terror in delhi 10/29
Friday, February 17, 2006
  Pakistan Protest Update

via the Christian Science Monitor:

But youthful discontent alone cannot be blamed, religious leaders and other analysts are quick to point out. Both on and off the record, many say the involvement of state intelligence agencies in fomenting the violence cannot be discounted. The current administration, some argue, is trying to spread panic about religious extremists in a bid to hold on to power.

"Maybe [President Pervez] Musharraf is trying to create a situation where he says to [US President George] Bush, 'Look, I'm sitting on dynamite with these mullahs and I'm the only one who can contain them,' " says Zarafullah Khan, director of the Center for Civic Education in Islamabad.

There is no proof of such activity, but observers say a weak police response is suggestive of state approval. The police in Lahore have been widely criticized for their failure to quell the violence, with many saying police did little to intervene. Mian Ameer Mahmood, the district nazim of Lahore, roughly equivalent to a mayor, denied the accusations: "I am on the record that police were not present at the time when people were burning buildings."

Such a tepid response contrasts sharply with last month's controversial marathon in Lahore, observers say, where thousands of police were deployed to prevent disruptions. It also contrasts with reports of armed troops stationed on rooftops and roadsides of Karachi Thursday, where 50,000 demonstrators rallied peacefully against the cartoons.

Related post: An Orchestrated Protest.

Cynical Nerd,

I must commend you on your proactive analysis. I confess that I did not quite buy your theory that Musharraf was using the anti-cartoon riots as a means to leverage greater levels of American assistance. It now looks however that more analysts are coming around to your interpretation of events. And you folks might be right in retrospect.

Heh, thanks. Past incidents show that this is way Pakistan's 'core corps commanders' run the country.
CN: you're most likely right. All Mushy wanted was some American flag burning and some slogan shouting. Seems to have got more than he bargained for though.
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