Illegal Pakistani Organ Trading Ring Smashed by Local Police

By Mia Taylor October 3, 2023

A criminal organ harvesting gang in eastern Pakistan was taken down by police, who apprehended eight suspects, including an alleged ringleader accused of performing hundreds of unauthorised kidney removals.

Breaking news from eastern Pakistan where law enforcement officials have successfully disrupted a notorious illegal organ trading ring. Eight arrests have been made, including the suspected mastermind, a man known as "Dr. Fawad."

Mohsin Naqvi, the Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, revealed that Fawad is suspected of carrying out an alarming 328 operations to extract kidneys, which were subsequently sold to buyers paying up to 10 million Pakistani rupees ($34,000) per organ.

Astoundingly, it's alleged Fawad received assistance during the surgeries from an unnamed car mechanic, who reportedly administered anesthetics to patients. According to Naqvi, the illicit organ removal procedures occurred in private locations in Taxila, Lahore, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The lack of existing laws around kidney transplants in Kashmir allowed the group to conduct this illegal trade with less risk.

This operation, while seemingly clandestine, has already resulted in at least three deaths that authorities have confirmed so far. “There must be more operations that must have been carried out, the number is the only ones we’ve confirmed,” added Naqvi.

Alarmingly, 'Dr Fawad' had been arrested previously, on no less than five occasions, but was repeatedly let out and subsequently resumed his illicit operations. Some victims were reportedly unaware that their kidneys had been removed.

The case caught police attention after a victim came forward, shedding light on how he was duped into one such unauthorised surgery, only to later discover from another doctor that he was missing a kidney.

“Naqvi declared, "Our entire focus is to track other gangs who are operating like this." He is now collaborating with the Inspector General of Police of Punjab province to fortify the country’s digital laws and crackdown online advertising of illegal organ transplantation services.

In Pakistan, the booking and selling of human organs became illegal in 2007, with legislation bolstered in 2010 to criminalize the unauthorized harvesting and trafficking of organs. These laws implemented a maximum 10-year jail term and a 1 million rupee ($3,400) fine. Before these laws, organ trade was rampant, particularly among impoverished citizens selling their kidneys to make ends meet. Despite these legal updates, recent local media reports suggest illegal kidney transplants remain an ongoing issue in Pakistan.