This film is part of Free

Promise of Pakistan

Sword-dancing Patans, burqa-clad women, modern irrigation methods, a free press and a new airport: this film portrays the Pakistan of 1950 as a vibrant blend of ancient and modern.

Documentary 1950 18 mins


From the sight of the Pak Mail Express steaming out of Karachi station en route for Lahore and Peshawar, to the border patrols in the mountains passes of Kashmir, this positive appraisal of Pakistan presents a picture of a modern nation with deep-rooted ancient traditions. Doctors, scientists and teachers live in a country where white oxen plough fields and chapatis are cooked on stones in villages where headmen still settle local disputes.

This March of Time film accurately portrays the Pakistan of 1950 as a pluralistic new country: culturally diverse and outward looking but deriving unity and purpose from its Muslim heritage. The emphasis on a free press, education, industrialisation and footage of the new airport at Karachi contrasts with the rural lifestyle of most of the country’s inhabitants. The political uncertainty that characterised Pakistan in the 1950s is hinted at by the film’s sections about the dispute with India over Kashmir. Footage of a meeting between the Prime Ministers of both countries - Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan - shows how relations had improved following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947-48. Made for the UK edition only.