16 Beautiful Pictures from Old Pakistan
A couple swings into action at a New Year’s party at a nightclub at Karachi’s Hotel Metropole (1957).
A 1964 PIA press ad featuring famous Hollywood comedian and actor Bob Hope.
PIA was one of the first airlines in the world to introduce in-flight entertainment. It regularly featured in all the prestigious top-10-airline lists for over 20 years, before dropping out in the mid-1980s.
A 1973 issue of The Herald with a cover story on the then vibrant social scene of Karachi.
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 onward it became more political in its content.
A 1974 press ad of Red & White cigarettes. Just like in other airports of the world at the time, smoking was allowed in all areas of Pakistani airports as well. The shoot for this ad took place at the old Karachi Airport that worked as a hub in the region and was one of the busiest airports in Asia receiving up to 60 flights in an hour from around the world.
The man is sitting at a famous waiting lounge/restaurant at the airport (Sky Grill) that also had a full bar and was the only place at the airport that was centrally air-conditioned.
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.’
Ava Gardner shooting a scene at the Lahore Railway Station in 1954
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.
PIA press ad, 1965: This 1965 PIA ad (published in Dawn) bares claims that one can’t even imagine PIA to make in this day and age.
When this ad appeared in print, PIA was enjoying rapid growth within and outside Pakistan. It had already been noted for having ‘the most stylishly dressed air hostesses’, great service, a widespread route and, ahem, ‘having a generous and tasteful selection of wines, whiskeys and beers’ on offer.’*
*Serving alcoholic drinks on PIA was banned in April 1977
Peaceful Karachi in 1970’s.
Karachi’s amazing Clifton beach in 1962
Cover of Shaukat Siddique’s famous Urdu novel, ‘Khuda Ki Basti’ (God’s Colony). The novel was written in the 1950s and its tragic story took place in the congested shanty towns that sprang up in Karachi and Lahore to accommodate millions of Muslims who had migrated from India to Pakistan.
Original poster of the 1953 Urdu film ‘Sheri Babu’ (City Man). This was one of the first Pakistani films to comment on the interaction between urban cynicism and rural simplicity.
The poster of Pakistan’s first ‘socialist film’ Jago Hua Savera (The Day Shall Dawn). It was penned by famous leftist poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and released in 1958.
Lahore’s famous Pak Tea House in the 1950. It was a bustling bastion of intellectual and progressive political activity.
A hotel and pub in Karachi’s Malir area (1955).