Umar Sharif’s daughter falls victim to illegal organ transplant racket
LAHORE: A joint team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) on Tuesday raided the house of transplant surgeon Dr Fawad Mumtaz in Bahria Town, Lahore, when it transpired that known comedian Umar Sharif’s daughter died from serious complications after he carried out her allegedly ‘illegal kidney transplant’ at an undisclosed location in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Presently serving at the Lahore General Hospital, Dr Fawad was notorious for running an organ trade network in various parts of Punjab, an official told Dawn.
He said the team returned when it learnt that Dr Fawad had already left his home to avoid arrest.
The joint team of the FIA and the HOTA acted on a written complaint of Umar Sharif’s son Jawad Umar, who said his sister Hira Sharif died in the wake of her illegal kidney transplant carried out by Dr Fawad Mumtaz.
He said Dr Fawad charged Rs3.4 million for the organ transplant and took her to an undisclosed place in AJK where she developed serious complications a week after the operation. He, however, did not say whether the family was aware that this was going to be an illegal transplant.
Mr Jawad alleged that his sister was brought to a private hospital at Raiwind Road in a life-threatening condition and she breathed her last on Monday night due to serious complications.
He, however, expressed ignorance about the exact location, building or road where surgery on his sister was performed.
Following his application, HOTA formed a four-member committee to probe the allegations, the official said.
Umer Sharif was on a three-month visit to the United States.
‘Faulty criminal justice system’
An official, who was privy to the entire process, said that the criminal record of transplant surgeon Dr Fawad and the network he was running to perform illegal organ transplant uninterruptedly was a ‘slap in the face of faulty criminal justice system’.
He said Dr Fawad was nominated in several criminal cases lodged in Faisalabad, Multan, Lahore and other parts of Punjab for carrying out illegal organ transplant.
Talking about some important cases, he said Dr Fawad was arrested red-handed by the FIA in April 2017 when he was carrying out allegedly illegal kidney transplant of foreigners, including Jordanian, Libyan and Omani citizens at EME Society in Lahore for Rs6m each.
During transplant Jordanian national Salma had breathed her last. The raiding team had also taken into custody the then general secretary of Young Doctors Association, Punjab, Dr Altamash Kharal, and two other suspects.
The busting of organ trade racket of doctors from serving public sector mega teaching hospitals of Lahore had hit the headlines in national media, inviting strong criticism on the medical community and the health authorities for giving space to such ‘notorious medics’ in the healthcare set-up for playing with the lives of people.
Next year of arrest in April 2018, the Lahore High Court had dismissed post-arrest bail of Dr Fawad Mumtaz on the charges of illegal kidney transplantation.
Later, he was released on bail when he again moved the high court and resumed his duty at the Lahore General Hospital and organ transplant surgeries at private places, he said.
Meanwhile, the official said Dr Fawad was again nominated in a case lodged with the Faisalabad police in August 2019 when he along with his accomplices removed kidney of a poor carpenter Shahid Masih.
Recently, another criminal case was lodged against him in Multan under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code when a few deaths were reported after he performed on the patients allegedly “illegal organ transplant procedures”.
Following the case, Dr Fawad obtained pre-arrest bail from the court of additional district and sessions judge Mohammad Nawaz Bhatti.
On this, HOTA legal director Imran Ahmad pursued the case with the same judge who rejected bail of Dr Fawad for not appearing in court.
Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2020