‘Pindi, I Miss You!’

By Maj Siaj Syed (17 PMA Long Course)

Editor’s Note: Maj Siraj Syed is from Artillery/Aviation. He has settled in USA since 1978. 

Pic of Maj Siraj Syed

Maj Siraj Syed

In 1965, Down Town Pindi Saddar had a different look. There were some old spots which were constantly visited by the young Army Officers. First spot was the Super’s Restaurant (famous for ice cream) run by the famous bald man Mukthar on Bank Road. Second was the famous Karim Samosa Wala where you could eat the best potato samosas and pink tea (opposite Standard Bank, now Habib Bank Ltd).

Unique Bakers, at the intersection of Kashmir Road and Bank Road, Rawalpindi Saddar

Unique Bakers replaced London Book Company.

In the 60s, Saddar was a neat and clean place where you could find VIPs in the evening without any security and protocol. During week-days before sunset you could find the most immaculately dressed gentleman with a felt hat matching his suit standing in front of London Book Company (Now replaced by Unique Bakers) at the intersection of Kashmir Road and Bank Road, admiring all the beautiful girls. He was the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. I have many times seen Mr. ZAB standing outside the book shop near the railing puffing in a cigarette. He always stood with one leg on the ground and the other on the curved railing. Now in 2013, after exactly 48 years, I visit my Physical Therapist regularly in a hospital in the USA, she makes me stand on one leg. After a minute I get tired and she makes me change to the other leg. This exercise tires me out completely in ten minutes. Surprisingly Mr. ZAB stood for hours together on one leg. I always remember Mr. ZAB when I am made to stand on one leg by my Physical Therapist.

Peak hours for admiring beautiful girls was one hour before sunset to two hours after sunset. The younger bachelor Army officers would come across their seniors many times and they normally tried to avoid them. The younger lot visited Saddar Pindi for fun whereas the seniors visited to find their life partners.

After this we would all go to the Pindi Club to socialize and thrice a week Tombola was played there. The younger lot created so much noise that the Anglo-Indian man who conducted Tombola would announce, “If you can’t behave like officers, then behave like gentlemen”.

Immediately after Tombola, the tables and chairs were moved to the sides and ball room dancing started off. At 12 in the night the club would close and we headed back home.

On Sundays the same beautiful Down Town (Saddar) was full with booksellers selling old books and rehri walas (Carts) selling different items like clothes or food.

Odeon Cinema and Plaza Cinema ran English movies. These two cinema houses were in one big yard opposite where Askari Bank/AWT Plaza is now located on the Mall.

During those days the Down Town (Saddar) was immaculately clean and the Station Commander was the overall in charge. Col Mustafa was the in charge for many years.

Pindi, I miss you a lot.

Related Articles:
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi 
Photos of Rawalpindi 
Universities in Islamabad/Rawalpindi
Nostalgic Memories of Rawalpindi

Editor’s Note: If you have liked this page, then please share it on FacebookTwitter or any other social media.
If it is not inconvenient, please do write a brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”.
Visitors of this website are welcome to contribute their nostalgic articles about Rawalpindi by sending to: nativepakistan@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. Shame, Shame. Very sad to say that Old Officers were of that type, One officer mentioned he used to do Ball dancing & drinking at Rawalpindi Club. Was this the Army at that time?
    Extremely sad to know about these kind of stories from ‘BLOODY OLD OFFICERS’ like them. They just enjoyed their service.
    There is hell of difference between Officers of today and of that OLD ENGLISH-TYPE OFFICERS.
    Thanks ALLAH Pakistan Army has changed a lot.

    • Dear Rocket,
      I don’t see any mention of ‘drinking’ in the article. 🙁

      • Respected Editor SIR,
        There is mentioning of Ball dancing with girls, AND Yes Drinking is mentioned at the last, Officer is saying: “Raat ko tun ho kay sote thay”.
        I am a Young Officer, we are giving sacrifices. YOU people just used to drink, dance and enjoy your life. 🙁
        ALHAMDULILAH I am happy, I am not part of your generation.

        • Dear ‘Rocket’,
          I know the writer personally. He is a teetotler. He didn’t mention the word ‘tun’ in the Post. Another officer has written it in one of the comments.
          Anyhow, the author has mentioned the activities of early 60s. In 1976, when Gen Zia became COAS, all the Messes and Clubs were made ‘dry’ and no such activities were allowed after that.

