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Also Pakistan - IV

Published Aug 09, 2012 04:08pm

And so we move on with our series of ‘Also Pakistan’. Travelling from Also Pakistan, zigzagging across Also Pakistan-II and Also Pakistan-III we finally conclude with this final feature in the series.

It was an effort that with the help of painstakingly researched and collected images, tried 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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A 1955 bottle of Pakola. Every Pakistani knows about Pakola Ice-Cream Soda. The bright green coloured soft-drink that is also hailed (unofficially, though) to be ‘Pakistan’s national soft-drink.’

But for the first few years Pakola struggled to find a market for itself that was packed with popular soft-drinks such as Coca-Cola, 7Up and Bubble-Up.

Then in 1955 it even had to print the words ‘Non-Alcoholic’ on its bottles because thanks to its striking colour, some stores (in Karachi) actually began storing it alongside their stock of alcoholic beverages!

By the 1970s however, Pakola finally established itself as a popular soft-drink.

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The charismatic Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of the popular US President, J. F. Kennedy, visited Pakistan in 1962. Here she is seen riding in an open-top limo with the then ruler of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, in the Saddar area of Karachi jam-packed by young men and women who had gathered on both sides of the road to greet her.

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Crowds gather at a runaway at the Karachi Airport to witness a ‘flying parade’ and joint military exercises of American and Pakistani armed forces (1953).

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A modern ‘rail car’ made in Pakistan with the collaboration of Japanese engineers parked at the Lahore Railway Station in 1964. Popular with travellers wanting to move rapidly between cities, the cars were commissioned out of service in the 1980s.

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The iconic Mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, under construction in Karachi. This picture was taken in 1965. The imposing structure was finally completed almost five years later.

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A 1967 image of the American Embassy in Karachi. It was one of the most recognisable buildings in Karachi’s Abdullah Haroon Road area.

Built in 1958, the Embassy, apart from handling the visa issuing operations, also had a large library.

As can be seen in the picture, it hardly had any barriers or security and its doors were open to all.

However, from the late 1980s onwards, when Islamist violence began to rise within Pakistan, the Embassy was fortified by a tall wall.

Later, especially after the tragic 9/11 event and after the building faced at least three terror attacks in the 2000s, the walls were thickened, barriers placed and security tightened.

The library that was hugely popular with Karachi’s school and collage students was closed and the visa section was moved to Islamabad.

In 2011, the building was abandoned and the Embassy was moved to a different location in Karachi. The building still stands, though.

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A scene of a snow-covered street in Quetta (1968). The street, called Layton Road, today has lost almost all of the beautiful old trees that can be seen in the picture.

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The first pages of a detailed book written by a professional travel writer from the United States. The book was published in early 1962 – a time when various American airlines and travel writers were heavily promoting Pakistan as a tourist destination.

The image is that of Karachi’s Zoological Garden that was then called the Gandhi Garden.

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A 1963 brochure printed by the government of Pakistan. The influx of western tourists arriving in the country had risen by the time this brochure was published. It contained maps and names of famous tourist spots, beaches, mountain resorts, hotels, nightclubs and bars in the country (both in West and former East Pakistan).

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A 1966 Pakistani press ad announcing the launch of famous Australian car, Valiant, in Pakistan. It was one of the first cars to be assembled in Pakistan. –Picture courtesy DAWN.

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Girls taking part in a swimming competition at a sports complex in Karachi in 1970.

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VHS cover of Pakistan’s first horror and ‘X-rated’ film, Zinda Laash (The Living Dead). Released in 1967, the film was a huge hit in an era when the Pakistan’s film industry was dishing out an average of 50 films a year, most of them romantic fantasies.

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This poster attacking the ‘imperialist grip of the American CIA’ over various ‘third world countries’ (including Pakistan) began appearing on the walls of colleges and universities of Karachi and Lahore in 1968. The poster was originally designed in South America but was reproduced in Pakistan by radical leftist student groups during their movement against the Ayub Khan dictatorship (1968-69). –Poster courtesy Rashid Chaudhry.

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Students belonging to the left-wing National Students Federation campaign during a student union elections at the Karachi University in 1969. –Picture courtesy: Tarek Fateh.

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The first men on the moon land in Pakistan. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (the first men to land on the moon), arrived in Karachi in early 1970 during their tour of South Asia. Here they are seen being greeted by an enthusiastic crowd just outside the Karachi Airport. –Picture courtesy LIFE.

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A young Pakistani woman sitting on her motorbike in the Soldier Bazzar area of Karachi (1969). –Picture courtesy Zarmeena P.

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The December 1971 cover of Time magazine. The main story detailed the breaking away of former East Pakistan (after a bloody civil war with the West Pakistan army) . The picture is that of a Bengali militant celebrating the defeat of the West Pakistan military.

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An intriguing June 1971 photograph of a West Pakistani soldier searching an East Pakistani Bengali in Dhaka (the former capital of East Pakistan).  –Picture courtesy LIFE.

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Two displaced and poverty-stricken children stand in an open field surrounded by used artillery shells in a village in former war-torn East Pakistan (1971).

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A stamp celebrating Pakistan’s victory in the 1971 Hockey World Cup held in Barcelona, Spain.

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A serene image of Peshawar’s famous ‘Kisa Kahani Bazaar’ (Storytellers’ Market) in 1972. A culturally rich and ancient marketplace, the area has continuously come under terrorist attacks by Islamist militants ever since the early 2000s.

