Our Also Pakistan series was supposed to conclude with the fourth 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.
For an overall summery also check the United States’ National Public Radio’s feature on the series: Picturing Pakistan’s Past.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The brilliant (and provocative) Pakistani short-story writer, Sadat 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.
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.
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.