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Also Pakistan - V

Published Sep 27, 2012 04:28pm

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.

Previous Parts:

Also Pakistan - I Also Pakistan - II Also Pakistan - III Also Pakistan - IV

For an overall summery also check the United States’ National Public Radio’s feature on the series: Picturing Pakistan’s Past.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pakistani stage actor (and later TV personality), Zia Mohiuddin, seen here in a British TV series, ‘The Adventures of Sir Francis Drake’ (1962). In Pakistan, Zia became hugely popular with a stage show (for Pakistan Television [PTV]), the ‘Zia Mohiuddin Show’ (1970-72). He went on to act in various British and American TV series and films and then once again found fame in Pakistan as a brilliant reciter of the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib.

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Hussain S. Suhrawardy, arrives to head a cabinet meeting in Karachi in a cowboy hat (1956).

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Liquat Ali Khan (left), having a chat with famous Hollywood actor and star James Stewart (second from left) in Lahore (1951). Also seen in the picture is Liaquat’s wife, Begum Liaquat. Liquat was assassinated the same year in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

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Pushtun tribesmen with drums (dhol) and other traditional instruments lead a marriage ceremony and play their way through a crowded street of Peshawar in 1952.

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Visiting American President, Eisenhower, travels in an open-top horse buggy with Pakistani President, Ayub Khan, through the streets of Karachi, cheered by a large crowd. He then addressed the crowd at the city’s Jinnah Ground (then known as Polo Ground).

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Visiting American Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, stops to meet a camel driver in Karachi in 1962. During the spontaneous conversation, Johnson invited the camel man (Bashir Ahmed) to visit the United States. In 1962 the American government funded Bashir’s trip to the US. Bashir was soon taken to Johnson’s private ranch in Texas. The US government then financed Bashir’s trip to Mecca (to perform Umra).

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Famous American mystic, Samuel Lewis, seen here with the keepers of the Sufi saint, Data Ganj Baksh’s shrine in Lahore (1962).

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A 1963 press ad of Pakistani airlines, PIA. As mentioned in previous ‘Also Pakistan’ features, PIA, between 1962 and 1980, was considered to be one of the top 10 airlines in the world, having one of the best in-flight entertainment facilities.

The above ad highlights the airline’s in-flight entertainment facilities as PIA was actually the first airline in the world to start showing Hollywood movies during flights.

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A 1965 vinyl recording of the song ‘Karachi’ written and performed by popular American jazz ensemble, Maurice Miller Trio.

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A 1964 PIA in-flight information card informing its clients that the alcoholic beverages on the plane will cost tourists a bit more than the locals.

Serving alcohol on PIA was banned by the government in 1977.

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A Pakistani minister meeting a visiting American football team before a match in Karachi (1968). The team played three matches against the Pakistan team, winning two and losing one.

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In 1967, a group of Pakistani high school kids designed the above-seen car all on their own. Dubbed as ‘The first car made in Pakistan,’ the car soon vanished from the country’s memory but the students all ended up getting scholarships to prestigious American engineering universities.

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A vintage 1969 coaster of Pakistani beer brand, Murree. This particular coaster is from the bar at Karachi’s Excelsior Club that was situated in the Saddar area but forced to close down in 1977.

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A 1968 press ad of Coca-Cola. This ad also appeared in American newspapers.

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A special stamp was issued by the government to celebrate the winning of a gold medal by the Pakistan hockey team in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

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PPP chairman, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, gestures being handcuffed by the police during an anti-Ayub Khan rally in Karachi held by left-wing student organisations (1968). Ayub resigned in 1969.

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A cop beats up a student during an anti-Ayub rally in Karachi organised by leftist student organisations (1969).

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A 1970 photo of famous Pakistani leftist leader and firebrand, Abdul Hamid Bhasani (also known as Maulana Bhashani). Bhashani, a Bengali, was one of the founders of Pakistan’s first large leftist party the National Awami Party (NAP), that he formed with progressive and Marxist Mohajirs, Sindhi nationalist, GM Syed, Baloch nationalist, Gahus B. Bezinjo, and Pushtun nationalist, Bacha Khan.

