PESHAWAR: The FIA has arrested eight people, including a surgeon, for being involved in an illegal kidney transplant racket in Nowshera, officials said on Tuesday.
“It [kidney transplantation] was being carried out illegally where poor people were offered some money for donating their kidneys,” said Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official Mumtaz.
Mumtaz, who had travelled from Multan to Peshawar, said that they had received a tip-off about the operation, adding that the raid was conducted with assistance from local police who helped bust the gang.
The FIA official added that they had prior information about issues at the Dua Hospital in Pabbi area of Nowshera. However, when the FIA raided the facility, the found doctors huddled over patient conducting a procedure while two suspects tried to flee.
“Not only the two people who escaped were arrested [later] but those carrying out the procedure were caught red-handed,” he said,
Mumtaz claimed that the group allegedly had links with people from Punjab.
Officials recovered as many as four patients who were waiting to have their kidneys removed.
Samiullah, one of the patients who was undergoing a surgery at the facility, hailed from Afghanistan. Babar, another ‘donor’ was a resident of Nankana Sahib near Lahore. He added that patient Parveen was listed on the waiting list for surgery and donor Sabar was also a resident of Lahore.
The FIA official also produced a doctor, Dr Abdul Aziz, who used to conduct surgical procedures at the hospital and was arrested. Dr Aziz, who hails from Waziristan, used to be a trainee at the urology department of Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC).
He told the media that he would conduct routine surgeries at the facility. However, some people approached him offering an attractive package to conduct for kidney transplantation.
“I have been doing this [transplants] for some two weeks, however later I realised it was something illegal. I feel embarrassed for what I have done,” Dr Aziz told media.
Apart from Dr Aziz, nursing assistant Kamran – a resident of Hassanabdal, technician Farooq Ahmad – a resident of Mandi Bahauddin, technician Naveed Hameed – from Lahore, technician Muhammad Bilal -from Rawalpindi and driver Shahid Iqbal – from Islamabad, were arrested.
Samiullah was shifted to Peshawar for post-surgery care.
On the other hand, the HMC administration has clarified that Dr Aziz was not employed at the centre, rather was working as a trainee inducted by the Post Graduate Medical Institute at the Institute of Kidney Diseases (IKD) in Peshawar. Moreover, the hospital said that his private practice has nothing to do with IKD.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2017.