The ungainly sight of Maulana Fazal ur Rehman and his band of motley crew of soldiers might look like a comic sight, but in actual fact, it is no laughing matter. Maulana is no Robin Hood and his band of merry men, who have threatened to arrive on horseback, camelback or even donkeys, if need be, are a threat to be reckoned with as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Exploiting religion and using it for personal gains has been his mojo since long and he has become an expert in that field.

His following is large and can be mobilized easily.

When Imran Khan was riding his crest of popularity and aiming to come to power, by hook or by crook, many die-hard supporters and far-sighted people were against his tactics of mobilizing and encouraging street power, inciting civil disobedience and breaking laws to topple government.

PTI should have realized that in this age of media, every step and every word should be used with extreme caution as it goes into the archives and can be used as a tool by the opposition when the time is opportune.

New to power, Imran Khan dreamed to turn matters around with his sheer will and good intentions.

But politics is a dirty game where only good intentions do not run governments. It is unwise to make too many enemies and to antagonize them too much before you have consolidated yourself. It gives a reason to the opposition to join hands and attack like vultures to avenge the physical, emotional and verbal abuse that they have suffered.

It is human nature, after all.

Every word that PTI and its leaders used, every tactic that they applied to come to power , are now being used against them by none other than Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, a person known to be self-serving but who has a lot of clout and capability to mobilize street power . Whether the other political parties agree with his brand of politics or not, they are still rallying around him to create mischief for PTI.

The very same problems PTI created for them.

The chicken has come home to roost.

It is ironic to call Fazal ur Rehman a ‘Maulana’, a name used for Allah. In fact, he should be referred to as Maulvi instead of Maulana.

It is also ironic that he has already achieved much more success than he hoped for even before the march itself. Being perpetually in the limelight, all political parties toeing his line, whether they like it or not, calling the shots and raising the level of his demands, Maulvi Fazal Rehman is having a field day and certainly showing his muscle to PTI.

And PTI has now to counter him by coming out with out of the box solutions to thwart his intentions. They do not have the moral high ground to oppose Fazal ur Rehman ‘s tactics as he is doing exactly what they themselves had done.

During Imran Khan’s dharna of more than a hundred days, while PTI supporters and their leader would appear freshened up in the evening, the Tahir ul Qadri stragglers were there, lock stock and barrel, with wives and children in tow, roughing it out in the streets and dug in for the long haul.

The supporters of Maulvi Fazal ur Rehman are of the same stock. As long as they get free square meals, they will rough it out happily as they have nothing better to do.

The government must handle them with caution as it is a delicate situation and can turn ugly.

So as the dharna threat nears, PPP in general and PML-N in particular are throwing their weight behind and clutching at Fazal ur Rehman, who is stouter than a straw in this situation.

Though most people would rather bank on Imran Khan than Fazal ur Rehman, many are waiting with bated breath to see how these two face each other in the boxing ring.

Antagonizing them further or ridiculing them will be a mistake. They must be defused cleverly and sensibly.

The days ahead are going to be full of tension. Street politics of uncertain duration and intentions are extremely harmful for not only the government but for ordinary people who have to do mundane things like taking children to school, going to work or to hospitals. The face-off between the government and the protesters, harms no one more than ordinary people and the state itself.