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.