The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday decided to remove accountability judge Arshad Malik from his post after a controversy revolving around the ‘leaked’ video tape of the judicial officer.

All parties would agree that the removal of the judge was unavoidable. In his affidavit submitted to the IHC chief justice, judge Malik claimed that he was offered bribes by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) cohorts, which by law he was obliged to immediately report, and was forced to meet Nawaz Sharif, an occurrence that is illegal for a sitting judge of a case to do. Anyhow, the leaked video had generated too much negative attention to be ignored by the higher courts and there was no choice but to temporarily remove Malik. Any cases being looked over by the judge would also become tainted by the controversy. Until the facts are established and an enquiry held, it is best to avoid keeping him in the accountability courts since it would cause needless distrust in the justice system.

However, the story of the video is far from over. The allegations against Malik have proved the fuel for Maryam Nawaz to hold no punches against the government. PML-N now is calling with full force for the case against Nawaz Sharif to be dismissed; yet the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is also doubling down completely against releasing Nawaz; an accusatory tweet of Imran Khan calling the Nawaz family a mafia received an antagonistic tweet in response by Maryam Nawaz; this exchange perhaps perfectly encapsulates the sad state of politics today, and the entangled mess this accountability case has become.

Despite the bravado on Twitter, neither political side came out of it covered in glory. PML-N received bravery points but this case has also damaged their credibility as making covert videos of people is exactly what they were complaining had led to the conviction in the first place. The allegations of the judge that PML-N leaders and Sharif family members were bribing him may also not bode well for the party. PTI has also conducted itself with little humility in the cases against Sharif, and naturally the allegations the video implies, true or not, will shed some doubt upon the accountability drive the government is so keen on pursuing.

Ultimately, the say is with the Judiciary. The higher judiciary will show the way and the first appropriate step was to remove the judge from the present cases.