This was also Pakistan [4.1]

A 1951 brochure of a Pakistani company (based in Sialkot) specialising in the making of musical instruments from wood and cow skin. Sialkot is still famous around the world for its quality sporting products (especially cricket bats, hockey sticks and footballs), but for many years it was also one of the top producers and exporters of music instruments. Many western pop and jazz musicians used drums made in Sialkot across the 1950s and 1960s. 




by Nadeem F. Paracha


Starting with “Those were the Days….” which formed the first part of this series, we took you down the memory lane to those years of Pakistan’s history (here, here, and here), and then to the second part. Titled under “Picturing Pakistan’s Past”, we brought some more scenes, more news and still some more happenings of the period from the early 1950s to the end of the 1970s (here, and here). This was followed by yet another part, the third one titled “This was also Pakistan” (here and here).

And finally, as author of this photo series says, 
Also Pakistan series was supposed to conclude with the third installment of this bitter-sweet exercise in nostalgia.

But we have decided to return with yet another installment of Also Pakistan, not only due to its immense popularity among those who experienced a very different Pakistan between 1947 and 1979, but also among young Pakistanis who were not even born between the mentioned years and were pleasantly surprised to see (through this series) a Pakistan that had nothing (or very little) to do with images of angry men and women burning flags and buildings, blowing up mosques and markets and dragging a once highly promising, diverse and vibrant country into an abyss where only isolation, mistrust and fear thrive.

This series remains to be part of a concentrated effort and painstaking research 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.


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The interior of a Jewish synagogue that was situated in Karachi’s Ranchore Lines area.  The synagogue was regularly frequented by a small Jew community that resided in the city but migrated to the US and Israel, soon after Karachi became part of Pakistan, even though the synagogue was never attacked nor damaged.

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Liquat Ali Khan (left), having a chat with famous Hollywood actor and star James Stewart (second from left) in Lahore (1951). Also seen in the picture is Pakistani Premier’s wife, Begum Liaquat. Liquat was assassinated the same year in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

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Pushtun tribesmen with drums (dhol) and other traditional instruments lead a marriage ceremony and play their way through a crowded street of Peshawar in 1952.

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The brilliant (and provocative) Pakistani short-story writer, Sa’adat Manto (right) seen with his family outside his residence in Lahore (in 1953).
Hailed as being perhaps the sharpest and most insightful Urdu short-story writer in the region, Manto, struggled with poverty and alcoholism in the face of the hostile reception his work got from the country’s conservative and religious sections.
He was accused of promoting ‘obscenity’ and even taken to court for this by some of Pakistan’s Islamic parties. Manto died young at the age of 42 due to liver failure in 1955.

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Hussain S. Suhrawardy, arrives to head a cabinet meeting in Karachi in a cowboy hat (1956).

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Pakistani sprinter, Abdul Khalique (left), on his way to winning Pakistan’s first international gold medal in athletics. He won this honour in the 1959 Commonwealth Games in the 100 meters dash.

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Visiting American President, Dwight Eisenhower, being introduced to the Pakistan cricket team at Karachi’s National Stadium in 1959. Eisenhower arrived with Pakistani head of state, Ayub Khan, to watch the first session of a Pakistan vs. Australia cricket Test match.

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Visiting American President, Eisenhower, travels in an open-top horse buggy with Pakistani President, Ayub Khan, through the streets of Karachi, cheered by a large crowd. He then addressed the crowd at the city’s Jinnah Ground (then known as Polo Ground).

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A 1960 introductory brochure announcing the founding of a Methodist church in Karachi’s Garden Road area. The brochure contained information in English, as well as Urdu.

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American and Pakistani models exhibit saris made in Pakistan during a 1961 Import/Export festival in the US. Along with India, Pakistan was one of the leading designers, makers and exporters of saris. It was also the preferred choice of urban middle and upper-middle-class women of the country till about the late 1970s and worn by them during festivals like weddings, parties and even Eid.

