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EDITORIAL: There is enough noise to suggest that the gang of kidney sellers busted by Lahore police the other day was just the tip of the iceberg. And now that authorities have smashed at least one pocket of this illegal racket, it is up to them to gather necessary evidence to identify the big fish that run it and unravel their whole network.

Such crimes tend to occur in poor societies where it is very easy for unscrupulous elements to prey upon suffering people desperate for quick cash. But those behind such things are only able to get away with them because of incompetence or, worse, collusion on the part of the police force.

This particular case, too, would have remained hidden from the law had the kidney sellers not tried to swindle one individual out of the payment, of Rs200,000, owed to him for his kidney.

Such things have cropped up time and again, but only to disappear from the public consciousness once they faded from the headlines. And there’s still a big question mark on whether or not it will be followed through properly this time.

No doubt the police will also investigate how such thieves and smugglers are able to hide from authorities for so long. And that is most likely when investigators will discover the link with the law, so to speak, that provides them protection.

That is why some authority higher than the police force, preferably the provincial government itself, should call the shots on this one.

For, if some link is indeed found, it will be crucial to impart necessary punishment, in keeping with the law, to dismantle all such enterprises that are operating in the country and deter anybody from going down the same route in future.

Over the longer term, the factors most responsible for this state of affairs are our ridiculously high population growth and poverty rates; and how one feeds the other. Yet that is precisely when the police needs to be on its toes.

Because wherever there is overpopulation and rampant poverty there will always be those that are ready to take advantage of it and crime will also, without fail, rise. And along with exploitation of an unassuming public, the black economy is also bloated, causing further harm to the state and the exchequer.

That is why the government must ultimately be held responsible for all such things. And as the police goes about its duties, the state must also erect a narrative; one which encourages citizens to come forward when they are being wronged like this.

Just like in this case, where someone who was not paid for his kidney blew the lid off the whole charade, crime will become a lot easier to control if more people cooperate. Yet while that is for the state to work out, it does not absolve the police force of its duties, which include crime prevention as much as controlling it.

It’s a shame that crimes like child abuse and organ smuggling are always on the rise in this Islamic republic.

This is a severe indictment of the state and its law enforcement agencies. Therefore, along with cracking down on all the criminals, something must also be done about all those people who are entrusted with keeping people safe yet are always asleep at the wheel.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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