Islamists in Pakistan's Northwestern Frontier province have tabled legislation this week which rights groups fear could lead to the 'Talebanisation' of the region. The proposed 'Hasba' accountability law that envisages 'reforming the society in line with the Islamic teachings'' threatens to have far-reaching effects on the growing struggle between the country's fundamentalist and moderate groups. Introduced by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six major religious parties, Hasba would make sharia Islamic teachings the governing law and appoint a religious cleric as ombudsman with wide-ranging powers to enforce the proposed law. Under the plan, the ombudsman will have police to monitor adherence to religion in public places and take steps to discourage un-Islamic practices by force. The ombudsman will also be empowered to hold government officials accountable. Anyone disobeying his orders could face charges under the new law. The move has drawn strong criticism from opposition parties and human rights groups, which say the law's implementation would curtail basic civil liberties. 'It is against the constitution, violates the fundamental human rights of citizens, and is a recipe for polarising the society that will push the people back to the dark ages,' said Afrasiab Khattak, former president of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission. Since gaining control of the province on a pro-Taleban platform three years ago, MMA has banned music on public transport, torn down advertising billboards featuring women and stopped male doctors from treating female patients. The group is vehemently opposed to the United States-led anti-terrorism campaign in neighbouring Afghanistan and has pledged to bring 'true Islam' to Pakistan. The growing strength of the religious alliance has rung alarm bells among moderate Pakistanis and cast doubts on President Pervez Musharraf's efforts to promote moderate Islam. 'This will lead to the Talebanisation of the whole country,' said Mr Khattak. Leading opposition parties have vowed to challenge the law in courts and launch a nationwide protest campaign.