The year-long saga is finally over; the administrative committee of the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed Judge Arshad Malik over the video scandal and allegations of being blackmailed into announcing politically-motivated verdicts. To see a state institution clean up its own house is always positive, because it means that the ability to look inwards and improve is being used in the right way.

However, by closing the book on the judge, LHC has only opened another series of questions surrounding the fate of Nawaz Sharif’s trial. All sides agree that releasing the judge was the right thing to do, but the verdict they question changes, depending on who is asked. For PML-N, it is the Al-Aziza reference that needs revisiting due to coercion—ruling PTI believes that the judge was blackmailed into throwing the Flagship reference instead. In all likelihood, both decisions will have to be revisited. There is precedent for this; in the 2001 Asif Ali Zardari appeal case.

The way forward can now only be determined by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). It can either deliver a verdict on the pending appeal of this decision based on the evidence in front of it—which would have been the course of action even without Judge Arshad Malik’s sacking—or it can remand the case back to an accountability court for a retrial. The latter choice would be less likely to be deemed unfair by all parties concerned, even though it takes us several steps back in the whole accountability process involving the former Prime Minister.

Things were not done the right way the last time, but this dismissal was the best course correction possible, under the circumstances. We must now wait patiently for the IHC to make its decision on which path to take.