Maryam Nawaz knew she was kicking a hornet’s nest, and now the hornets have come streaming out. The reaction to her allegations regarding the blackmailed judge has been swift and severe. Government officials, politicians, journalist, social media commentators and even the judge in question, Arshad Malik, have all come in droves to oppose the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader. Whatever hopes there had been of easing the tensions between the government and opposition to forge a functional state have vanished for the time being. Confrontation seems to be the only path forward.

This was apparent in the presser of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. She denied the veracity of the claims outright, called the allegations a “pack of lies”, called the video “a fake” which has been doctored by known media houses and vowed to conduct a detailed inquiry into the video and expose those behind the scandal. Following in the wake of this, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued notices to 21 TV channels for the “unedited live telecast” of the opposition party leader’s press conference in Lahore. The entire machinery of the state will seemingly be brought to bear to clamp down on this narrative.

While the notices to media channels are unwarranted and excessive – since the only did their job and reported the claims of a third party politician without bias or prejudice – the rest of the actions by the state are ones we would’ve expected. Fake, out of context or real, the nation is clamoring to know the truth behind the explosive allegations. The sooner the government carries out a transparent exercise of fact-finding the sooner this controversy can be put to bed.

And there is real need for transparency here. While Dr Awan may claim that the video is outright a fake, the judge himself has at least admitted to being the person on the video and having links with Nasir Butt; the PML-N “sympathiser” who was in the frame as well. He has rejected the contents and said that different parts of different speeches were conjoined to fabricate this video, but his presence in them still needs explaining.

As does his own fresh allegations, where he claimed that instead of being blackmailed into convicting Nawaz Sharif, he was in fact approached by case representatives of PML-N leader who, in his words “met me and tried to bribe me several times. They also threatened me for dire consequences if I do not cooperate”

His failure to report this fact during the trial brings up many questions as well.