The rising violence close to the border with Afghanistan was one justification for the current emergency declared by General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president.
The Taliban are said to have taken control of public buildings, including
"I am very worried and angry - Musharraf should realise that we don't need him"
Avas, Islamabad, Pakistan
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Mawlana Mohammed Alem, a local Taliban leader told Al Jazeera: "We wish to provide security to the public, who can no longer tolerate the unjust prejudicial acts of the police.
"We wish to provide protection under the Islamic Sharia law.
"Banks face trouble transporting money, we are prepared to provide them with protection," he said.
Local residents say heavy-handed police tactics are one of the reasons Taliban support is growing.
"The police here commit atrocities against the residents and the law provides protection only for senior officers," one man told Al Jazeera.
"Taliban supporters have not caused us any harm; our electricity was cut and they managed to restore it in one hour," another said.
There are also reports that as the Taliban spread out from their traditional stronghold on the Afghan border, they are shutting girls' schools and setting fire to shops selling Western music in Swat.
Imitaz Gul, a political analyst in Islamabad, told Al Jazeera: "We have been getting calls from a number of people who are complaining about how these Taliban have terrorised them, despite the presence of the police and army.
"So the question is: Where is the state?"
In Islamabad, Benazir Bhutto vowed to go ahead with a planned rally next week to protest against the emergency rule.
In a show of defiance on Saturday, the former prime minister joined a small journalists' demonstration in the capital against media restrictions under the state of emergency.
"I have come here to express solidarity with you. I condemn these curbs," she said.
'Passion for liberty'
Jamil Soomro, a senior leader from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said that a long march from Lahore to Islamabad will take place next Tuesday.
|The former prime minister was defiant|
after her house arrest [AFP]
"On the 13th, it [the motorcade] will go ahead. If she's not there, the rally will still happen," Soomro said.
Later on Saturday, Bhutto was blocked by police from visiting Iftikhar Chaudry, the country's deposed chief justice, at his home where he has been confined since emergency rule was imposed
Addressing foreign diplomats at an evening meeting, she called for support to end the state of emergency imposed by Musharraf a week ago.
"Pakistan under dictatorship is a pressure cooker. Without a place to vent, the passion of our people for liberty threatens to explode," she said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's attorney general hinted at an early end to emergency rule.