History fit to print: 70 years of Pakistan through print ads

History fit to print: 70 years of Pakistan through print ads

August 1947: An image published in a Pakistani newspaper of a Rs. 5 currency note issued right after Pakistan’s independence in August 1947. The note was issued by the Reserve Bank of India. It had King George’s image on it because at the time Pakistan was ‘an independent dominion of the British Commonwealth’. King George was the dominion’s first head of state.


August 1948: A government ad published in the Pakistan Times on August 15, 1948 - the country’s first Independence Day anniversary. It was also the first anniversary of the Pakistan Times. Interestingly, at the time Pakistan’s Independence Day fell on 15th August.


A 1950 newspaper ad of Pakistan’s first airline, Orient Airways. It was a privately-owned enterprise, operated by the Adamjee and Isphahani business groups.


A 1950 newspaper ad of the opening of Pakistan’s first 5-star hotel, Hotel Metropole (Karachi). The wife of Shah of Iran was the chief guest of the inauguration ceremony, thus the Persian copy.


Print ad announcing the arrival of traffic signals in Pakistan. They were first installed in Karachi in 1951.


A 1953 advertisement of the country’s first bicycle brand, Sohrab. Sohrab was launched in 1952 for both men and women, after the government stopped importing bicycles due to shortage of foreign exchange.


In 1956 the National Assembly passed the country’s first constitution. Pakistan became a republic. To celebrate the occasion, a company launched a transistor brand called The Democrat.


A 1956 PIA ad. In 1955 the government acquired the privately-owned Orient Airways. It expanded it to launch the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).


1958 ad of Karachi’s Palace Hotel after its famous cocktail bar was renovated.


In the 1950s, a majority of white-collared Pakistanis travelled to work on local trains. When Ayub Khan came to power in 1958 (through a coup), he emphasized that the trains should run on time. Karachi’s West End Watch Co. turned Ayub’s call into a 1958 ad for its watches.


A 1960 print ad announcing the opening of a new season of cabaret shows at the Hotel Metropole.


1960 ad of Pakistan’s first coffee brand, Zelin’s. Coffee in Pakistan never became as popular as tea did, though. 


Ahmad’s were the country’s leading makers of sweetmeat items.


A 1962 newspaper ad for Pakistani beer brand, Murree. The copy simply states, Made in Republic of Pakistan, 1962. Best served chilled. 5% Alc.


A 1963 ad for Bata fashion slippers. The economy boomed during the Ayub government, triggering an increase in the consumption power of the urban middle-classes.


TV was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. This is a 1965 ad for Sanyo TV sets. Their cost at the time: Rs.818.


A 1965 Standard Bank ad asking people to donate to the National Defence Fund during the 1965 Pakistan-India War. The war ended in a stalemate.


A 1967 ad for the beauty products of Pakistani brand, Tibet. In this ad Tibet used a visiting Sri Lankan cabaret dancer as model.


Ads of Karachi cinemas in a 1968 newspaper. Rio was famous for only running films that were ‘for adults only.’


Ad published during the 1971 Pakistan-India War. The war resulted in the breaking away of East Pakistan which became Bangladesh.


A 1972 print ad of Karachi’s Beach Luxury Hotel. The tourist industry had witnessed a boom between 1963 and 1968. It fell away between 1969 and 1971, but picked up again from 1972 onward. The ZA Bhutto regime that had come to power in December 1971 instated Zoroastrian-Pakistani businessman, Ardeshir Cowasjee to head the tourism board. The waterway seen in the ad is now entirely polluted. 


A 1973 ad for Karachi’s famous nightclub, Penthouse. The club was situated within Hotel Excelsior on Victoria Road in Karachi’s Saddar area.  


A 1974 press ad for the Pakistani fountain pen brand Eagle. Eagle positioned itself as ‘the pen of intellectuals.’


A 1974 government-sponsored ad asking people to explore the various folk cultures and historical sites of Pakistan.


A 1974 print ad of PIA. PIA had continued to grow as one of the leading airlines in the world.


A 1975 ad from the Punjab Population Planning Board promoting birth-control pills.


1975 ad of the cider drink, Apple Sidra.


A 1975 magazine ad of a locally manufactured cream aiding ‘natural breast enlargement.’


A 1975 ad for the inexpensive readymade roti made in government factories. This was part of the Bhutto regime’s ‘socialist policies’ of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’


1976 print ad for a hotel and club in Lahore.


A 1977 magazine ad for Urdu film Aina. The film ran for 402 weeks! By the late 1970s Pakistan’s film industry had hit a peak, releasing an average of 30 films a year. However, the industry began to decline from the 1980s onward.


Part of a 1979 info-ad in an in-flight PIA magazine about availability of alcoholic beverages in Pakistani airports and hotels. The ad has a list of locally-made spirits and beer, and a disclaimer: ‘For Non-Muslims Only.’ Sale of alcoholic drinks was banned (for Muslims) in April 1977. The ban was then strengthened through an Ordinance in 1979 by the Gen Zia dictatorship (which had come to power through a coup in July 1977).


A 1980 print ad for a match in Karachi between international tennis star, Ilie Nastase and the then Pakistan No: 1, Saeed Meer.


A 1981 Saudia Airlines ad for its flights to Karachi.


A 1983 magazine ad of Pakistan’s famous fruit syrup, Rooh Afza.


A 1981 propaganda ad in an Urdu magazine. By the mid-1980s, the Pakistan was fully facilitating US and Saudi backed Afghan insurgents against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.


A magazine ad celebrating Pakistan’s win in the final of the 1982 Hockey World Cup. This was Pakistan’s 3rd hockey world cup title.


A 1987 Bata ‘ladies shoes’ magazine ad.


A 1988 Power Shoes print ad featuring the then Pakistan star cricketer and captain, Imran Khan.


A late 1980s soap ad featuring Pakistani opening batsman, Ramiz Raja.


A 1990 magazine ad of PIA featuring the then Squash World No: 1, Jahangir Khan.


Magazine ad for the 1990 Hockey World Cup which was held in Lahore.


A 1994 Pepsi magazine ad featuring the time’s leading Pakistani pop band, the Vital Signs.


A Rooh Afza magazine ad for August 14.


A press ad glorifying Gen Parvez Musharraf who toppled the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999. Musharraf became President till he was forced to resign after his ‘king’s party’, the PML-Q was routed by the PPP and PML-N in the 2008 election.


‘Islamic Banking’ was aggressively marketed in Pakistan in the early and mid-2000s.


2015 ad of Mobilink Jazz X with a model laying across the front page of a newspaper.


Ufone parodied the Mobilink ad with this one.


A magazine ad announcing the start of season 8 of the highly popular music show, Coke Studio.


Terrorism by extremist groups peaked from 2007 onward. In 2014, the government and military began an unprecedented operation against terror.


A 2016 ad of PML-N which came to power after sweeping the 2013 election.


A 2016 ad of the PPP showing late Benazir and her son, Bilawal.


A 2014 print ad of PTI, announcing a protest rally against PML-N government on August 14.


A July 2017 press ad from a pro-PTI business group hailing the ouster of PM Nawaz by the Supreme Court.