        • Maj Siraj Syed (USA) says:

          I am surprised at the two comments on my article by Mr. ‘Rocket’. He says that he is a young officer and giving sacrifices. You are leading a peace time life and that is all because we the senior officers fought the wars in 1965 and 1971 and saved Pakistan.
          During my time, the Officers Mess was wet and did supply alcohol, but it was your choice to drink or not. I was brought up by parents who were religious and told me that alcohol was haram. Probably there were hardly 2 to 5 percent of officers who did not drink and I am one of them. I have been living in USA for over 38 years and I still do not drink, I have four children and they do not drink either.
          Now coming on to dancing, in Pakistan Military Academy there were British women who were specially hired by the Academy to teach us dancing and special periods were allocated for dancing every week. In those days during dinner nights in Officers Mess a toast was offered to the Queen and your wine glass was filled with wine or black tea which looked like wine.
          My children were born in USA and my oldest son served in the US Navy and was in the Nuclear Submarine. He took early retirement after 6 years and the Navy paid for his further education and he is an honor student in both mechanical and nuclear engineering. My children on their Birthdays at times go to a field close by and jump with their parachutes from Aircraft paying $400 for a jump.
          Going back to dancing, Mr ZAB one day had the Pindi Club reserved for himself and had brought about nearly 20 young beautiful girls and he would dance with each one in turn. He was also drinking a lot. We had made our rounds in Saddar and decided to go to Pindi Club. We were about 15 bachelors who moved together in Saddar and ended up at Pidi Club which offered great dinner. When we reached there the door of the Club was closed. We peeped inside and saw the beautiful girls waiting for Mr. Bhutto who was already tipsy. One bold guy among us, Lt Afzal, told us that we should go and dance with the girls. We bachelors pushed open the door and asked the girls for a dance and they agreed and we started dancing with them. Mr. Bhutto was extremely upset and started abusing us in probably all the languages he could speak.
          This matter was reported by Mr. Bhutto to President Ayub Khan. Our Base Comd was Col Jabbar who gave us a lecture that we should never do this again. I also believe that President Ayub Khan told Mr. Bhutto to have a Club in his own house. When Mr. Bhutto became the President of Pakistan, I flew him in helicopter on many occasions.
          Here in USA, I am a member of a club which has about 6,000 members and here we do a lot of water aerobics, ball room dancing, yoga, and there are lot of Cardio Machines, weights training, cycling, there are about 30 squash courts, pickle ball, rock climbing, massage therapy, physical therapy, etc. We have a big Bar where drinks and food is served. People are very health conscious and many people don’t drink.
          Fort Collins, Colorado is a College Town and a safe place. I have never locked the door even when I leave the home.
          Although I live in USA, me heart is still in Pakistan and the first thing I do is to read Dawn on the Internet and see what is happening to that wonderful country with corrupt leaders who are looting the country. Pakistan has actually been ruined by hypocrites like Gen Zia-ul-Haq, Nawaz Sharif and his family.

          • ROCKET Khan says:

            Maj Siraj, Sir.
            Assalamo Alaikum.
            I am sorry but no disrespect, we all respect our seniors from our hearts. But it is not right to say that we are not sacrificing right now. Almost every month a Young Officer of Army gets Shahadat. But the time you mentioned was the dark age of Army. It is very clear from your comment “Army Officers Lifestyle” at that time.
            We have tremendous respect for 65 and 71 veterans, but dancing with girls and drinking was allowed. Was it ISLAMIC ARMY at all?
            No political comments, Sir. Nawaz Sharif, etc. are hypocrites but Gen Zia was our Great General and Hero. He saved Pakistan Army from that Dark and Secular period, ALHAMDULILLAH.
            Sir, please don’t mind my words, I want to read your reply. Thanks.

