Dubai : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari pledged to donate all his organs after his death during the signing of a landmark bill on Wednesday. The President signed the bill in a bid to regulate organ transplants in the country. The bill, which was unanimously passed by the country's National Assembly in November last year, became law after the signing of the document.
The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Bill was approved to honour Pakistan's iconic kidney transplant surgeon Dr Adeeb Rizvi, who had campaigned for such a law to stop the illegal practice of organ transplants — especially kidneys.
Among other things, the bill prohibits the sale of human organs to foreigners. The President took the bold step of citing the principles of the late Benazir Bhutto's principle of "living for others".
Pakistan was singled out in the world community due to the notorious trade of the organ transplant of body organs, Zardari said, he urged Parliament and doctors to create awareness about the issue among the masses.
"No law can be effective without people's support," the President said.
Pakistani community members in the UAE hailed the much-awaited law and said it was needed to stop the illegal trade of organs.
"We are thankful to the government for taking action on such an important issue," said Sardar Javed Yaqoob, president of the Overseas Human Rights Council of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for the Middle East.
He said the new law would stop exploitation of the poor who were lured into selling their kidneys to make money.
The new law, which now makes the sale and unauthorised transplant of body organs punishable with up to 10 years in prison, provides for a regulatory mechanism, including a high-level federal monitoring authority and evaluation committees, for the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes.
It prohibits the practice of their sale to foreigners, which gave Pakistan the reputation of a virtual kidney bazaar (market) where rich foreign patients could buy kidneys from poor people for transplantation at local kidney centres. The sale price for a kidney was as low as Dh500.
The new law will allow a voluntary organ or tissue donation by a living donor aged 18 or over to any other "genetically and legally related" person, who is a close relative with authorisation from an evaluation committee of specialists in the field helped by local notables to be set up for every medical institution and hospital where at least 25 transplants are carried out annually.