It is not often that the outgoing head of a very important state institution admits his failure in fulfilling his mandate. We compliment Iqbal Mahmood, the departing chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, for admitting his disappointment and accepting the commission's inability to completely fulfil people's expectations regarding curbing corruption. Mahmood has also admitted that he was free from pressure from the government. If that was the case, may we ask why it was not possible for the ACC to fulfil its mandate? What were the factors that stood in the way of the ACC doing its job to meet people's expectations?
It may be pertinent to mention that the commission had formulated an action plan in 2016 for the years 2017-2021 and had expressed hope that if the commission, with support from all, remained truly committed to executing the action plan within the next five years, the road to developing the required level of capacity to combat, control and prevent corruption would be much easier and smoother. The outgoing ACC chairman's remorse suggests that that was not the case.
We believe it is imperative that the next chairman will delve deeply into the factors that have frustrated the efforts of the ACC to reduce the level of corruption, so that those could be mitigated. We also believe that the commission has a long arm and it must reach and grab every corrupt individual regardless of his or her party affiliation. We should remember that like terrorists, who have no religious identity, corrupt individuals also have no party identity. Like terrorism, corruption threatens the very fabric of the society and the country's economic security. In this regard, we cannot but take issue with him when he said that he had refrained from making any decision when he thought that it might tarnish the image of the country. We believe that no action that is designed to curb corruption can tarnish the image of the country. It cannot be a pleasant experience for the people to see the country's name repeatedly appear amongst the top few countries in the corruption perceptions index. And that, we believe, is what tarnishes the image of the country.
It is true that it is not possible for the ACC to rid the country of corruption all by itself. It has been ingrained in the system, and the worst-afflicted are the agencies and certain institutions of the state. The administration should play a supportive role to enable the commission to do its job. The society as a whole must also rise in unison to get rid of corruption. The government should play the part of the facilitator so that each segment's work can become a coherent effort towards achieving the final result.