The disgraceful act of men pinning down and mercilessly flogging a helpless woman screaming for mercy with a crowd of men looking on has shocked us all. This is not only the grossest violation of human rights, and contrary to law and constitution of Pakistan but also against basic fundamental principles of Islam, a religion which in fact fought for dignity and respect of all mankind, and women in particular. What this video has brought home to us all is that, apart from terrorism, there is another clear and present danger which is threatening to tear away Pakistani way of life and that is Talibanisation of our society. This phenomenon is rapidly spreading its tentacles throughout Pakistan and we have been sleeping over it for too long. I have been repeatedly writing that all political parties need to closely examine the situation in Swat and determine whether the policy of entering into an Accord with Sufi Muhammad and the like is a correct approach to stop the invasion of Talibanisation or is it in fact an encouragement to every group within the country to resort to violence, and then obtain a part of Pakistan's territory through an agreement with government. Talibanisation according to Churchill was present in the northern areas of Pakistan as far back as late 1800s, but we first came face to face with their barbaric acts when stories about militants closing down girls' schools and prohibiting women from walking out of their houses began to pour in from Afghanistan in 1990s. At that time they seemed very far away, and while we condemned them from afar, we felt comfortable in the thought that it will never happen in Pakistan. History of Talibanisation in Afghanistan is quite similar to what is happening in Pakistan. Talibans first started to impose their brand of Shariah and began to carry out dispensation of punishments, including public floggings in remote areas of Afghanistan, but soon took over and started ruling the country from Kabul. What was happening in Afghanistan years ago, started in Pakistan sometime ago but struck us yesterday. What started from Afghanistan seems to have incubated in Pakistan's northern areas, and now the germ has invaded Swat, only a few hundred miles from Islamabad. If we can tolerate a Pakistani woman living in Swat to be so publicly humiliated and beaten, and if we let the people involved get away with it, then only God can help us because soon every mother, wife, sister and daughter (and men) in Pakistan will be facing the same possibility anywhere in the country. This, my fellow country persons, is the time to stand up, unite and send a clear message to our leaders that they have to take action on our behalf. Each judge of the apex court is bound to uphold the constitution which includes the obligation to protect fundamental rights of every Pakistani citizen. If ever there was a fit case for enforcement of human rights then this is it and this is 'now'. The good thing is that the Supreme Court has taken suo moto action. What I hope is that the 8-member bench which has been constituted would not treat this as a mere procedural case to be placed in the record rooms of the Supreme Court building but take action by immediately directing the provincial governments to bring everyone involved to justice and face the full wrath of law. Prompt action by the court will certainly be welcomed but the ultimate solution is political. A Q Khan has been declared a free man, chief justice has been restored to his rightful place, Shahbaz Sharif has been reinstated as the chief minister and the political parties are attempting reconciliation. All this is good but not enough to stop the spread of Talibanisation. The chief minister of NWFP has recently acknowledged publicly that NWFP is in a state of war and has indicated that it might well be a losing war if the country does not come to its aid. I recently attended a function in which the Governor of NWFP, who has also been a Governor of Balochistan, frankly conceded that Talibans who the government has to deal with are not Pathans who believe in traditions and have established rules and principles, but are aliens who do not accept any way of life but their own. The governor indicated that there is no rational way of dealing with these persons except under a wider policy. The ball is now clearly in the court of the politicians. It is indeed their last chance because I do not see another innings for anyone unless every political party collectively gets united to meet these challenges of terrorism and Talibanisation. It will not be easy to combat this threat. It is said that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children and in the case of Pakistan it seems to be true. We are suffering for decisions made by our previous governments. Pakistan wholeheartedly embraced the Afghan War without fully appreciating the consequences. At that time the entire anti-USSR world joined hands and propagated the concept of jihad. CIA in collaboration with intelligence agencies of the world and Pakistan converted madrassahs (which before this were schools of religious education) into institutions that provided ready recruits to fight against Russian infidels. Home made and foreign so-called religious leaders who could raise "hell-fire" in the hearts of men were allowed to roam around in the country to swell the ranks of the people fighting in Afghanistan. Policy of using religion to fight the war was particularly successful given that the peoples' understanding of Islam was and is still limited. Population relied on the so-called religious experts to tell them what is and is not the Shariah. Unlimited money was of course pumped into the system and this resulted in many independent groups with their own religious heads mushrooming all over the country. The war was won and eventually USSR collapsed. Capitalism triumphed and the West left Pakistan and Afghanistan on their own. Afghanistan was taken over by Talibans and Pakistan, which had to deal with millions of Afghan refugees, carried on the policy of supporting them. Simultaneously successive Pakistan totally ignored that the religious groups left over after the Afghan War and existing in many parts of the country were becoming more and more powerful. Since then not only terrorist acts in Pakistan have increased tenfold but Talibans have become powerful and influential. One of the key factors which has contributed to their success, apart from the weakness of our government, has been the negative impact of globalisation. Many in the West and in Pakistan believe that globalisation means unity not just in economic policies but standardisation in religion and culture. Many also are apologetic about Islam and feel that it stops Pakistan from fully integrating with the Western world. All those who fear the influence of West upon their culture and religion and want to maintain their identity in the face of globalisation necessarily rely on Islam. Pakistan has not, except for a few involved in their individual capacity, provided an opportunity for people to be able to understand and apply the true principles of Islam. At the same time we have for far too long allowed Islam to be interpreted by people who are misusing religion to achieve their own ends. Since the populations' knowledge of Islam is limited and reliance for this is upon self-proclaimed religious experts, Talibans successfully have been able to brainwash people that the brand of religion which they are propagating is the real one. There is no one in their midst who can tell them that the kind of things which we witnessed on the video are the practices which were prevailing before the dawn of Islam and have been prohibited and abhorred by Islam. One of the ways in which the threat of Talibanisation has to be tackled is education and madrassahs, schools, colleges and universities to propagate the true teachings of Islam. I firmly believe that simply reciting the Holy Quran without understanding its meaning is not sufficient. Religious teachings must compulsorily be in translation form. Similarly religious teachers must be licensed because wrong information in the hands of wrong people is dangerous, and in the case of Talibans, has proved to be so. At the same time no one, not the courts nor the civil society or any politician, should use this opportunity or issue to be anti-government or a point scoring exercise. This is the time when the people should come out in favour of the government and support it fully to apply the writ of law, at whatever cost, and punish those responsible irrespective of consequences. This indeed is the will of the people. The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail: ali@mandviwallaandzafar.com