Pakistan is often looked down upon with disdain, courtesy the turmoil that has engulfed the nation. War torn and reeling under severe economic distress; the added woes of terrorism, arising out of jingoism, are the major challenges that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is facing. But not many people know that Pakistan wasn’t always this way. Pakistan stood at a confluence of modernity and progressiveness; it was known for its hospitality and its religious freedom. In the ’60s and ’70s, Pakistan’s elite population (most of them educated in the West) indulged in more liberal acts such as drinking alcohol. Pakistan was also a part of the “hippie trail” all the way from Turkey, en route India, in which Westerners travelled. 

 Here are 16 powerful images that show the Pakistan of the past:

A Jewish festival being celebrated in Karachi.


People lining up at the premier of ‘Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom’ at Karachi’s Nishat Cinema in 1984. The theatre was burned down by religious fanatics in 2012.

Young Pakistan

A group of tourists at Dean’s Hotel, Peshawar, in the mid ’60s.

Young Pakistan

American tourists on a train to Lahore from Karachi in 1976.

Dost Pakistan

Locals and expats drinking alcohol at Karachi’s Beach Luxury Hotel in 1969.

The News Track

Locals at Karachi’s Clifton Beach in 1962

Pakistan Post

A German tourist posing outside a ‘hashish’ shop in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1976)


Sultan Rahi (“Maula Jutt”) sharing a light moment with Muhammad Ali, during the latter’s visit to Pakistan.

Showbiz Pakistan

International students at Punjab University in the 1960s

Lahore City History

An advertisement for Pakistan International Airlines

History of PIA

Actress Ava Gardner with Lahore’s locals on the sets of Bhowani Junction 


Pakistan’s female swimmers in a swimming competition in the ’70s


PIA’s first Boeing 747


Queen Elizabeth II on a royal visit to the Khyber Pass


Muhammad Ali Jinnah seen smoking a pipe



Fascinating, isn’t it?