Remembering Khan Cafe at Kamran Market, Saddar, Rawalpindi

By Mehmud Ahmed (Canada)

Editor’s Note: Mr. Mehmud Ahmed is 81 years old former journalist who has settled in Canada since five years. He lived in Pindi during 1948-52. Then moved to Quetta. Later, he worked in Rawalpindi for 10 years with the Pakistan Times.

Mehmud Ahmed

Mehmud Ahmed

Rawalpindi Pictures: Chowk near Kamran Market, Saddar, Rawalpindi - Photos, Images of Rawalpindi

Kamran Market, Saddar, Rawalpindi

Maj (R) Hasan Jawaid in his recent article My Cherished Memories of Rawalpindi has mentioned about some inexpensive restaurants in Rawalpindi Saddar where he used to dine during the early 1970s. That also reminds me of a reasonably priced restaurant in Saddar which served quality BBQ stuff. I frequently visited that eatery in the late 1960s and enjoyed the delicious food.  This small shop became popular and attracted larger crowds as the word went round. It was Cafe Khan; a small restaurant located 100 yards away from the Danny’s High School on the corner of Kamran Market opposite the Babu Mohallah lane. Gradually as its kababs, tikka, chicken karahi, chholay and naans became popular, it attracted sizable crowds.

The owner was a very talkative young man who entertained his customers by his continuous discourse on politics and latest news while their orders were being prepared. The clientele expanded so much that he had to stock a large number of folding chairs and tables that were set on the side-walk of the road and for those who came there via the “Murree Brewery” in the lane (now called Saif Ullah Lodhi Road) between Kamran Market and Danny’s High School in the late hours of the night.

I live in Canada since last five years and don’t know whether Khan Cafe is still there or not. I still adore the delights served by that small little restaurant with a price tag which was not a burden on the pocket of middle class people like me. Next time I visit Pakistan, I will definitely have food at Khan Cafe, if it still exists.

Related Pages:
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi
Photos of Rawalpindi 

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  1. Farhan Ali says:

    Yes, it was called Burton Road, this name is also mentioned in old registries of houses. I still live there, my house is first if you enter from Murree Road.

    • M. Azam Niazi says:

      Isn’t that converted to a plaza? Sometimes I do pass by it. My maternal grandfather’s house was 138-Saifullah Lodhi Road. Now demolished. I still have pics of that. A beautiful piece of architecture, constructed in 1938 by one Ram Narain Dhon.

  2. Jamil Ahmed says:

    Gen. sahib if you recollect one on my uncles Mr.Ahmed Ali Lotia used to live on the corner of the road and we frequented their house because they had a swing and a seasaw in their lawn.

    • I remember going to their house as a 5-6 year old. If I am not wring they had a small slide too. There was another Mr. Fazal Lotia on the other end of the Lodhi Road.Now both Lotia’s plots have multi-storied buildings under construction.

  3. Azam Niazi says:

    Great article indeed. Yes, the road was most probably called Burton Road, can confirm if you like. Also I can send a few street pics of old building like Kamran Market. A little confusion here, Do you mean the road connecting Kamran Market – Fiaz Motor Workshop-CB College and Saifullah Lodhi Road was called Murree Brewery Road? Never heard so. Are you sure, Sir?

  4. Lt Gen (R) M. Kamal Akbar (Eye Specialist) says:

    I lived in the house next to Denny’s School on SaifUllah Lodhi Road from 1951 to 1997.However,I have never heard about the “Murree Brewerey” connection. I think Khan Cafe is probably still there but nobody talks about it. Jahangir Balti is most known.

    Like almost all Denny’s school students, Mahmud may also have raided the “khatta” citrus fruits from our trees. The house is now knocked down for sale. There is another school(St. John’s) at the Murree Road end of Saifullah Lodhi Road. It is now a frequently used road for wagons, etc especially when other roads are blocked.

    • Mehmud Ahmed (Brampton, Canada) says:

      The period when Khan Cafe sprung on the Kamran Market corner was in late 1960′s. It drew more clients as the Intercontinental Hotel designated a ‘Happy Hour’ and Khan Brothers, next to the GPO in Saddar gained thriving business. This was at the advent of the reign of Agha Yahya Khan Qizilbash and it reminded me of a line from a famous Persian couplet:
      “Eein daur-e-Shah Shujah asst maiy dilair ba-noush”

      This freedom with those of others, disappeared when the Royal Salute drinking ZAB ascended the throne in Islamabad and one day realised that he had to enforce the first part of his Manifesto if not the remaining about Roti, Kaprra aur Makan and he thrust prohibition down the throat of terrorized hapless Pakistani nation and let loose boot-legers. How this came to the benefit of the Khan cafe owner is best told in Punjabi in which he described it to me.

      I did not partake of the Khattas from the house of Kamal Akbar Sahib because I had passed that age and had better things to do.

  5. Ali Khan says:

    Murree Brewery? I wonder why Saif Ullah Lodhi Road was called that, lived there for a long time.

    • That was named after your cousin Saif Ullah Lodhi (A PAF officer) who got shahadat in 1965 War. Your brother Lt Gen M. Kamal Akbar initiated the change of name of this road.

      By the way, was it called Burton Road before its name was changed?

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