This was also Pakistan [ 5.2 ]

European ‘Earthwalkers’ in Islamabad, 1973. They had arrived in the Pakistan capital to raise awareness about environmental issues.



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.

Pakistani Test cricketer, Aftab Gul (third from left) and a friend (right) chatting with a couple of policemen during the Pakistan cricket team’s tour of England in 1971.
Gul was a highly talented opening batsman and should have represented Pakistan in a lot more Tests than the six he played between 1969 and 1971. It was not his talent that restricted him from becoming a regular in the team. It was rather his erratic temperament and issues of anger management that limited his playing career.
Gul was a fiery left-wing student leader and had led various student protest rallies against the Ayub Khan dictatorship in 1968. But throughout his stint as a student leader and agitator, he continued to play cricket and was selected for the Pakistan side in 1969.
In spite of the fact that he scored heavily in his last series against England in 1971, he lost interest and began studying to become a lawyer.
Gul was also a passionate supporter of Z A. Bhutto and his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). This was something rather common in the Pakistan cricket teams of the 1970s in which such illustrious players like Mushtaq Muhammad, Sarfraz Nawaz, Intikhab Alam and Javed Miandad were staunch Bhutto fans.
Gul returned to political activism in 1977 when the Bhutto regime was overthrown by Ziaul Haq in a military coup. In 1980, Gul was accused by the dictatorship for allegedly being a member of Murtaza Bhutto’s left-wing urban guerrilla outfit, the Al-Zulfikar (AZO).
Police claimed to have found Russian-made missiles from Gul’s residence in Lahore. Gul escaped to London and stayed there in exile, only returning after Zia’s demise in 1988.
Today he is a barrister in Lahore.

Bodies of Bengali intellectuals, teachers, journalists and students lying in a ditch, 1971.Thousands like these were killed in the former East Pakistan by the death squads operated by the Pakistan Army in 1970-71 for supporting Bengali nationalism and the separation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan.

Bengali militant nationalists publicly executing suspected pro-West Pakistan Bengali collaborators after East Pakistan managed to separate and create the independent Bengali majority state of Bangladesh in January 1972.

Cover of a 1972 PIA Wine & Spirits menu.
Between 1962 and 1978, PIA was counted as one of the 10 Best Airlines in the World lists. PIA was also one of the first airlines to introduce in-flight entertainment and also famous for having one of the widest varieties of dishes and alcoholic beverages on offer. Today however, PIA is largely a bankrupt enterprise.

A 1973 press ad of Karachi’s Oasis nightclub. Oasis that was situated on what is now Awan-i-Saddar Road (then called Club Road), was one of most popular nightclubs in Karachi, along with Playboy (that was located right beside Oasis), The Excelsior (in Saddar), and The Horseshoe (on Shara-e-Faisal). Women shown in the ad are belly dancers invited from Beirut and Istanbul.
Oasis closed down when nightclubs and alcohol (for Muslims), were banned in 1977. It was demolished in the 1985 and converted into a ‘wedding garden.’ (Photo: Dawn newspaper, February, 1972).

Female student supporters of the left-wing National Students Federation (NSF), seen here during the 1972 student union elections at the Karachi University. (Photo: The Herald)

Women at a New Year’s party at Karachi’s Hotel Metropole (1973).
Today half of the hotel is an office complex while the other half was converted into a ‘wedding hall.’ (Photo: Daily News).

The left-wing National Students Federation (NSF) holding a corner meeting at the Karachi University just before the 1973 student union elections. Behind the speaker is graffiti quoting Chinese communist leader, Mao Tse Tung. (Photo: The Star).  


A 1973 photo of men enjoying a sizzling dance performance at a ‘kotha’ in Karachi’s infamous red light district on Napier Road.
Napier Road comprised one of the largest number of ‘kothas’ in the 1970s in Karachi, that mostly carted to the entertainment (and other) needs of lower-middle and working-class men. (Photo: Daily Jang).   

A montage of headlines screaming about the expulsion of the Pakistani Ahmadis from the fold of Islam.
Also seen is the copy of the constitutional deliberations and clauses finalised by the country’s National Assembly in 1974 that turned the Ahmadis into a minority faith separate from Islam in Pakistan. The move was initiated by anti-Ahmadi agitation by Islamic parties who then pressurised the Z A. Bhutto regime to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim.

1974: Islamic scholar and founder of the Jamat-i-Islami, Abul Aala Maudoodi, holding a press conference during which he explained his party’s support for the government’s move to declare the Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
A 1974 picture of students relaxing outside the Arts Lobby at the Karachi University.
The Arts Lobby was a stronghold of leftist and liberal student groups, whereas students from the science departments largely supported rightist student parties such as the Islami Jamiat Taleba during student union elections. (Photo: The Herald)

A group of students hang-out for a smoke and a chat outside the main canteen of the Punjab University in Lahore (1973). (Photo: The Herald).

An article (published in the May 1974 issue of Pakistani magazine, The Herald) on one of Pakistan’s most famous painters, Bashir Mirza.
Mirza remained a prolific painter in the 1960s and 1970s but stopped painting (as a protest) when the military overthrew the democratically elected government of Z A. Bhutto in July 1977.
Mirza only resumed painting after the demise of Ziaul Haq and return of democracy in Pakistan in 1988. He passed away in 2000 due to liver failure.

Hippie tourists enjoying themselves at a hut at one of Karachi’s many beaches in 1973.
Karachi beaches were a favourite haunt of wandering hippies arriving in droves from western countries in the 1970s. (Photo: The Star)

European hippies relaxing outside a cheap food joint on Burns Road in Karachi. The second image shows two more inside the room of a cheap hotel in Saddar, Karachi. Both pictures were taken in 1972. (Photo: The Herald).


Next: This was also Pakistan [ 5.3 ]

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]
Source of text and all images (provided by the author) 
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5 replies to “This was also Pakistan [ 5.2 ]

  1. 393435 20324This style is steller! You undoubtedly know how to maintain a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own weblog (properly, almostHaHa!) Wonderful job. I actually enjoyed what you had to say, and a lot more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! 960741

  2. Pakistan would have been more Vibrant if not for the presence of Islam, Nowadays it is just a fucking Time Bomb.

    1. There will be no time bomb in Pakistan as soon as US/KOS/Qatar,etc., stop funding terrorists in Pakistan land.

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