Also Pakistan – III

This is the third in our ‘Also Pakistan’ series, following Also Pakistan – I and Also Pakistan – II

There is very little memory left of a Pakistan that today almost seems like an alien planet compared to what it has been ever since the mid-1980s.

Here, I shall once again share with you some interesting photographs that I have managed to gather in the last couple of years of that alien country.

A place that was also called Pakistan.


Astronaut of NASA’s Apollo 17 and his wife wave to fans on their arrival at Lahore Airport (1973).

A scene from Hollywood blockbuster ‘Bhowani Junction’ being shot outside a Lahore police station.


A couple swings into action at a New Year’s party at a nightclub at Karachi’s Hotel Metropole (1957).


A newspaper clipping (from Pakistan’s daily, ‘Morning News’) with a report on how Pakistani pop fans gate-crashed their way into a bar at the Karachi Airport where the famous pop band The Beatles were having a drink. They had arrived in Karachi (1963) to get a connecting flight to Hong Kong. Between the 1960s and late 1970s the Karachi Airport was one of the busiest in the region. (Picture Courtesy: Sami Shah).


Western tourists sunbathing on a Karachi beach (early 1960s).

A group of American tourists on a ‘crabbing trip’ in Karachi. ‘Crabbing’ (catching crabs) was a thriving tourist activity in Karachi where tourists would rent boats from the coastal Kimari area of the city and ‘go crabbing.’ The boats mostly belonged to men belonging to the ‘Afro-Pakistani’ community in Karachi and some of them had small barbecue kitchens and bars fitted in the boats. The boats are still there, but not the tourists.


The Queen of England (Elizabeth II) meeting a welcoming committee during her visit to Karachi in 1961. She also toured many parts of the city with the then ruler of Pakistan, Field Martial Ayub Khan in an open-top limousine.


Students sympathetic to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the left-wing National Students Federation (NSF) clash with the police and pro-government students in Karachi (1969). The student and labour movement between 1967 and 1968 had already toppled the dictatorship of Ayub Khan.


Plainclothes cops nab a radical Pushtun nationalist student who was accused of firing shots from a concealed gun at Ayub Khan at a pro-Ayub rally in Peshawar (late 1968).


A press ad in a Pakistani magazine announcing the launch of Canadian Club Whiskey in Pakistan (early 1960s). The whiskey was first made available at Karachi’s horse racing and polo club (Race Course) and then introduced in the city’s many bars.


A West Pakistani clashes with an East Pakistani Bengali  in Dhaka (1970).

Militant Bengali nationalists (Mukti Bhaini) aim at West Pakistan troops during the 1971 Civil War between West Pakistani military and East Pakistan nationalists. The Bengali nationalists picked up arms against the Pakistan military after accusing it of committing large scale massacres against Bengalis. Backed by India, the rebels defeated the West Pakistan military and East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

East Pakistani women march with guns on the streets of Dhaka in a show of defiance against the West Pakistan military establishment (1971).


An early poster advertising the Pakistani beer brand Murree’s first launch of ‘light beers.’

Pakistani men take an adventurous ride on an Afghan taxi (1972). Every day thousands of Pakistanis crossed into Afghanistan for trade on such taxis. Many would also visit Kabul to watch latest Indian films in Kabul cinemas then return to Pakistan in the evening.


A group of hippies (British, French and American) wait for a bus in Lahore (1972). Pakistan was an important destination on what was called the ‘Hippie Trail.’

The trail was used by thousands of young European and American backpackers between the late 1960s and 1979. It was an overland route that began in Turkey, ran through Iran, curved into Afghanistan and Pakistan and then from India ended in Nepal.

A huge tourist industry sprang up in these countries to accommodate the backpackers. In Pakistan, the travelers entered Peshawar (from Jalalabad in Afghanistan). From Peshawar they went to Lahore. Some took a bus into India while others visited Karachi and Swat before returning to Lahore and crossed into India.

The trail closed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran; the beginning of civil war in Afghanistan; and due to the reactionary nature of the Ziaul Haq dictatorship that came to power in Pakistan in 1977.

A 1973 tourism brochure printed by the Pakistan Ministry of Tourism. The brochure had details of hotels, restaurants, bars and tourist spots that had sprung up on the Hippie Trail.