            • Maj Siraj Syed says:

              Dear Mr. Rocket Khan,
              Assalamo Alaikum.
              Times have changed and will further change during your life time. Just a few years ago, could you ever imagine that PAF will be training Pakistani girls as fighter pilots or the Army will have a fighting force with women in them. Now Pakistan has women as Generals in the Army Medical Corps. In Sha Allah after next 25 to 30 years you may become the COAS of the Army and you may have women as your Principal Staff Officers like your CGS, AG, MS, etc, etc.
              Although I have never consumed Alcohol, that is because it was due to my parents teaching and my children raised in America are following my teaching. This may sound very strange and funny to you when I tell you that there a number of Saudi men and women who are very religious, but they consume alcohol and say it is grape juice. They fast during Ramdan and say 5 times prayers. After I took my voluntary retirement from the Army, I worked in Saudi Arabia for a year. In Jeddah I became very friendly with a young Saudi Merchant who invited me to his home. At about 11 pm I was ready to go back to my hotel. He said he wanted to entertain me with a show. His whole family and I went to his high walled Courtyard and music was playing and there were two Egyptian women who entertained us with Belly dancing. Every few minutes I was given KAHVA (tea).
              Remember one thing in life. Never criticize anyone who drinks or dances with girls. They are responsible for their actions and you never know that just before death, they may ask God for forgiveness and God may forgive them and send them to Heaven.
              I was the sole helicopter pilot with GOC 11 Div Gen Hameed throughout the 1965 War. Lt Col Zia-ul-Haq was the AQ. He was dug in deep and hardly came out twice during the entire War. He was later promoted and posted to Jordan to Command a Brigade. He had those troops killed.
              When Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was Prime Minister, in 1976 he was looking out to select a COAS for the Army visiting different Corps. He visited Multan where Zia-ul-Haq was commanding the Corps. Gen Zia did not request, but ordered all the Officers under his Command to bring their wives and grown up daughters to come in the most colorful dresses to receive the President at the Multan airport. One Officer who was my PMA Course mate told me that they had had done 2 to 3 rehearsals. ZAB had a soft corner for women. Gen Zia-ul-Haq was junior to 9 other Generals, who all were superseded and Gen Zia was selected as the COAS by Mr. Bhutto. Gen Zia was a very ambitious man who toppled ZAB and became the President.
              Mr. Rocket Khan, no more clarifications please. If I live for next two years, you can read my book captioned “ALL THAT I KNOW”. Khuda Hafiz!

  2. Faisal Tirmizi, USA says:

    With the shutting down of London Books and Broadway, an era came to an end in my beautiful hometown. Our family’s favourite was broasted chicken of Brodway. God bless you and your family Humayun Rashid Sahib for enriching our childhood.

    My neighbour and friend Mujahid Zubair used to walk home from St. Mary’s Academy Lalazar to home in Westridge opposite Kadir Motors. We used to play video games in Kashmirwallas Hotel enroute from the money saved from bus/suzuki fares.

    Pindi, unfortunately, is not a shadow of its past glories when it was one neat town between Jhelum and Indus.

  3. Jamil Ahmed says:

    I have very fond memories of old Pindi , I studied in Playway Junior school and Sir Syed School Mall Road. In Playway , Shahnawaz Bhutto was a year junior to me and was my younger brothers class fellow.
    I still remembergoing to the Esajee & Sons to get imported Chocolates with my parents. There was a famous bakery by the name of Imperial Bakery in Hathi chowk and was famous for its biscuits and Marshall bread. Supers Icecream used to make the best Chicken Sandwiches and fries besides their ever popular icecreams.
    The roads were clean and no enchroacments whatsoever were there. This was Pindi in its glorious years.

    • Zahiruddin Khan says:

      Jamil Sahib. What year were you in Sir Syed School. I also went to this school and did my maric in 1964. Capt. Niaz Sikander was the Principal and Capt. Wasif was the Vice Principal.

  4. Maj (R) Javed Khan Tareen, Avn (36 PMA) says:

    Rashid Cheema (Editor),
    Thank you for sending the link of this article by Maj Siraj Syed. It took me down memory lane, I have very fond recollections of our garrison town, Pindi. My first memory is of living in an army hut across Charring Cross back in 1953 as a boy of 7 and would get a ride with Gen Ayub Khan’s kids to go to school which was Station School, the eldest girl Nasim, wou1d get off at the Convent School. If I am not mistaken the Head Mistress was an English lady called Miss Goodlove and she had rabbits running about outside in the lawn.
    Later on when I was at Burnhall in Abbottabad, I would come down to catch a newly released film at Plaza or Odean, I vivdly remember coming down for the release of “Dr. No” in 1962. Some of the young toughs of the era were Aftab Shah, Jamshed Niazi and Meeru and they would always be hanging around in teddy pants and pointy shoes sporting long sideburns.
    Flashman’s was the posh Hotel of the time, on one end was a large statue of Queen Victoria and on the other side at the back was the Departmental Club where Anglo Indians ruled and hogged all the Saturday night dances.
    Then in 1969 I joined Army Aviation and the Aviation Mess on Peshawar Road was our home and what fun it was to be a young aviator, by then we had the Intercontinental Hotel on the Mall with its fabulous disco where young ladies in miniskirts and fashionable young blades kicked up their heels regularly, yes those were lovely times and seem like a dream now.

