By Worthy News Asia Service reporting from Pakistan
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- An impoverished Pakistani Christian has been forced to sell his kidney to pay off a loan he took from his Muslim boss to finance his daughter's education, the father and Christians said Tuesday, May 11.
John Gill, a resident of Youhanabad area in Lahore, said he took a loan of Rupees 150,000 ($1,786) from employer Ghulam Mustafa in 2007. "I kept paying the installments every month from my salary, but after three years I got tired of paying the huge interests over the loan," Gill told BosNewsLife.
Mustafa said Gill owned him 400 percent interest over the loan. "I only offer 50 percent to Muslim employees," he added. The employer denied that he was getting monthly installments from his Christian worker, although Gill claimed to have papers of what he said were "monthly payments".
Mustafa confirmed that he took over Gill's home as he did not meet a two-week deadline for paying the outstanding interest over the loan. Gill said Mustafa also came last week with about five "armed men" and transported him to Ganga Ram hospital to sell his kidney. "They sold my kidney and said that they will come next month for the rest of the money."
There was no immediate confirmation from Ganga Ram hospital. However rights groups have complained that hundreds of rich foreigners come to Pakistan every year and buy kidneys from live, impoverished donors, such as Gill.
Kidney failure is increasingly common in rich countries, often because of obesity or hypertension, but a growing shortage of transplant organs has fueled a black market that exploits needy donors, such as Gill, and risks undermining voluntary donation schemes, according to Pakistan's Kidney Foundation.
Pakistani legislation aimed at curbing trafficking in human kidneys has not end a business that has turned the country into the world's "kidney bazaar," critics say.
Gill said he is trying to contact local Christian advocacy groups to help him recover and overcome his financial and spiritual difficulties. Christians are a minority in heavily Islamic Pakistan, and rights groups have complained about discrimination of Christian workers. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).