The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

26 July
Comments Off on Welcome To The Organ Bazaar – Lahore, Kidney Capital Of The World…

Welcome To The Organ Bazaar – Lahore, Kidney Capital Of The World…

Just a few days ago in the Pakistan city of Lahore Muhammad Riaz was feeling very depressed. A very friendly and concerned stranger asked him why he was so unhappy. Mr Riaz told him that with no regular income he was desperate for money.

Don’t worry, the man said, I can fix you up with 110,000 Rupees (about £800) by this evening – and all you have to do is sell one of your kidneys to a wealthy Arab. He is ill, but your kidney will save him, you will still have your other kidney plus about four times what you could earn in a year by doing various odd jobs.

To Mr Riaz that was an almost unimaginable sum of money so he followed the man to a house in Street No 6 Block-A of Al-Faisal Town where he was told to lie down on a stretcher while a doctor made preparations for the transplant operation.

But Mr Riaz began to have second thoughts and, just as the doctor was about to inject him he broke free, ran out of the house and sought assistance from passers –by.

Such were the details presented by police to a magistrate who decided there was a case to answer and remanded two doctors and five other men in custody for further investigation. One of the doctors, however, was not very happy. He said the house was not used for organ transplants but merely as a free clinic for poor people. Moreover he claimed that he was beaten up by one of the police officers and told that if he passed over R700,000 the case would be “forgotten”

Who was telling the truth? Police in Pakistan, like police in many other countries, are not averse to a bit of intimidation and bribery. But Lahore has become a major organ bazaar as thousands of poverty stricken locals are driven to sell bits of their bodies to keep the rest of themselves alive – and there is no shortage of customers for these body parts from wealthy families in every continent. Waiting for a legal above board donation can be frustrating and in countries like China, Egypt and Pakistan there is a ready made medical mafia willing and eager to trouser big bucks for no questions asked medical procedures.

Charging the patient £20,000 and paying the “donor” £800 certainly equals a juicy profit margin though part of that might have to be passed to corrupt police officers – the traffic was recently made illegal after a public hue and cry. However passing a law in Pakistan does not guarantee enforcement in what many believe to be a failing state.

The donors are, like Mr Riaz, from the poorest levels of society – usually Punjabi bonded labourers faced with a lifetime of debt. Just as with the drugs cartels in Mexico whenever there is a demand there will always be supply.

And of course there is always a more chilling dimension to the supply side. A donor can survive with only one kidney but there is also a demand for transplanting other organs – and a child with no family could offer a rich harvest for ruthless and greedy criminals with no soul…..

H/T to Pakistan press: Dawn, Express Tribune, Daily Times

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