    • Zahiruddin Khan says:

      The name of the head mistress of Station School was Mrs. Spendlove and Mrs. Sale was the Vice principal. Three other teachers that I recall were Mrs. Barwick, Mrs. Stout and Mrs. Imam Din.

    • Maj Siraj Syed (17 PMA) says:

      Dear Maj Javed Khan Tareen,
      ASA.
      Col Rashid Cheema is doing a great service of bringing us together. How is the King of Chitral Sirajul Mulk and his family doing? Say hello to him cannot forget the most wonderful time we had in Army Aviation. One thing which my wife still remembers is when we were traveling from New York to Pakistan probably in the Jumbo of which you were the Captain. After take off you walked in the Isle and you saw me and you gave me a great army salute and took me and my wife into the Cockpit for nearly four hours and gave us the VIP seats for the rest of our journey to Pakistan. This was in 1981. Just imagine that 35 years have passed.
      Keep in touch and Khuda Hafiz.

  5. Dear Maj Siraj,
    A nostalgic article!! Please keep contributing more articles.

  6. I am Indian. Can’t believe this was Pakistan. How did you lose the plot?

  7. Sir, did you know that the first Indian pilot, Sardar Hardit Singh Malik was from Pindi? I have a small description about him here:
    http://www.rehan.com.pk/2014/02/sardar-hardit-singh-malik-first-indian.html

  8. Shahzad Malik, Karachi says:

    I also like Pindi!!!!

  9. Lt Col (R) Ajmal Mahmood (30 Long Course) says:

    Very interesting old memories. We must also remember the film intervals in the Plaza and Odeon cinemas on the Mall Road while sitting on the sofas/couch with white covers, a waiter would come to you, bend a little bit and ask you respectfully, “Sir, chaey ya cold drink?”

    “Chaey” was my usual reply. And then in 5 minutes he would appear again, with tea, sugar and milk in a tray. make the tea and then offer it with due respect.

    Also worth remembering is the World War II, old soldier, Brig (R) Rodham walking on the horse tracks sides on the Mall Road with an Army type camp stool. Then he would place the camp stool outside the cricket ground, put his very big buttocks on the stool and watch cricket match being played by any two Pindi teams.

    Also remember, men and women riding past on the horse tracks alongside the Mall Road, as we used to go walking to Saddar Bazar to make our hearts ‘Pishori’. Sitting on the benches in the Kirpa Ram Square ans watching young nurses going past in front of us was always an ‘Eyes opening’ moment.

    And whenever a person won the full house in Tambola at the pindi Club, he would tell the waiter to give a bottle of beer to the person calling the numbers. At mid night, he would go home ‘Tun’ because by then he had gulped 6 or 7 bottles of beer.

    What great days….

  10. John Newman says:

    I left ‘Pindi’ for UK in Feb. 1959, so my memories are a little earlier. I too attended St. Mary’s Cambridge School, when it occupied the old Holy Family Hospital. What a gracious, safe, fun time it was. The fun we enjoyed was simple and harmless.
    Yes, I remember Super’s Café well, especially the curry patties & mango ice-cream. I recall an occasion, while still a student, two friends & I visited Super’s with just enough money to pay for one patty & a cold drink. Needless to say the gentleman was willing, if a little grudgingly, to provide 3 plates & 3 straws. God Bless him.
    Broadway Bakery, I remember my grandmother always had her Christmas cake baked there, always under close supervision, to protect her secret recipe.
    Thank you all for bringing back some of the best years of my life.

    • Zahiruddin Khan says:

      Dear John,
      I also studied at St. Mary’s School and transferred to Sir Syed School on the Mall in 1962. What class were you then in 1969? My dad had a shop next to Super’s cafe and their specialty was tuti fruiti, 3 in one, besides mango ice cream.

