The tussle between former Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz and the federal government has reached the Islamabad High Court, which will now decide if he has been suspended on reasonable grounds. A PML-N member, Mr Aziz faces charges of corruption and misuse of authority, and his suspension was recommended by the Local Government Commission headed by PTI MNA Ali Nawaz Awan.

It is not hard to see why the matter would be politicised since it involves members of opposing political parties. The fact is that the federal government does have the legal authority to undertake necessary action against corruption. In doing so, it must ensure that its decisions are guided by merit and free of political considerations. The opposition will always claim political victimisation in such scenarios because that is a politically viable line to take. To ensure that such claims are not deemed credible by the public as well as the courts, the federal government should follow the law and act impartially to present a strong defence for its decisions.

In the new political disposition, the PTI and the PML-N are bound to find themselves in situations where its respective members must work with each other at the local government and provincial level. If the mood remains confrontational and divisive, it will ultimately hurt the public, which is counting on its representatives to rise above political interests and deliver solutions to their many problems.

There should be no arguing the fact that accountability is absolutely vital for any democracy to function. Pakistan has suffered much due to widespread corruption and poor governance. In this regard, the federal government should not shy away from making difficult decisions. However, the application of scrutiny and accountability should appear to be uniform. This will actually improve governance, and find support across a wide section of the general public.