The Prime Minister’s office has given the go-ahead on the appointment of Dr Ishtaq A Malik as head of the Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) – a man that has been already found guilty of corruption worth Rs 1.8 billion by US courts. According to reports, Federal Minister for Health Saira Afzal Tarar and Principal Secretary to PM Fawad Ahmed Fawad were both directly involved in this appointment, which means that the questions must start from them.

HOTA is an institution that can save lives, or lose them, depending on who works for it. Someone who has been involved in mega-corruption scandals is obviously not suited to take the wheel. A person found guilty of making fake medical claims, makes it reasonable to assume that he might use his authority to grant organs to those that are lower on the list, or even deny them to those that need it most.

This appointment can only mean one of two things. Either the PM’s office is not aware that the person appointed is corrupt – which means there aren’t any proper screenings before appointments – or someone within was aware and made the appointment regardless.

To remedy this, the government must first cancel the appointment and choose someone more suited to the task. The bureaucratic set-up is already riddled with corruption, and doesn’t need another individual convicted of this in its ranks. The idea is to improve accountability and decrease corruption, instead of making things worse. A transparent inquiry must also be carried out – one that is impartial and actually manages to identify the person responsible for this appointment, instead of petering out mid-investigation due to a lack of results.

Maybe the government thinks that this institution is not as important as the others, and does not merit enough screening for those appointed; or it assumes that appointing a personal favourite might slip under the radar because HOTA’s work is not as prolific as those of many other governmental departments. This is not the case. Reversing this decision is paramount.