  11. This was forwarded by a friend. and I enjoyed reading it especially since I am now writing a series of articles about the good old days – first one will be out soon, hopefully. I have noticed that all the replies are from male readers, so my perspective will be a little different, since I am a female. It may even be a little shocking, sadly, to the narrow mindset that now exists among our people!

    • Maj (R) Arshed Ahmed Butt, Sigs (1st SSC) says:

      Madam Ishrat, Welcome to this forum. It will be a pleasure to read your nostalgic account of Pindi. It belongs to all of us irrespective of any gender bias. Waiting eagerly for your nice article. Regards!

  12. MAS Jaffri says:

    Pindi, My favorite city. Spent golden years in Gordon College from 1963-65. The College’s Jubilee hall was center of cultural activitities. Gordonians will remember the old retired military guy whose appearance to open the curtains of hall will accompany a lot of applause with slogans ” Muchh ” as he had big mustache. Kashmir road in Saddar looked very wide and in winter time, you would like to look for cover to avoid strong cold winds. I do not exactly remember the name probably silver grill was located in front of GPO considered a posh sitting place. Many yeas later, I was serving in KKH construction project close to Mansehra. Officers will often amuse with drama played in super Ice cream Cafe. One officer who used to be on leave would visit cafe to witness reaction of Mr Mukhtar in response to telephone call from long distance. Some body will call and following conversation will follow.”

    Caller: Hello is this Super Ice cream cafe?
    Reply : Yes .
    Caller: Who is speaking ;
    Reply : I am the owner .
    Caller: Sir I like to book a big order.
    Reply : You are welcome.
    Caller : Sir your ice cream is very tasty.
    Reply: Al-Hamdolillah.
    Caller: Sir how you make it. Do you make it on your tind (bald head).

    On this Mr Mukhtar will bend down behind the counter and burst with worst type of abuses. He would like to avoid the drama to be witnessed by customers in Cafe but in strong passion will forget all norms. The officer present as witness will later describe the full details on return to his unit.

  13. Albert Dean says:

    An elegant description of Rawalpindi as it was in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. At that time Pindi was so clean that walking on the Mall road in the areas of Pindi Club, Flashmans hotel and beyond, felt as if one were walking in a beautiful park full of green trees, hedges and flower beds. Yes I remember Super restaurant where the most tasty ice cream called ‘tutti-frutti’ was served. Next to this was Kamran restaurant where I and other Medical representatives would gather in the morning to have the most delicious expresso coffee. Later in the evening most medical representatives would visit Shezan restaurant on Kashmir road opposite the GPO, to gossip over the finest tea and lemon tarts. These are indeed golden memories of yester years.

  14. Would like to hear from anyone who has memories of portrait artist Hal Bevan Petman.

    • Zahiruddin Khan says:

      Mr. Yusuf,
      There is a Facebook page for Hal Bevan Petman developed by someone I know. I still remember him visiting Saddar in his black car along with his wife, also an accomplished still life painter. Bevan’s specialty was portraits. Summers in Golf Club Murree and the balance in Rawalpindi Club.

  15. Zeeni Zahid says:

    As everyone said very nostalgic article and very nicely compiled, only one more thing I would like to add in late 70s another trend was started. We started eating burgers known as anday-waala-burger this was omelet kabab burger. This guy used to stand with a big tawa on his stall on which he used to make burger. He used to be at the back of Ceros cinema where there was famous dahi bhalla chaat and juice corner.

  16. Maj (r) Parvez Mahmood, Arty (41st PMA L/C) says:

    I was born in Rawalpindi in Aug 1947, I am grateful to Maj Siraj for such a wonderful effort. Yester years flashed back after going through the article. I still remember teasing “Gunja” guy of the Super Ice cream who used to take the phone under the table and cursed the callers, other friends sitting there used to enjoy that. Karim samosas are still there. Someone mentioned the Barfi of Babu Mohalla, the guy still makes that but has shifted on the opposite road near Kamran Market by the name of Rasheed Sweets. His Kulfa is also famous, now he has outlets in Satellite Town Commercial Centre, in Bahria Town and also in Islamabad.
    Most of the sons of Army guys (including me) used to study in Saint Mary’s Cambridge School on Murree Road. Earlier it housed the Old Holy Family Hospital. Saddar used to be frequented daily by young officers posted in Pindi, just to raise their “morale” and go back to their respective messes.
    Pindi Club used to be full of activity. Beer, direct from the keg, was a treat for those who enjoyed it.
    Nowadays it is a challenge to visit these places due to the unplanned construction, encroachments and the flood of traffic. People at my age prefer to stay away from such noisy and crowded areas but we still love our Rawalpindi.