A tourism bus operated by Pakistan’s Ministry of Tourism taking western tourists on a sight-seeing ride in Karachi (1974). Such buses were decorated keeping in mind the time’s ‘hippie aesthetics.’


A 1968 shot of a famous Karachi cinema, Taj Mahal. It was one of the many that operated during the heydays of Pakistan’s film industry.

Between 1965 and 1977, the industry produced dozens of films every month. The trend hit a peak in 1975 when a total number of 114 Urdu films were released that year.

The industry began to wither away from the late 1970s due to the arrival of a reactionary dictatorship and then the growing popularity of the VCR.

Today the Pakistan film industry that was one of the most lucrative show-biz ventures in the country in the 1960s and 1970s is as good as dead.


A classic early 1970s hand-painted billboard of actor and martial arts expert, Bruce Lee.

This particular billboard was painted in Lahore and was used to advertise Lee’s 1973 blockbuster ‘Enter the Dragon.’ Just like in the West, Lee had become an icon and hugely popular with action film enthusiasts in Pakistan as well. His films did roaring business in cinemas and popularised the martial arts in Pakistan. Lee died a sudden death in 1973.


A rare photo showing the Pakistan hockey team on its way to win the 1971 Hockey World Cup held in Barcelona, Spain. It defeated the host country in the finals.


Wife of the Shah of Iran arrives at the Quetta Airport (1973). She was greeted by the then Balochistan governor, Mir Ghaos Baksh Beznjo, who belonged to the left-wing National Awami Party (NAP) that headed the government in Balochistan (after the 1970 election).

Ironically, Bezenjo and the NAP government in the province were dismissed by the Z A. Bhutto regime when the Shah of Iran warned Pakistan that NAP was instigating Baloch nationalist rebellion in the Iranian part of Balochistan.


A 21-year-old Benazir Bhutto sitting on the porch of her father Z A. Bhutto’s house in Karachi (1974). Benazir would go on to lead her father’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after he was hanged to death by General Ziaul Haq in April 1979.

In 1990s she was twice elected as Pakistan’s prime minister before tragically losing her life at the hands of Islamic militants in December 2007.


Cover of the May 1972 issue of The Herald. Herald (a monthly published by the Dawn Group) was initially a magazine focusing on the changing fashion, political and social trends of the urban Pakistani youth. However, from 1980 onwards it became more political in its content.

A 1973 issue of The Herald with a cover story on the then vibrant social scene of Karachi.


Famous Pakistani model,  Rakhshanda Khattak. She was one of Pakistan’s leading fashion models in the 1970s before quitting and leaving the country in 1979. She died in the United States in 2011.
(The photo is from 1972).  -Photo courtesy: Express Tribune


A 1973 album cover (that was then turned into a poster) of Pakistani film playback singer and pop icon, Runna Laila. This poster became popular with college students and could be found gracing the walls of their hostel rooms right along-side posters of Che Gurevara, Mao tse Tung, etc.

Laila was a Bengali hailing from East Pakistan. Her songs attracted the attention and adoration of the Pakistani youth in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Though she did not leave West Pakistan after East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, she finally decided to go and become a Bangladeshi citizen in 1974.


A 1972 Runa Laila song (performed on Pakistan’s state-owned TV channel, PTV) that added the ‘hippie chic’ in modern Pakistani music.


Soundtrack album (LP) of 1975 Pakistani film, ‘Shabana.’ The film starred one of the leading Pakistani film actresses and sex symbol of the 1970s, Barbra Sharif.


A 1975 poster showing some of Pakistan’s most popular Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtun and Punjabi folk performers. The poster was printed in the United States where these performers went to perform at the ‘American Folklife Concert’ in Washington DC.

Indigenous Pakistani folk culture and music were aggressively patronised by the populist government of Z A. Bhutto. Some analysts suggest that this was at least one part of his regime’s strategy to co-opt nationalist sentiments simmering among Sindhi, Baloch and Pushtun nationalists.


A European couple outside a cheap hotel in Peshawar in 1975. A number of such hotels had sprung up in Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi to accommodate the rising tide of Western backpackers that began arriving from the late 1960s onwards. Can’t explain the gun holster, though. Most probably it’s empty.


