Taliban militants in Pakistan’s Swat valley have moved into another district in a bid to broaden their control despite a peace deal, officials said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of armed Taliban have entered Buner district, only 110 kilometres from the capital Islamabad.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari earlier this month approved a deal to establish shariat courts in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Despite that accord, wahich was designed to end bitter unrest, the Taliban have not yet disarmed and are trying to exert control over the area.
“The Taliban who have arrived from Swat have increased patrolling, banned music in public transport and rampaged (through the) offices of NGOs and taken their vehicles,” local government official Rashid Khan said.
“Militants armed with rocket launchers were manning the checkpoints and operating from local mosques,” he said, added that a report had been filed at a local police station against “unknown militants.”
NWFP's information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government had fulfilled its promises in Malakand, “and the Taliban must lay down their arms.”
“The militants' activities in Buner are in violation of the peace accord. After the agreement there is no justification to take up arms,” Hussain said, although he played down reports the Taliban had taken over the district.