This was also Pakistan [ 5.1 ]

Rare photo of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, shaking hands with future Baloch nationalist leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, in Quetta, in 1948. In the 1950s and 1960s, Bugti became a critic of the state and joined Sindhi, Baloch, Bengali and Pashtun nationalists to oppose the government of Pakistan.
In the 1970s, however, he sided with the state and the populist government of Z. A. Bhutto during the third Balochistan insurgency against the government and the Pakistan Army and was made the Governor of Balochistan.
Twenty years later Bugti once again turned anti-state, and in the early 2000s helped revive an armed insurgency in Balochistan. He was eventually assassinated by the Pakistan military in 2006 in a missile attack.



by Nadeem F. Paracha


The Also Pakistan series was to conclude much earlier. But the kind of popular interest that it attracted from readers from within and outside Pakistan, prompted the making of a few more sequels of this photo feature.

It took more than two years to research and to compile this series. Hours were spent going through old newspapers and magazines tucked away safely in Dawn’s archives section. Politicians, sportsmen, artistes and friends were approached to share with us images that would capture the political and cultural zeitgeist of what Pakistan was like between 1947 and 1977.

A Pakistan that was a very different creature compared to what it started to mutate into from the 1980s onwards.

In this final installment of the Also Pakistan series, we share with you the last bits left in the arsenal of images that we were able to collect in the last couple of years.

Images of a strange, alien place that was also called Pakistan.

The Pakistan hockey team playing against Great Britain at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
Notice how a Pakistani player is sprinting across the field completely barefooted!
This 1956 Pakistan team that was desperately low on resources and money not only topped its qualifying group in Melbourne, but went on to reach the finals of the tournament where it was beaten by India 1-0 in a closely fought contest.

Famous Pakistani intellectual, novelist and playwright, Ashfaq Ahmad saying prayer at the grave of British Romantic poet, Percy Shelly, in 1955.
Ahmad started out as a progressive thinker and writer with a growing interest in Sufism. In the late 1960s he went on to endorse and support Z A. Bhutto’s ‘Islamic Socialism’.
In the 1970s during the Z A. Bhutto regime he further rose to become one of the most respected intellectuals and TV playwrights in the country.
Most of his plays of the period revolved around the underlying social tensions between the liberal zeitgeist of the time, the early populist Socialism of the Bhutto regime, and the conservative strain of Islam that had begun to assert itself from 1976 onwards.
By the early 1980s Ahmad grew out of his former progressive and quasi-socialist mould and moved close to the military dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq.
As a playwright he attempted to provide the reactionary dictatorship a more soulful face through his TV plays of the 1980s.
He was hosting a well-received show on the philosophy of Sufism on PTV when he passed away in 2004.

British fishing enthusiasts show off their big catch at one of Karachi’s many beaches.
This picture was taken in 1957 when these men (father and son) set a record of sorts by catching a 60 lbs Barracuda from the waters of the famous Sandspit beach of Karachi.
Today this beach is considered to be too polluted to support fish like the one seen in the picture.

A 1955 photograph of famous American painter and illustrator, Norman Rockwell, on a boat with a press photographer (right) and a Sindhi fisherman (left) at Karachi’s famous Kemari area.


Poster of Pakistan’s ‘first Socialist film’, Jago Hua Sawera.
The film was released in 1959 and was scripted by famous leftist intellectual and poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
The story revolved around the daily struggles of a poverty-stricken family of a fisherman. The film is sometimes also believed to be the region’s first ‘art film’.
Though critically acclaimed, the film was a box-office flop. However, it did win a gold medal at the 1959 Moscow Film Festival.
Its director, A. K. Kardar, also submitted it to be nominated in the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film category, but the submission was rejected. Kardar explained the rejection as a sign of Hollywood’s “ideological bias against art with Socialist content.”
Nevertheless, the film was finally screened in the US 40 years later at the New York Film Festival in 2008

People waving Pakistani and American flags from the balconies of their apartments at Karachi’s Burns Road as US President Dwight Eisenhower’s motorcade passes by during his visit to Pakistan in 1959.
From the 1970s onwards, Burns Road became famous for inexpensive restaurants serving delicious Pakistani food, but today it is one of the most congested and polluted areas in Karachi.
The apartment building seen in the photo is still there but in a much depleted condition. 

