The bell tolls, and another elected Prime Minister falls before the public can vote him out. For some, disqualification through legally sanctioned accountability marks the success of the democratic project. It wasn't a tank that came rolling into the capital, no state television buildings were scaled, no boots inside the PM house, no disgruntled bureaucrats. And yet, there is a strong argument to be made against sending a popularly elected Prime Minister home without enough evidence glaring us all in the face.

Evidence, evidence, evidence. That evidence is still lacking; it appears that what ultimately doomed the Prime Minister was an undeclared, untaken salary from a Gulf based company, legally still an asset, but technically, a bit of a loophole in the whole trial. The irony is not lost on the public; Nawaz Sharif has not been disqualified for the money he allegedly took and was accused of taking, but for the money he didn’t take from a position that revealed itself in the dying stages of the trial. The opposition certainly got Sharif, but it was definitely not how they expected to get him.

The Prime Minister and his family, admittedly failed at numerous occasions to provide adequate and consistent accounts of their financial dealings. Of this, there is no doubt. But with the burden of proof squarely on the opposition, do inconsistent accounts pass as enough proof, do they merit extreme action, do they merit the ultimate judgement? That is the question. As of now however, it is a question of the past.

The question today is, what next? Despite a jubilant opposition, economic indicators are looking tumultuous as the Karachi Stock Exchange swung dramatically, and political parties across the nation scrambled to define strategies and give out statements, and the bureaucracy braced for the coming reshuffle. The ripples of the decision extend well beyond our borders, as the international community gets ready to reorient itself with a new, and as of yet undecided, administration.

The opposition will care little for specifics or the near term results of their endeavours, as is expected of them at this time. In the days to come however, the opposition might begin to recognise that a dangerous precedent has been set that allows popularly elected Prime Ministers to be removed for not being “Sadiq and Ameen” – a term so vague that most Pakistani politicians would fall afoul of it.

How Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) reacts to all this remains to be seen; so far they have accepted the decision with reasonable dignity, to their credit. They remain the ruling party, with Nawaz Sharif and his family still under the shadow of the Panama allegations – now under the purview of the National Accountability Bureau – and a new Prime Minister nowhere in sight.

At this time, there is only one thing truly for certain. We must brace for uncertain times ahead, at least until the next election.