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Pak govt controls just 38% of Taliban-infested NWFP: Survey

Pak govt controls just 38% of Taliban-infested NWFP: Survey

Author: PTI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 14, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pakistan/Pak-govt-controls-just-38-of-Taliban-infested-NWFP-Survey/articleshow/4529921.cms

An estimated 65 lakh people live under "direct Taliban rule" in Pakistan's restive NWFP where authorities control only 38% of territory, says a new survey, warning that there is a "high likelihood" of increased influence of militants in Punjab also in the near future.

Just 27% of North West Frontier Province's 29 million people live in areas that are still under effective government control while 65 lakh live under "direct Taliban rule", BBC's Urdu service reported on the basis of research conducted over the past 18 months.

Nearly 15 million people live in areas where the Taliban have "established a permanent presence and developed the capability to take on the state machinery as and when they want," the report said.

President Asif Ali Zardari, however, rejected the findings, telling the British media network that it was an "incorrect survey". His comments came after his talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London on Wednesday.

Pakistani troops are currently fighting the Taliban in Buner, Dir and Swat districts of NWFP. The militants continue to control Mingora, the main city in Swat, and troops have been besieged at some places in the district for over eight days despite the launching of operations by the army.

BBC Urdu said its survey was based on local research, reports by correspondents and conversations with officials.

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