Though a devout Muslim, Bhashani was fiercely leftist in his politics and a great supporter of Chinese communism. In 1968 he broke away from NAP’s pro-Soviet leaders, Bezinjo and Wali Khan (who formed NAP-Wali), and formed his own faction, NAP-Bhashani. After the break-up of Pakistan in 1971, Bhashani moved to the newly formed Bangladesh. He died in 1976.

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A 1960s shot of Karachi’s famous Hotel Metropole that was famous for its night clubs and bars. The hotel today is being torn down and turned into a shopping and office complex. Half of it has already been turned into a ‘wedding garden.’ Behind it was the Palace Cinema that was extremely popular with college and university students. The cinema was torn down in the 1980s and has since been operating as a ‘marriage hall.’

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A bar band performing at the Hotel Metropole in the 1960s.

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Pakistan’s first tennis star and Davis Cup winner, Haroon Rahim (fourth from top left) with American and British Davis Cup players (1970, Karachi). Rahim got into America's prestigious UCLA and continued representing Pakistan in various international tournaments. However, sometime in 1977 Rahim married an American girl and moved to the US. But within a few years he cut all contact with his family and vanished. His family never heard from him again.

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Pakistani models posing as Punjab’s village womenfolk during an international cultural exchange event in 1969.

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A 1970 American magazine ad for Palizzie Shoes. The caption reads: No Karachi Cobra in my size?’

Shoes made from real snake skin imported by western countries from Pakistan (especially Sindh) were hugely popular with the Western fashionistas till clothing and shoes made with real animal skins and furs were thankfully banned.

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A 1965 tourism brochure published by the government for tourists interested in visiting the historic Gandhara site (for ancient Buddhist art and artifacts) in the Khayber Pukhtunkhwa province (formerly NWFP).

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Wife of US President, J F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy (right), enjoying a camel ride in Karachi during her visit to the city in 1961.

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A 1970 press ad of a perfume named after Lahore’s historic Shalimar Garden.

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A 1971 photo of a young (Bengali) Pakistan army officer who switched sides and joined the East Pakistan rebels against the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan army was defeated by the Bengali nationalists and the Indian armed forces in December 1971. In 1972, East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

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A 1973 PIA brochure promoting tourism to the site of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Mohenjodaro (located in the Sindh province of Pakistan). In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the tourist traffic from abroad and from within Pakistan to Mohenjodaro grew rapidly, so much so that the government built an airport, rest houses and small hotels near the site and began running regular flights there. However, ever since the 1990s, the number of tourists to the site steadily declined and so did the number of flights.

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The Pakistan film industry began growing expediently in the 1960s and reached a peak in the 1970s, before pattering out in the 1980s and ultimately collapsing from the 1990s onwards.

However, the industry entered the 1970s with vigour and confidence, wanting to ‘internationalise’ Pakistani films by getting into joint projects with Turkish, Iranian, Greek and film industries of various other countries.

One of the first projects in this regard was the 1971 film, ‘Operation Karachi’ (see poster) – a steamy thriller with a pop soundtrack punctuated by bouncy numbers by famous Pakistani singers Ahmad Rushdi and Runa Laila.

The film was a massive hit, especially on the screens of Karachi and Lahore’s open drive-in cinemas.

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Urdu newspaper photo of the wife of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Nusrat Bhutto (third from right) with a group of Pakistani ‘supermodels’  at a launch party of a film in 1973.

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A Pakistani family waiting for transport after attending a function at Karachi’s Beach Luxury Hotel in 1973.

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A 1973 shot of a mass of film enthusiasts gathered outside the famous Nishat Cinema in Karachi to watch ‘7 Voyages of Sindbad’. Just behind the main hoarding is a smaller board advertising the ‘coming soon’ flick, ‘Game of Death’ staring Martial Arts expert and movie star, Bruce Lee.

Just like they did around the world, Bruce Lee films also became hugely popular with Pakistani audiences. They played to packed houses, especially at Nishat, a movie theatre that was inaugurated by the sister of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but burned down by a mob of religious fanatics in September 2012.

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A 1974 anti-Ahmadi wall-chalking in the Pakistani city of Sargodah. Religious parties went on a rampage against Ahmadis and their property, demanding that the community be declared as non-Muslim. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, though heading a supposedly ‘socialist’ and ‘progressive’ government, capitulated and agreed to the demand of the religious parties. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim and a minority group. The community has continued to face violence and harassment from conservative and radical religious outfits.

