The Ayesha Gulalai controversy has spiralled out of control; misinformation and unsubstantiated rumours are abound and the original parties to the problem seem to have lost control of their own narratives. More troubling is the level of vehemence that has seeped into this discussion; social media – which rarely holds to any standard of decency – is even more vitriolic than usual, and even prominent political leaders and mainstream media anchors are failing to keep their malice in check.

In times like these it is necessary for everybody to step back from the heated debate and appraise the situation anew with level-headedness and reason.

There are two things that all stakeholders need to agree to. Firstly, that the allegations made by Ayesha Gulalai are serious ones; sexual harassment and a pattern of misogyny with impunity in one of the nation’s largest parties is a problem that needs to be investigated and resolved. Secondly, there is an obvious political angle to the whole episode that cannot be denied. This does not mean that the allegations are fabricated or born out of a conspiracy, only that the timing and the impact of the allegations have given the opponents of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf a lot of material to work with. In an ideal world, allegations such as these would be investigated independently, but now they are part and parcel of the Panama case, the disqualification of the Prime Minister and its aftermath.

With that in mind we can proceed to the only logical conclusion – an investigation. If there is proof, of either sexual harassment or conspiracy, it will come forward. In the meantime, this vicious media trial must stop; nothing can be gained from character assassinations of either Ayesha Gulalai and Imran Khan, and certainly nothing from those of their relatives. Violent proclamations, such as the ones demanding that Ms Gulalai’s house be demolished if she is proven false, only add fuel to the fire, and are incidentally illegal as well. Let reason prevail.