The chief minister of Punjab province said transplants were conducted in private homes, at times without the patient’s knowledge, with kidneys sold for up to 10 million rupees each.
LAHORE: Pakistan police busted an organ trafficking ring run by a disgraced doctor and a motor mechanic, who conducted at least 328 illegal kidney transplants, authorities said.
Fawad Mukhtar — a doctor already arrested five times for malpractice — used the unnamed mechanic as a surgical assistant and anaesthetist on vulnerable patients lured from hospitals, according to a police probe.
The chief minister of Punjab province Mohsin Naqvi said 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 arrested eight-man gang was said to be operating across eastern Punjab province as well as in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, causing at least three fatalities.
“The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble,” Naqvi said during a press conference 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, imposing a decade-long jail term and steep fines in hopes of curbing sales to overseas clients by exploitative middlemen.
In January, Punjab police busted another organ trafficking ring when a missing 14-year-old boy was found in an underground lab after having his kidney removed.