What needs to be understood, right at the outset, is that, contrary to the popular belief based on ignorance, the Taliban are not promoting Islam or Sharia (the Islamic Law) either in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. What they, in fact seek to establish in those two countries and later, if possible, also in the rest of the world is a Pashtun code of life called Pakhtunwali (the word Pashtun is also pronounced as Pakhtun in some parts of the relevant areas). Islam has been adopted as a part of the Code wherever it suited the Taliban. If, on any issue, there is a conflict between Islam and the Code, the latter prevails and not Islam. The writer knows it for a fact, as he belongs to the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan bordering on Afghanistan although he is not a Pashtun or Pakhtun. Shariah, being the law of Islam, is only a small part of the faith. It does not define Islam. Islam defines Shariah. It is a great mistake to equate the two, particularly to equate the Shariah, as interpreted by the Taliban, with Islam. Almost 95 percent of the population of Pakistan is Muslim. Yet the Taliban are quite popular in large parts of Pakistan. As a matter of fact, they are welcome not only in the NWFP but also in the Southern Punjab, and parts of Sindh and Balochistan. The reason is that they appeal to the basic needs and ignorance of the people. In fact they are out to remove the anomalies created by the successive governments of Pakistan by failing to adhere either to the constitution of the country or Islam. I do not mean to suggest that the constitution is exactly in accord with Islam. That, however, is a different debate and not quite relevant to the issue of Taliban. It is, however, the duty of every government in power to enforce and implement the constitution. The Pakistani governments failed in this behalf. For example, social justice, which is a requirement of the constitution, should have been the aim of every government. But much to the dismay of the common man, the Pakistani governments paid little attention to it. Even today they are not bothered. A large majority of the people are living below the poverty line while the rich can compete with the richest people in any country of the world. The same is true of legal justice. Justice, worth the name, is hardly available to any class in Pakistan. The influential people can get away with murder while only the poor has to face the law mostly without justification. The Taliban are offering, at least in the areas in Pakistan which are under their control, both social and legal justice according to their own concepts of 'justice'. What the governments failed to achieve by law in the sixty-two years of Pakistan's existence, the Taliban are achieving with the help of guns in a matter of weeks. They are killing the big landowners and distributing their lands among the poor tillers of the soil. They are giving dignity back to the under dog which is the right of every human being. Nay, they are in fact empowering the under dog. This is what the leaders of Pakistan should have done a long time ago. Their failure is in fact the strength of the Taliban. It is true the methods applied by the Taliban do not appeal to a modern mind because they are all unconstitutional and illegal. But they are the harsh substitutes for constitutional and legal means which the Pakistani governments failed to adopt. The Pakistani people, at least a majority of them, have no stake in the society of which they are a part and no stake in their own legal system. This explains the success of the Taliban at least in Pakistan. However the writer is not aware of the conditions in Afghanistan. Social justice is the keynote of a Muslim society. The second important aspect of such a society is the rule of law. A society, like the one in Pakistan, in which these two factors are missing has no right to complain against the fast spreading influence of the Taliban. Having been trained as a modern man, the writer is against one adult imposing his/her views on another adult unless so authorised. In a democratic society, the majority is so authorised. The majority operates through its representatives (Parliament in the case of Pakistan). But if the Parliament is not mindful of the plight of the underprivileged, the only way open to them is to side with the Taliban to seek revenge and improve their own lot if for nothing else. People rightly assert that the policies of the Taliban are mostly un-Islamic but those who do not establish social justice have no right to talk of Islam. Those who do not believe in the dignity of labour, have no right to take shelter under the name of Islam. Those who do not care to deal with their fellow beings justly do not even have the right to be called Muslims. The Taliban are "terribly" effective. They use terrible means to enforce their right or wrong orders. They are themselves the judge of right and wrong. All this does not appeal to a modern mind. But the fact remains that the members of the Pakistani society need terribly harsh means to enforce anything. They take pride in breaking the law (only a few noble exceptions apart) rather than observing it. In the matter of rectification, the Pakistani society is used to delaying things until it is too late. In the opinion of the writer, it is already too late to avoid the consequences, unless the army performs a miracle. The writer is a retired judge of the Lahore High Court