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Ibn-e-Safi was Pakistan’s most prolific and popular suspense novelists. He wrote over 200 such novels and amazingly, almost each one became a best-seller. Since his novels were immensely popular among the youth and full of action, exotic locations and characters, it was only natural that a Pakistani film-maker would turn at least one of them into a film.

Director Qamar Zaidi combined stories from various Safi novels and came up with the 1974 film, ‘Dhamaka.’ (See poster).

Though a relative success at the box-office, the film was a bizarre mix of action sequences ripped off from steamy American ‘blacxploitation’ farces, raunchy hippie imagery and proto-disco tunes.

Apart from starring the Pakistani film industry’s well-known names, Shabnam and Rehman, the film also saw debuts by Javed Sheikh (who would go on to become a famous TV and film actor and director) and singer, Alamgir.

In 1977, PTV also shot a series based on Safi novels (starring TV and film actor, Qavi), but after the Bhutto regime was toppled in July 1977, the military government of Ziaul Haq disallowed the running of the series because it thought it was ‘vulgar.’

In 1980, Safi, after suffering a nervous breakdown (he had also suffered a breakdown in 1960), depression and family problems, died at the age of 52. But his books continued to be reprinted and sell big.

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A 1972 T-Shirt of famous British progressive-rock group, Jethro Tull that was made in Pakistan …

… From 1970 till about 1985, T-shirts of most famous Western rock and pop groups were almost all made and exported from Pakistan. T-Shirt makers in Pakistan got orders from the management and marketers representing major rock musicians such as Rolling Stone, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Aerosmith, etc, and thousands of these T-Shirts were exported to the US and the UK and ended up being sold outside concert halls and arenas in various Western countries.

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American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, escorting Pakistan’s First Lady, Nusrat Bhutto, to a banquet at the White House. Begum Nusrat was accompanying her husband, Z A. Bhutto, on his visit to the United States.

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Folk music and art and fashion aesthetics of Pakistan’s various ethnicities were aggressively promoted by the government in the 1970s. Eventually some designers fused these aesthetics with the flamboyant, modern fashion sense of the era and created a fashion called ‘Folkwear.’ The above picture shows the cover of a 1975 brochure promoting Pakistani designed and produced ‘Folkwear’ for women.

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Prime Minister, Z A. Bhutto, relaxing with his daughters, Sanam (left) and Benazir (back), at their residence in Clifton, Karachi (1973).

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A group of Western tourists push a broken-down truck on Lahore’s Grand Trunk Road (1974).

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A group of hippie travellers enjoying Pakistani beer at a rest house in North Pakistan (1974).

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A western tourist dressed like a local poses with a group of Pushtun children (and a man) outside a shop in the Bara area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1975).

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Western tourists pose with a group of locals outside a rest house in Ziarat in Balochistan (1974).

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A 1974 menu card of PIA’s international flights.

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Western tourists entering Pakistan from Afghanistan on a bus in 1975.

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A 1974 photo showing a young boy in stylish ‘bell bottoms’ filling the tank of a Vespa motorbike as a young school girl walks home in Lahore.

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A young woman plays with school children at a Mela at Karachi’s recreational outlet ‘Playland’ in 1975. Playland was torn down in the late 1990s.

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A rare photo of future MQM chief, Altaf Hussain (fifth from left), with friends outside the Arts Department of the University of Karachi in 1977.

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Imran Khan relaxing during Pakistan cricket team’s tour of India in 1979.

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Imran Khan signing an autograph for a young fan in Lahore just before the start of the Pakistan-India series of 1978.

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A group photo of Pakistani and Iranian mountaineers outside a hotel in Islamabad in 1978. The group would go on to successfully climb the K2 Mountain.

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A video grab from PTV’s live transmission of a wrestling match between top Pakistani wrestler, Akram Bholu, and Japanese wrestler, Anokhi in 1975. The match that took place in Pakistan was watched by thousands of people in the ground and by millions on TV. It was also telecasted live in Japan.

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A 1980 photograph of various Afghan Islamist groups in Peshawar that began gathering in Pakistan after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979.

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A 1979 L.A. Times cartoon published after the Zia dictatorship executed former Prime Minister, Z A. Bhutto. Zia is shown doing a ballet of sorts over Bhutto’s disembodied head.

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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.