That day brings back painful memories. The roll of tanks at the doorstep of the official residence of an elected Prime Minister is a horrible sound. I recall the sadness we all felt for Pakistan. I was concerned for the personal safety of my brother. I was concerned for our children. When we were young, our mother used say, “Izzat, Zillat, Zindagi, Maut, Rizq (honor, dishonor, life, death and food) are only controlled by God.”

We knew that things were not going well for our nascent democracy.

We knew there were elements that did not like the way Pakistan was poised for a take off but it’s human psyche, one likes to hope well. One likes to hope against hope.

I was the democratically elected Chief Minister of Pakistan’s largest province and my first term had just been truncated. This was like my dreams for Punjab being killed. I bled internally. I laid down the spade work to rebuild the province. We were on the runway to progress and our flight had been aborted. It was so frustrating.

People come and go, I’ve always been a ‘busy bee’ kind of a person, working, delivering, toiling. I’m very German that way! I got it from my father and I thank God for that, but then here I was, imprisoned, no work, nothing to do. I felt jobless. Looking back, it was nature’s strange way of making me live with my thoughts. Time became a friend, my solitude emerged as an ally. You see, it’s very hard to think politics in the immediate aftermath of a martial law. I was only thinking Pakistan.

Those were different times, different courts, mostly different people. In the grown up world everyone can’t be a friend and hence disappointments can only be from the people who are really close.

Big parties like PML-N are open tents. People from all over the map join, become allies, share dreams and then some leave. But there is a larger thing to such parties, they take a life of their own. People become their owners and make the leaders learn and evolve.

We evolved with the times, the people were our teachers as we navigated time.

The courts were lop sided, but then that’s how it was back then. The courts did what they were told to do. The political cases in them were like dark comedies, a farcical theatre that played its script out and was ultimately rejected.