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Two members of kidney-stealing gang arrested

Updated October 21, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: In a dramatic raid on Tuesday, Lohi Bher police freed four poor men from the clutches of a gang of kidney stealers and arrested two persons who were guarding them in an isolated house in the city’s Sihala suburbs.

A citizen’s complaint alerted Lohi Bher police about the criminal activity.

“Acting on the complaint, DSP Ashraf Shah conducted the raid and brought all six persons to the police station for legal action and safe keeping,” the police said.

Complainant Irfan Masih told Lohi Bher police that alleged gang members brought his jobless brother-in-law Mukhtar Masih from Lahore to Islamabad with offer of work but instead stole his kidney.

As Mukhtar lay in his death bed, the gang lured his brother Jamil Masih and the family feared for his life too, police quoted Irfan as saying.

A four-tier gang was said to be involved in the ugly trade of illegal kidney transplantations, with an ‘agent’ sitting at the top receiving orders from unethical ‘medical workers’ for kidney donors and executing them through ‘organisers’ and ‘handlers’ or ‘facilitators’.

Police have registered a case under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissue Act 2010 against the six persons nominated by the complaint on charges covered by section 10, and section 11 of the Act, along with PPCs 334 and 109.

Mukhtar was promised Rs150,000 for his kidney but was paid only Rs10,000, according to the complainant Irfan.

“Now they (the gang members) will take Jamil too to the transplant centre and take out his kidney any time,” he told the police, nominating the suspects running the illegal trade in human organs.

Irfan said the gang members trapped poor, jobless people with offers of job or capital for starting a business, kept them in custody and forced them into parting with their kidney.

Once broken down, victims of the gang were taken to the illegal transplant centre. After tissue matching with the potential receiver, the medical staff removed their kidney, he said.

Police said preliminary interrogation of the two persons arrested in Tuesday’s raid suggested that the four persons they were guarding were brought from different parts of the country. They were rather lucky as their tissues did not match with any of the patient needing a kidney transplant.

The two identified themselves as “facilitator” and “handler” responsible for taking care of and transporting the people put under their watch.

“Victims of the trade were shifted to their native town after being paid between Rs10,000 and Rs20,000, while those running the trade earned anywhere between Rs2 million and Rs7 million,” the arrested persons told police interrogators.

They also revealed that their gang had been active for about seven years and its activities benefited both Pakistani and foreign kidney patients.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2015

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