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A college student poses in front of a street in Quetta in 1972.

Today, Quetta is plagued by brutal violence involving Sunni sectarian outfits, Baloch nationalist groups and the Pakistan military.

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A 1972 picture showing European visitors and local Christians seen during a passing out ceremony at a Catholic school in Rawalpindi. –Picture courtesy John Meacham.

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A young 8-year-old Shahrukh Khan (current Bollywood star) visited Pakistan with his family (as a tourist) in 1973. Here he is seen during his family’s visit to Swat. –Picture courtesy Luqman Ghauri.

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A 1974 photograph showing the inside of a ‘hashish house’ in Quetta.

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A poster of 1973 film ‘Operation Pakistan.’ A B-grade film made by a Greek director, the film was released in Pakistan in 1973. It is about the adventures of an FBI agent who tracks down hashish smugglers in Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The characters of Pakistanis (seen below left) were all played by amateur Pakistani actors. The film was a box-office flop.

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An early 1970s press ad of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). PIA was considered to be one of the ten best airlines in the world between 1962 and 1980.

It constantly scored high for having ‘best in-flight entertainment,’ business class, ‘most convenient connections’, ‘delicious cuisine’ and ‘a wide selection of wine, whiskeys and beer.'

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A 1973 press ad of the famous Hotel Midway House in Karachi. The hotel was owned and run by PIA. It was located near the Karachi Airport and was popular with tourists and locals alike for its barbeque restaurant and nightclub. It was eventually closed down in the mid-1980s.

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A 1974 T-Shirt.

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Tourism in Pakistan grew two-fold in the 1970s. This special stamp was issued by the country’s Ministry of Tourism in 1975.

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A Swiss tourist gets his car’s tank filled at a gas station on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (1974).

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A European tourist with two students of the Peshawar University in an old street of Peshawar (1974).

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A European tourist family outside a rest house in Murree, 1974.

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Tourists enjoy a buggy ride outside Peshawar’s Hotel Intercontinental (1975).

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Pakistani actress and model, Bindia, at a cultural festival in Karachi (1975).

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Famous revolutionary poet, late Habib Jalib, enjoys a drink with veteran journalist, late Khalid Hassan, and friends at a restaurant in Karachi in 1975.

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Western tourists jam with a Pakistani tabla player in Karachi (1975).

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Pakistani test cricketers Sikandar Bakht and Javed Miandad in 1976.

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A 1978 French release of an album by famous Pakistani Qawali group, the Sabri Brothers.

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Cover of a live album by popular Indian ghazal duo, Jagjit and Chitra. The album was recording during one of the many live concerts the duo played during their tour of Pakistan in 1978.

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Altaf Gohar and Khalid Hassan with Noble Prize winning Pakistani scientist, Dr. Abdus Salam (centre) in the late 1970s.

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1977 cover of famous Pakistani Urdu magazine, Dhanak. Radical in its aesthetics, the magazine was hugely popular with young men and women. It covered fashion trends, ran film reviews and also had left-leaning articles on politics.

A number of noted progressive Urdu intellectuals such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Munir Niazi, Mumtaz Mufti, etc., wrote regularly for Dhanak.

It was edited and published by Sarwar Sukhera. In 1979 it became the first publication to be directly clamped down by the reactionary Ziaul Haq dictatorship that took over power through a military coup in July 1977.

Deemed as ‘anti-Islam’ by the Zia regime, Dhanak offices were attacked by Jamat-e-Islami goons and Sarwar was arrested for committing ‘treason’.

Sarwar went into exile after the magazine was shut down. –Picture courtesy: Laleen Khan.

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A promotional shot of famous PTV play, Uncle Urfi (1975). It was one of the first PTV serials that is said to have ‘made roads empty of cars and people’ during the time of its telecast (8 PM every Saturday).

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A group of European tourists travelling and enjoying a cup of tea on a Pakistani train, 1976.

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A German tourist outside a ‘ hashish shop’ in the tribal areas of former NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), 1976.

With the state of Pakistan having little influence in such areas, shops selling hashish sprang up when young western tourists began to pour into Pakistan from Afghanistan from the late 1960s onwards. (See also ‘Hippie Trail’ in Also-Pakistan I, II and III).

Today however, these areas are strictly off-limits not only to foreigners but also Pakistanis due to the war between Islamist insurgents and the Pakistan military.

The fate of the shops is unknown. -Picture courtesy Dan Atkinson

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A special stamp released by the government of Pakistan to mark the centenary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi (1978).

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Before the great Janagir Khan and Jansher Khan in squash there was Qamar Zaman. Here he is seen arguing with the umpire while on his way to beat the then No: 1, the Australian, Jeff Hunt, during a final played in Karachi in 1976.

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An American Christian evangelist addressing Pakistani Christians and converts in a village near Abbotabad in 1977. -Picture courtesy Williamson

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Pakistani star batsman, Javed Miandad, smashes the stumps after being given out LBW in a test match against India (1979).

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Imran Khan was one of the first Pakistani cricketers to appear in press ads and TV commercials. Here he is seen with Indian batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, in a 1979 ad for Indian soft-drink, Thumbs-up.

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Pakistan Peoples Party supporters mourn and pray just outside the grounds (in Rawalpindi) where PPP Chairman and former Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was hanged by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in April 1979. This picture was taken in October 1979.

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


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.