Authorities in north-east Pakistan have apprehended eight individuals involved in an organ trafficking ring, according to the police.


Fawad Mukhtar, the purported ringleader, stands accused of forcibly extracting kidneys from over 300 individuals and subsequently transplanting them into wealthy clients. Despite being previously arrested five times for malpractice, Mukhtar had consistently secured bail.

Tragically, at least three individuals lost their lives due to organ harvesting by the ring, operating in eastern Punjab province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The illicit transplants took place in private residences, often without the knowledge of the unsuspecting patients, revealed Punjab province Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi.

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A car mechanic reportedly served as Mukhtar’s surgical assistant, aiding in the recruitment of vulnerable patients from hospitals. The trafficked kidneys were then sold for exorbitant amounts, fetching up to 10 million rupees (£99,000; $120,000) each, Naqvi disclosed.

Growing concerns

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Expressing deep concern, Naqvi stated during a press conference:

“The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble. There are a lot more transplants and illegal surgeries than this. These are the ones that we have confirmed.”

Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi

Despite the commercial trade of human organs being outlawed in Pakistan in 2010, the recent surge in organ trafficking suggests a failure in enforcement. The penalties for violators include a ten-year prison sentence and substantial fines, intended to deter exploitative doctors, middlemen, recipients, and donors from engaging in organ sales to overseas clients.

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Increased organ trafficking

Compounding the issue, the country has witnessed an increase in organ trafficking as individuals grapple with low wages and lax law enforcement.

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