Pakistani police dismantled a network of human organ traffickers led by a doctor and a mechanic, who carried out more than 328 illegal kidney transplants, causing the death of at least three people, authorities announced Monday.
Fawad Mukhtar, a doctor arrested five times for medical negligence previously, used the mechanic, who remained anonymous, as an assistant and anesthetist during surgical operations, according to the police investigation.
The individuals intervened were people they found in hospitals and whom they attracted with false promises.
Kidneys were removed or transplanted in private homes, sometimes without the patient even being aware, explained Mohsin Naqvi, head of the government of Punjab province (central east).
The organs were sold at a price of up to 10 million rupees ($34,000) to foreign customers, he said.
The eight-member network operated in Punjab and the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir (northeast). Their activities caused the death of at least three people.
"The facts and figures that have come to us are heartbreaking," Naqvi declared at a press conference on Sunday night.
The gang is responsible for "many more illegal operations and transplants. These are the ones we confirm », he added.
Pakistan banned trafficking in human organs in 2010, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
But this does not prevent clandestine transplant centers from appearing in this country. They generally lack the medical equipment and knowledge necessary for these operations, and patients often die from complications.