge, with kidneys sold for up to 10 million rupees ($35,000) each.

The gang was said to have operated across eastern Punjab province as well as in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, causing at least three deaths.

"The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble," Mr Naqvi said on Sunday night.

"There are a lot more transplants and illegal surgeries than this. These are the ones that we have confirmed."

Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade of human organs in 2010, introducing a decade-long jail term and steep fines as deterrents in the hope of curbing sales to overseas clients by exploitative middlemen.

In January, Punjab police broke an organ-trafficking ring when a missing 14-year-old boy was found in an underground lab after having his kidney removed.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 9:33 AM