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Pakistani stage actor (and later TV personality), Zia Mohiuddin, seen here in a British TV series, ‘The Adventures of Sir Francis Drake’ (1962). In Pakistan, Zia became hugely popular with a stage show (for Pakistan Television [PTV]), the ‘Zia Mohiuddin Show’ (1970-72). He went on to act in various British and American TV series and films and then once again found fame in Pakistan as a brilliant reciter of the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib.

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Visiting American Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, stops to meet a camel driver in Karachi in 1962. During the spontaneous conversation, Johnson invited the camel man (Bashir Ahmed) to visit the United States. In 1962 the American government funded Bashir’s trip to the US. Bashir was soon taken to Johnson’s private ranch in Texas. The US government then financed Bashir’s trip to Mecca (to perform Umra)..

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Famous American mystic, Samuel Lewis, seen here with the keepers of the Sufi saint, Data Ganj Baksh’s shrine in Lahore (1962).

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A 1963 press ad of Pakistani airlines, PIA. As mentioned in previous ‘Also Pakistan’ features, PIA, between 1962 and 1980, was considered to be one of the top 10 airlines in the world, having one of the best in-flight entertainment facilities.
The above ad highlights the airline’s in-flight entertainment facilities as PIA was actually the first airline in the world to start showing Hollywood movies during flights.

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A 1964 PIA in-flight information card informing its clients that the alcoholic beverages on the plane will cost tourists a bit more than the locals.
Serving alcohol on PIA was banned by the government in 1977.

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A 1965 vinyl recording of the song ‘Karachi’ written and performed by popular American jazz ensemble, Maurice Miller Trio.

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In 1967, a group of Pakistani high school kids designed the above-seen car all on their own. Dubbed as ‘The first car made in Pakistan,’ the car soon vanished from the country’s memory but the students all ended up getting scholarships to prestigious American engineering universities.

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A Pakistani minister meeting a visiting American football team before a match in Karachi (1968). The team played three matches against the Pakistan team, winning two and losing one.

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A 1968 press ad of Coca-Cola. This ad also appeared in American newspapers.

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PPP chairman, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, gestures being handcuffed by the police during an anti-Ayub Khan rally in Karachi held by left-wing student organisations (1968). Ayub resigned in 1969.

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A vintage 1969 coaster of Pakistani beer brand, Murree. This particular coaster is from the bar at Karachi’s Excelsior Club that was situated in the Saddar area but forced to close down in 1977.

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A special stamp was issued by the government to celebrate the winning of a gold medal by the Pakistan hockey team in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

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 A cop beats up a student during an anti-Ayub rally in Karachi organised by leftist student organisations (1969).

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A 1970 photo of famous Pakistani leftist leader and firebrand, Abdul Hamid Bhashani (also known as Maulana Bhashani). Bhashani, a Bengali, was one of the founders of Pakistan’s first large leftist party the National Awami Party (NAP), that he formed with progressive and Marxist Mohajirs, Sindhi nationalist, GM Syed, Baloch nationalist, Ghaus B. Bezinjo, and Pushtun nationalist, Bacha Khan.
Though a devout Muslim, Bhashani was fiercely leftist in his politics and a great supporter of Chinese communism. In 1968 he broke away from NAP’s pro-Soviet leaders, Bezinjo and Wali Khan (who formed NAP-Wali), and formed his own faction, NAP-Bhashani. After the break-up of Pakistan in 1971, Bhashani moved to the newly formed Bangladesh. He died in 1976.


Next: This was also Pakistan [4.2]

Page  2 


You might also like: 

This was also Pakistan [ 3.1 ],  This was also Pakistan [ 3.2 ]Picturing Pakistan’s Past, [2.1] Picturing Pakistan’s Past, [ 2.2 ] Those were the days my friend [1.1]Once Upon A Time in Pakistan…[1.2 ]Once Upon A Time in Pakistan… [1.3 ]
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