The wake of the Youm-e-Ishaq-e-Rasoool has turned into a slanging match between the Punjab and federal governments over the role of the Punjab police. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that members of the Punjab police were arrested by the Islamabad police when they arrived to protest on Friday. On this Mr Malik, talking to the media on Saturday at the Polyclinic, where he had gone to enquire after the health of police officers injured during the protests, said the policemen had been deputed by the Punjab government to make sure that the protests turned violent. At the same time, he also admitted that the policemen had been released by the Islamabad police as ‘belt brothers’ (fellow policeman). Mr Malik said that an enquiry was being conducted into why the releases occurred, and said there would be a judicial enquiry into this.Replying, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the allegation was totally baseless, and that the federal government had failed in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and other parts of the country to prevent rampages, or looting and killing incidents, and should avoid leveling baseless allegations against others. That would be good advice, if Rana Sana were to follow it himself as well. The purpose of Friday’s protests ought not be used, as Rana Sana seemed to be doing, to twit Mr Malik with the Supreme Court’s finding that he was not honest. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that some off-duty members of the Punjab police may have taken part in the protest, though Rana Sana is vehement in his denials. It should not be forgotten that policemen are also human, and members of a society, which turned out in hordes to protest something they found deeply offensive. If any Punjab policemen are identified by the federal enquiry, a thorough enquiry must be conducted into whether they in any way enabled the violence at the rallies. However, no enquiry should be allowed to become a witch hunt, nor should any favouritism be practised.Indeed, there is need for a national study for the events of Friday. From publication of cartoons in a French magazine, to advertisements equating Jihad to savagery on the New York metro, there is every likelihood of emotion continuing to spiral and the series of protests may continue. It is essential that government and ally parties instruct their members to refrain from issuing inflammatory statements for political point scoring, as evidenced by Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s effort to launch his reelection campaign, after a 4 year long failure of managing his portfolio, by placing a $100,000 bounty on the filmmaker’s head. In light of such further inflammation of sentiment, police forces have to be prepared, which they can only be by mining events like Friday’s for experience. Partisan objectives drive many decisions in Pakistan, but the consequences are borne by the average Pakistani and not by these sparring opponents who are fixated only on their short-term gains. If they must continue to play politics with people’s emotions, are they at least ready to come together to guarantee their physical security in the face of the violence this may inspire? It seems unlikely, but one can only hope.