Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, addresses a rally at Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum in Karachi in 1969. (Photo courtesy of eBay.)
The rally was held immediately after a protest movement led by leftist students; labour and journalist unions; political parties, including PPP and the National Awami Party (NAP), had forced Pakistan’s first military dictator Ayub Khan, to resign.
Construction of the mausoleum began in the early 1960s and was still underway when the rally was held. Wooden ladders and planks being used for construction purposes were acrobatically utilised by the crowd to gain vantage viewing points on the day of the rally.
THE FIRST THREE DECADES OF PAKISTAN’S HISTORY WERE BOOZE, BIKINI & TURBULENCE. YET HAD A MARKED ENVIRONMENT OF TOLERANCE OPENNESS. AND A CULTURALLY VIBRANT PAKISTAN
by Nadeem F. Paracha
It was an effort that with the help of painstakingly researched and collected images, tried to capture a Pakistan that now seems like a different planet compared to what it has been ever since the 1980s.
A strange, alien place that was also called Pakistan.
Legendary jazz saxophonist and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, visited Pakistan during his whirlwind tour of Asia and the Middle East in the early 1950s. Here, he is seen playing his sax with a Sindhi snake charmer at a public park in Karachi in 1954.
Famous Hollywood stars Ava Gardner and Stewart Granger arrive at Lahore Airport, 1954. The actors arrived in Lahore with a full filming crew to shoot a major portion of the film ‘Bhowani Junction.’
Ava Gardner shooting a scene at the Lahore Railway Station in 1954.
Pakistani fans and artistes gather around the main cast of Bhowani Junction on the film’s sets in Lahore.
Completed in the late 1950s, the building became an iconic structure on Karachi’s Abdullah Haroon Road.
Apart from having a busy visa section, it also housed a state-of-the-art projection hall and a widespread library, which was used by generations of Karachi’s school and college students before it was closed down in the late 1990s.
Easy to access across the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – the building was gradually barricaded and heavily fortified after the tragic September 11 episode in 2001. The visa section was moved to Islamabad, before returning to Karachi in 2012 (in a different building and compound).
This building faced at least four terrorist attacks between 2002 and 2006 and survived them all.
Though the US consulate has now moved to a different location in Karachi, the building still stands.
American tourists enjoy a camel ride at Karachi’s Clifton beach in 1960. [Video grab from a 1960 tourism promotional film made by Pan Am]
A series of apartment blocks, bungalows, fast-food joints and restaurants have sprung up in the area today – but no tourists, especially not the bikini-wearing kind.
A copy of famous spy novelist, Edward S. Arron’s 1962 book ‘Assignment Karachi.’
The book was one of the many he wrote that involved the adventures of CIA agent Sam Durell in various cities across the world.
This novel, which narrated the tale of Durell working with Pakistani authorities to capture Soviet-backed henchmen, became an instant best-seller in Pakistan.
However, in a quirky twist, some copies of this novel were set on fire by pro-Soviet leftist students during a demonstration (at the Karachi University) against Ayub Khan’s education policy in 1962.
A 1964 PIA press ad featuring famous Hollywood comedian and actor Bob Hope.
PIA was one of the first airlines in the world to introduce in-flight entertainment. It regularly featured in all the prestigious top-10-airline lists for over 20 years, before dropping out in the mid-1980s.
This is a 1967 press ad published in LIFE magazine for the American insurance company, Continental Insurance.
The number of American and British tourists visiting Pakistan began to grow from the early 1960s. The trend hit a peak in the late 1970s before starting to dwindle and peter out in the mid-1980s.
It (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) addresses those traveling to Karachi and getting injured during a ‘camel crash.’
A 1967 tourism poster for Karachi (printed by American airline Pan Am and used in Europe and the US).
A 1970 copy of a paperback version of the conspiratorial (and fictitious) book, ‘Protocols of Zion,’ printed in Pakistan in 1969.
The Protocols, a book describing a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, first appeared in Russia in 1903. It was written by an obscure Russian anti-Semite author (most probably as a novel), but was given a whole new angle and widespread publicity by anti-Semite American industrial tycoons like Henry Ford and then by the Nazi regime in Germany.
Though constantly debunked as a hoax and a farce, the book soon became popular among Arabs incensed by the creation of Israel in 1948.
The book was little known in Pakistan until the Saudi Arabian regime used Pakistani publishers to print it for the Saudi monarchy in 1969.
Millions of copies of the above-seen book were published between 1969 and 1976 in Pakistan. Most of them were shipped off to Arab countries. In fact late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia used to hand a copy to visitors. He was assassinated by his nephew in 1975.
Many copies also found their way back on the shelves in Pakistan’s book stores. Initially, they became popular with anti-US leftist students, but by the mid-1980s, the book had almost entirely been adopted by the religious right.
It is interesting to note that almost no copies were published in Pakistan after the assassination of King Faisal in 1975, but newer editions with additions made by certain ulema, religious parties and Islamists in Pakistan, have been appearing ever since the 1980s.
The book has also been influential on popular conspiracy theorists in present-day Pakistan.
Part of the cast and crew of Pakistan Television (PTV)’s 1970 play, ‘Shazori,’ at a reception given in their honour by Canada Dry beverages company.
Shakeel (third from left) became a heartthrob and sex symbol, being cast in a number of famous PTV plays as a hero throughout the 1970s. He also tried his luck in films but failed to gain the kind of popularity he enjoyed on television.
Today, in his sixties, he still appears on the mini-screen as a character actor.
A video grab from PTV’s groundbreaking coverage of the 1970 general elections.
Running consecutively for 48 hours, the 1970 election transmission was one of the first long duration live events telecast by PTV.
Seen in the picture is famous PTV anchor of the 1970s, Laeeq Ahmed, pointing at the number of seats (162) won by the Bengali nationalist party in former East Pakistan, the Awami League (AL).
In 1971 AL rebelled against the West Pakistan military establishment (for not giving it the democratic right to lead the new democratic regime as a majority party), and after a bloody civil war, East Pakistan broke away and became the independent Bengali republic of Bangladesh.
Notice how the host is holding a cigarette in his hand while discussing the election results. TV hosts commonly smoked on the air until the practice was discontinued in the early 1980s.
Newspaper ad (taken from DAWN’s 7 February, 1972 edition) announcing the arrival of a Lebanese belly dancer in Karachi.
Between the early 1960s and late 1970s, Karachi was dotted by a number of nightclubs that competed for clients by offering the best in-house pop bands, bars and professional belly dancers invited from cities like Beirut, Cairo, Tehran and Istanbul.
Nightclubs were ordered shut in 1977.
Two hippie tourists at a tea shop in Sibi, Balochistan, in 1972.
Today, traveling to a Baloch town like the one in the picture has become a no-go area even for Pakistanis! (Photo courtesy Rory McLane).
vibrant 1973 poster prepared and printed by the Pakistan Ministry of Tourism to attract tourism to the city of Lahore.
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