Pakistani police have dismantled a network of human organ traffickers led by a doctor and a mechanic, who had performed more than 328 illegal kidney transplants, resulting in the deaths of at least three people, authorities said Monday (October 2nd).
Fawad Mukhtar, a doctor arrested five times for medical error in the past, used the unnamed mechanic as an assistant and anaesthetist during surgery, according to a police investigation. The procedures were performed on individuals met in hospitals and lured by false promises, a police investigation showed. The kidneys were removed or transplanted from private homes, sometimes even without the patient's knowledge, said Mohsin Naqvi, the head of the Punjab provincial government.
"A lot more illegal operations and transplants than that"
The organs were sold at a price of up to 10 million rupees (33,000 euros) for foreign customers, he said. The eight-member network operated in Punjab (central-east) and Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir (northeast). His activities resulted in the deaths of at least three people.
The facts and figures that have reached us make our hearts tremble," Naqvi said at a press conference on Sunday evening. The gang is responsible for "many more illegal operations and transplants than that. These are the ones we have confirmed," he added.
Pakistan banned trafficking in human organs in 2010, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But this does not prevent clandestine transplant pharmacies from flourishing in this country. They usually lack the medical equipment and know-how for such operations, and patients frequently die from complications.