Famous 1970s Iranian pop singer and icon Madam Googoosh on the cover of a Persian magazine, ‘Beta.’ Googoosh toured Pakistan in 1975 and became a huge hit with concert and TV audiences.

She planned to return for another series of concerts in Pakistan but after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran she was banned by the new Iranian regime.


Some young members of the Pakistan cricket team living it up at a nightclub (1976). Seen (from left): The hard-hitting and flamboyant Wasim Raja (bearded); opener Mudassar Nazar; fast bowler Sikandar Bakht and batsman, Javed Miandad.

Notice the tone used in the caption of the photograph that appeared in a Pakistani English daily. It is upbeat and matter-of-fact, unlike the condemning tone that (mostly Urdu press) began to use for ‘partying cricketers’ after early 1980s.


A more contemporary rendition of a Sindhi nationalist poster. The poster was first designed and printed in 1973 soon after the formation of radical Sindhi nationalist party, the Jeeay Sindh. The poster tries to encapsulate (and propagate) the secular, pluralistic and tolerant nature of Sindhi people and their links with Sufi Islam.


Wife of Pakistan’s first popularly elected Prime Minister, Nusrat Bhutto, representing Pakistan at a 1975 conference in Mexico. Some observers believe she was far more progressive than her ‘socialist’ husband (Z A. Bhutto).


A 1974 photo of famous Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan, in typically flashy and expressive 1970s attire. Equally famous of being an ‘over indulgent playboy,’ Khan became a ‘born-again Muslim’ after he retired from cricket in 1990 and then formed a political party (in 1996).


A 1987 picture showing former Pakistan cricket captain sitting with conservative Pakistani military dictator, General Ziaul Haq. Khan had announced his retirement from cricket in 1987 but was coaxed to return to the team by Zia.

During the 1970s and 1980s, most major Pakistani cricket stars had political connections (though they were never a direct part of any party). For example, fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Muhammad and Javed Miandad were Bhutto fans.

And though Khan was not politically inclined towards Zia’s conservative policies, he remained a close acquaintance of the dictator.


A 1976 photo showing famous Pakistani pop star, Alamgir, sharing a joke with popular TV actor and comedian, late Moin Akhtar. The photo was taken just before an Alamgir concert in Karachi that was hosted by Moin.


Rare 1975-76 clip of Alamgir performing with a visiting Turkish pop singer on PTV. The song was later banned by the Zia dictatorship in 1978.


Pakistani TV actors, Akbar Subhani, Shakeel and RJ on the set of a PTV play (1975). Subhani went on to become an accomplished stage actor, while Shakeel (centre) had already risen as  a star on TV in the 1970s.


Western tourists enjoy beer at the poolside of Karachi’s Intercontinental Hotel (1976). -Photo courtesy Rory McLane.


American tourists travelling to Lahore from Karachi on a Pakistan Railways train (1976). -Photo courtesy Murad Husain and Bina Ahmed.


A group of college girls relaxing outside their college in Karachi (1976).


Rare footage of the famous Pakistan vs. India Test match played at the Karachi Stadium in 1978. Petering out as a dull draw, the match suddenly came alive when the Pakistan team captain, Mushtaq Muhammad, decided to chase the then impossible target of 160 plus runs in less than 25 overs in the last session of the match.

A 21-year-old Javed Miandad and Vice Captain, Asif Iqbal, were sent in as openers. After an incredible display of running between the wickets, Pakistan still required more than 8 runs an over when Iqbal got out.

Mushtaq sent in the young Imran Khan (then 26) to lift the scoring rate. After surviving a run-out scare, Khan tore into the Indian bowling attack by smashing two towering sixes and a four to take Pakistan home to victory.


DAWN headline about the military take-over of General Ziaul Haq (July 1977). The elections did not take place ‘next October.’ Zia ruled for 11 years. Pakistan was never the same again.

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  • Tajammul Yusuf  On January 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    It is a treasure good work MR> NADEEM F PARACHA AJOB WELL DONE


  • […] tourists, a different open Pakistan with civil liberties intact in some way for its citizens. A research on this is done by a renowned Pakistani journalist Nadeem F. Paracha, which is amazing and amusing to see how different Pakistan used to […]

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