    • Maj Siraj Syed (17th PMA) says:

      Dear Maj Pervaiz Mahmood,
      ASA.
      I would have written more about Rawalpindi and I feel discouraged to do so when people instead of appreciating my article of Rawalpindi start attacking. I am under severe pressure to disclose some more on Mr. Muktaar of Super’s Restaurant. I can recollect the setting or layout of his shop. He had family cabins which was a place for love birds to sit in and was a dating place. Ever so often, Mr. Mukhtar would duck down beneath his counter and cooks, waiters and customers had a great time. Mr. Mukhtar had had a very good control on the kitchen staff and waiters so that there was to pilferage. Once he ducked down, it was a hay day for his staff as they would eat all they can when Mr. Mukhtar was under the counter and he spent a lot of time cursing the caller who called him GANJA. My best friend who retired as a Lt Gen would make me sit in Super’s and he would go into the next shop which was a Bookstore and ignite Mr. Mukhtar by calling him Ganja and cursing him and he would immediately come back and sit with me just near the counter and Mr. Mukhtar went non stop for 5 to 10 minutes. One thing great about Mr. Mukhtar was that he had a great vocabulary of abuses different for men and different for women. He would never use the same curses again but had new ones. Any good writer can make or compile a dictionary of his abuses.
      Once I was admitted at Officers Ward of CMH Rawalpindi. My room was just across from the Nurses’ Station. We the patients were supposed to go to bed before 9 pm. I was disturbed by noises at probably 11 pm. I went outside my room and saw a group of nurses around a telephone. They got upset seeing me but I was inquisitive and wanted to know what was going on. They told me that they got bored in the night and had nothing to do, so they called Mr. Mukhtar for entertainment and they enjoyed the abuses. Even other nurses called Mr. Mukhtar from the nurses mess for enjoyment.
      One of my best friend was Officer Commanding of Cantt General Hospital and one of his duties was to check food in all eating places and also to check the cleanliness of Rawalpindi Cantonment area. I was living with him, so he always took me along with him on his inspection tours and no one would charge anything in all the eating places including Inter Continental (now Pearl Continental) Hotel. The Manager of PC had a permit for alcohol which was served for foreigners only. He would offer that to us but neither I nor my friend drank.
      We always enjoyed the Lamb Curry, Roast from a shop which was near the Kamran Market.
      Will contribute more nostalgic articles about Rawalpindi,

      • Maj Siraj,
        Sadly religiosity has had a large role in making people like Mr. Rocket intolerant. Our armed forces have also been affected and now consider expressions like being an officer and gentleman alien to the prevailing culture of in your face piety which allows you to be cruel, boorish and hypocritical while stressing on taboos and dogma. You have rekindled fond memories and we all owe you a word of thanks, be well.
        Javed Khan

  17. Syed Abid Salam says:

    I am a born Pindiite, most friends will be surprised to know my place of birth was a room of old Holy Family Hospital, later Bursars office of my old School, St. Mary’s Cambridge School, Murree Road. I lived next to officers family ward, a house allotted to my father on Church Road who served in GHQ at that time. I like to mention here whenever I visited Broadway Bakery with my parents we had pleasure to meet Mr. Humayun Rashid’s father who was a palmist and offered his services as a friend to his customers. This is something to reflect on values, norms of old Pindi.

  18. Javed Khan says:

    I still remember the wonderful samosas and pink tea with the “kartoos and dahi” chutney especially after the basketball practice at the GHQ grounds.

  19. Philip Utarid says:

    Hi, nice ones of yesteryears, I would only add the famous chicken sandwiches & cold coffee whipped with ice cream ball in it of the famous Shezan restaurant. Of course the pink tea (Kashmiri chai) of Karim samosa wala was also on the hit list of eats at the Bank Road. The most famous burfi was available for those who knew the hidden alleys of Baboo mohallah opposite the old CCMA bldg where one used to go for his pension settlement.

    With the Afghan refugees influx in the 70s most of the charm has filtered away. I spent time in Pindi from 1956 to 60 & was lucky to have studied at St. Mary’s Cambridge School on Murree Road, under Fr Byrne. Still remember his motto “repetition is the mother of all studies”.