A 1961 poster published by the Tourism Board of Pakistan to attract western tourists to visit the capital city of the rugged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Peshawar.
Although the poster showed Pashtun tribesmen with rifles, they were not allowed to carry them in the city.
However, Pashtun men with colourfully painted fake guns (as shown in the poster) were hired by the government for the tourists’ amusement.
In the 1980s the guns became quite real during the US and Pakistan backed anti-Soviet ‘Afghan jihad’, and by the 1990s the tourists had all but disappeared.

The Queen of England, Elizabeth, riding with Pakistani head of state, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, in an open-top car through the streets of the Saddar in Karachi during her visit in 1961.
Both sides of the road were packed and lined by college and school students and thousands of onlookers.
Till the early 1960s Saddar was one of cleanest areas in Karachi. Between the late 1960s and early 1970s it was lined with bars, nightclubs and famous shopping spots and became the place to be for middle-class Karachiites looking for entertainment and shopping.
Today, however, Saddar has become one of the city’s most overcrowded and ragged areas; a sad shadow of its glorious past.
Karachi’s Christian community was also largely concentrated here, and Saddar still has some of the most magnificent churches in Karachi.

A 1962 photo showing Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of American President John F. Kennedy, disembarking from a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane at London’s Heathrow Airport and being greeted by the plane’s flying and cabin crew.
Ms. Kennedy went on record saying that PIA was one of her favourite airlines.

A mural painted by famous Pakistani painter, Sadequain, in 1961. In it the painter tried to capture the history of ancient Muslim philosophers, biologists, astrologers, mathematicians and chemists.
It was his homage to Muslim men of learning. It is said to be one of his finest and most ambitious works that was huge in both size and influence.

A Pakistani girl, Aqba (second from left), seen here celebrating Christmas with US President, John F. Kennedy and his family at the White House in 1961.
Aqba who belonged to a working-class Pakistani family that had managed to migrate from Pakistan’s Punjab province to the US city of Washington, lost Aqba for a while when the young and extremely bright girl ran away from home and ended up outside the White House.
She was taken in by the President’s family, gifted a dress (the one she is seen wearing in the picture), welcomed to celebrate Christmas with the President’s wife and children, and then softly persuaded to rejoin her struggling family.
No one quite knows exactly what happened to Aqba, even though some reports suggested that she went on to graduate in Law from a Washington college and stayed in the US while her family returned to Pakistan in the 1980s.

A group of fighter pilots of the Pakistan Air Force posing just hours before the start of the 1965 Pakistan-India war.
Some of these men never came back, while others were later sent to Libya, Jordan and Saudi Arabia (in the 1970s) to train the air force of these countries.
The 1965 war however ended in an awkward stalemate.
The Pakistan hockey team on its way to defeat India in the hockey semi-final of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Pakistan then went on to beat Australia in the final to win the hockey gold medal.

A telling image from Pakistan’s first horror and ‘X-Rated’ film, Zinda Lash (The Living Corpse) – a modern (and voluptuous) retelling of the story of vampires and Dracula in a Pakistani setting.
Released in 1967 the film became an instant box-office hit and was then repeatedly shown on the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) during its late Saturday night film slot.
It was released on DVD in 2002.

A 1966 photo of the beautiful Punjab University in Lahore. Notice the double-decker bus. Such buses were quite common in Lahore till the late 1960s.

British journalist, Tom Waghorn, seen here typing a report while sitting on the slopes of Torkhum near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in 1968.
Today this area is only ventured by violent Islamist militants and the Pakistan military. Even the local Pakistani Pashtuns fear to tread here, let alone Westerners.


Next: This was also Pakistan [ 5.2 ]

Page  1  2  3

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and

You might also like: 

1. Picturing Pakistan’s Past [in two parts] 2. Those were the days my friend [in three parts]
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5 replies to “This was also Pakistan [ 5.1 ]

  1. Paracha sb, nice to see you here! I really appreciate you for your writings on Sincerely. Ahmar Qureshi (

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