It is ironic that a kidney had to be flown in from the Netherlands, as part of an international initiative for a patient in Karachi, at a time when Pakistan is one of the more thriving seller’s markets of kidney in Asia. In the absence of a cadaver law, a draft version of which has been gathering in the senate since 1992, the illegal organ trade has been gathering momentum at the cost of local transplant seekers.

Those burdened by financial problems have been selling their kidneys to well off Pakistanis and foreigners. It is about time Pakistan’s lawmakers took stringent measures to curb commercial sale of human organs. There are of course middlemen involved in this illicit trade, and unscrupulous doctors too, stand to profit from such transaction. The consequences for the largely poverty, stricken donors, many of whom sell one of their kidneys in order to pay the debts incurred by them, can’t be imagined.

If cadaver laws are in place, the market demand would go down and doctors and middlemen, facing possible imprisonment or heavy fines, would think twice before including in exploitative practices. As for the religious aspect of cadaver donations, one can take heart from the fact that there are Muslim countries, where this has been legalized on the authority of religious scholars. The Government should enlist the help of religious leader in promoting the idea of cadaver donation.


Karachi, May 14.