    • Hi Phllip,
      I am Kamal Khan who used to be in the same class as yourself at St. Mary’s Murree Road. I remember Aubrey Lovett, Kevin Da Cunha and you were the first to sing early Elvis Presley songs (back in the late 1950s) in the class, drumming away on the seats of chairs. Very amusing. I remember Fr Byrne and Mr. Rogers who used to teach us well and cane us when we were naughty. I, too, have very fond memories of the school and Pindi. Our other classmates were Niaz and Micky Husain (whom I still am in touch with), Irfan Rasool (Tiddi), Raza Haider Zaidi, Shabaz Ali, Imtiaz Ahmed and Kaiser. It will be great to hear from you after all these years.
      Best regards
      Kamal

  20. Sajid Baig says:

    Sir, a nostalgic article, brings back good old days.

  21. Maj (R) Arshed Ahmed Butt, Sigs (1st SSC) says:

    A very nice nostalgic article written by Maj Siraj. Lote aa aye gardish-e-ayyam tu!!
    Thanks for sharing sweet memories of Pindi.

  22. Hasan Jawaid (USA),1st SSC says:

    Major Siraj,
    Although I was from Karachi but enjoyed every moment of my posting, sport activities and courses in Pindi, particularly, places you have mentioned in your article. Probably late 70s and early 80’s weren’t any different and landscape hadn’t changed much. But what a fun place it was. It offered good food, delicious ice cream, great patissa,….. and much more – restaurants, clubs, nice hang-outs, etc.
    Sir, please continue writing, as it walks us back the memory lane. Never thought for a moment though that reminiscing would be so pleasant.

    • Hasan Jawaid (USA),1st SSC says:

      Col Cheema,
      Three cheers to you for re-uniting and connecting all of us after decades of separation. While it is entertaining, it provides tacit knowledge and information that would have otherwise remained hidden deep inside us. There was a void that I always felt after hanging my boots (cleats) and I am sure most might have felt the same way but didn’t know how to fill that gap. And, Col Cheema you have filled that void by creating this wonderful site. Kudos to you, good job and keep up the good work.

  23. Humayun Rashid, Canada says:

    Thank you for a good article of a simple but refined and civilized Pindi of the old days.

    Maj Siraj also mentions Col Mustafa as Station Commander……what a great man. I was a young kid and went to Station School with his youngest son. Col Mustafa’s wife was Mr. Bhutto’s sister (I believe). She was a very kind lady and really looked after us as kids. She would encourage her son to visit our Broadway Bakery and learn the value of hard work and entrepreneurship from my parents.

    Col Mustafa used to run a tight ship and all the gutters (nalies/drains) were cleaned every day by the Cantt staff in Saddar with chuna (lime chalk) on the sides. The people involved in food production in bakeries were regularly vaccinated and surprise hygiene checks were done quarterly. His contribution to a clean and civilized Cantonment was a great one and without any fanfare for himself.
    I have a picture of Col Mustafa in the archives and will try to send it to Col Cheema for posting on the blog.

    • Lt Col (R) Rashid Zia Cheema says:

      Mr. Humayun, I will wait for the pic of Col Mustafa. I am also waiting for you article about your father’s Broadway Bakery.

  24. Lt Col (R) Zafar Mustafa says:

    After commissioning in Sep 1958 I was posted to a unit in Westridge and our Mess was the same which later came to be known as Aviation Mess. Later we moved to Kharian but in 1961, I attended All Arms Signal course in Pindi and remember young Bhutto standing every evening where Maj Siraj has mentioned. Saddar was a nice place to spend the evenings.

  25. Saqib Malik, Central Africa says:

    I have some good memories of my childhood in Rawalpindi. My father was working in Pak Railway. He took us to these areas. My elder brother Akhtar Malik now Lt Col (Rtd) was very fond of watching English movies in Plaza and Odeon Cinemas. Some time he also took me and my other elder brothers to these cinemas. My elder brother Akhtar Malik and so many other relatives have settled in Pindi. I am residing in Central Africa but when I go to Pakistan my first landing is always in Rawalpindi.

  26. Lt Col Naeem Ahmed Khan ( Retd ), 2nd SSC says:

    Good addition in articles written in memory of Rawalpindi.

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