LAHORE: A joint team of the Punjab Human Organs Transplant Authority (P-HOTA) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is all set to carry out a raid in Swat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) on an information that a notorious group of doctors is involved in illegal organ transplant of patients (mostly hailing from Punjab).

The federal and provincial government team was formed when it busted late on Thursday a racket of doctors and agents involved in illegal kidney transplant in Lahore. The raid was carried out at Manga Mandi from where the joint teams of the FIA and the P-HOTA had arrested Dr Fahim Aslam and Dr Bilal on the complaint of kidney patient Dilawar Hussain. Another surgeon fled the scene.

P-HOTA Director General Prof Asad Aslam Khan told Dawn that the scope of investigation was extended after it transpired that many doctors and private men were running an illegal organ transplant network in Punjab and KP. He said the doctors and agents from both provinces traded patients to perform illegal kidney transplants against hefty charges.

Joint team to track down others in Swat

He suspected that both sides had performed a number of such surgeries and the most disturbing part of it all was that a month ago they allegedly removed kidney of a woman who later died due to complications.

A resident of Bhai Pheru in Kasur, the woman was recommended for removal of appendix, the most common surgical problem.

Prof Aslam said that during the course of investigation P-HOTA received the complaint that the network operating in Lahore removed her kidney and she died due to complications.

A joint team of the FIA and P-HOTA launched investigation into the serious complaint, he said, adding that the doctors arrested from Manga Mandi were qualified for general surgery and they were not authorised to perform urological procedures like kidney transplant. One of them had served at the Children’s Hospital, Lahore. He left the institute a few years ago and started private practice at Manga Mandi.

Similarly, two other doctors were running private clinics and involved in illegal organ transplant of patients, the DG said.

Documents say Dr Fahim and Dr Bilal demanded Rs3.5 million from Dilawar Hussain to perform his illegal kidney transplant. After negotiation, both sides agreed on an amount Rs3.35 million to perform the surgery of the patient in Swat, KP. According to the plan, the doctors would also arrange the donor for the patient.

The doctors facilitated a meeting of the patient with some agents including Bilal Ahmad, Naveed, Rana Iqbal and Rana Afzal. The agents took the patient to Rawalpindi on Nov 18, 2021, booked a room in a hotel and kept him there for 45 days. They also obtained from him an advance amount of Rs1.9 million. He was later transported from Rawalpindi to Mangora in Swat where other members of local racket of illegal organ transplant got Rs1.4 million.

The documents say the patient paid the amount in Swat to Dr Shoaib Khan and Dr Shad Khan who promised that his illegal kidney transplant would be performed at the Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital of Mingora. He was kept for 15 days in the name of ‘preparation’ for the operation but the surgery was postponed and the doctors suggested Dilawar to revisit Swat in near future.

Shortly after reaching Lahore, Dilawar contacted Dr Fahim and Dr Bilal and asked them to return his money for not conducting his kidney transplant. He then approached P-HOTA and filed a complaint with evidence.

“On our written complaint, the FIA Director Lahore Zone-I launched investigations to initiate legal action against the illegally operating kidney transplant network,” Prof Khan said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2022

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