Police in Pakistan have successfully dismantled an organ trafficking ring responsible for extracting kidneys from hundreds of individuals. The alleged mastermind behind this illicit operation, Fawad Mukhtar, has been apprehended. Mukhtar is accused of orchestrating the removal of kidneys from a large number of people and then transplanting these organs into wealthy clients.

Despite having faced five prior arrests for similar malpractice, Mukhtar had managed to secure bail on each occasion. The grim reality is that at least three victims lost their lives as a result of these illegal kidney extractions.

The criminal network was suspected of operating not only in eastern Punjab province but also in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Shockingly, these kidney transplants were conducted in private residences, often without the knowledge of the unsuspecting patients, as revealed by Mohsin Naqvi, Chief Minister of Punjab province.

The involvement of a car mechanic as Mukhtar’s surgical assistant, who played a role in luring vulnerable patients away from hospitals, has also come to light. These harvested kidneys were then sold for exorbitant prices, fetching up to 10 million rupees (£99,000; $120,000) each, according to Mr. Naqvi’s statement during a press conference.

Expressing deep concern, Mr. Naqvi remarked, “The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble. There are likely many more illegal transplants and surgeries beyond what we’ve confirmed.”

It is worth noting that Pakistan criminalized the commercial trade of human organs in 2010. Those involved in such activities face severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. These measures were put in place to deter exploitative doctors, middlemen, recipients, and donors from participating in organ trafficking.

Despite these legal restrictions, organ trafficking continues to persist in Pakistan, driven by economic challenges, low wages, and inadequate law enforcement. In a disturbing incident in January, Punjab police uncovered another organ trafficking ring after discovering a missing 14-year-old boy in an underground laboratory, where his kidney had been surgically removed.

Source: BBC