Blast from the Past

On our recent trip to Pakistan, we had a couple of things in mind to get in touch with the past. One of these was to document, photographically, all the places with which we had some association in our past. We didn’t succeed completely. For one thing, we didn’t remember everything. For another, places have changed. And finally we didn’t have enough time.

Anyway, here are a few photographs of places as they look now which, in some cases, is very different from how they looked when we were there.

Hospital where we were born This is the hospital where both Amber and I were born. As I don’t remember the specific building, we took a photograph of the hospital complex from the street.
My First Home This is where I spent the first few years of my life.
Amber's First Home Amber spent her childhood here.
Sir Syed School My primary school. I spent less than 2 years here, but this is the start of my schooling.
F.G. School No.5 Amber’s middle/high school (Grades 6-10). She has fond memories of her time there.
My Home Again This is the home where I have spent the maximum time, 10 years. I was a teenager here. The house doesn’t look well-maintained, though it was fairly new when we lived here.
Sir Syed College My high school (Grades 9-12).
Playground My high school playground where there were dozens of football (soccer), cricket and basketball games during break time.
Ordnance Club This place is called Ordnance Club, though it has nothing to do with ordnance, other than the fact that it is owned by Pakistan Ordnance Factories. I learned to swim here and played tennis as well. You can see the squash courts on the extreme left. I wanted to take pictures of the pool or the tennis courts but there was some construction going on.
F.G. Postgraduate College for Women Amber did her F.Sc. (Grades 11-12) here.
Honda CD70 My first motorized ride. I got it on finishing high school. It was a fun ride and I was about the only guy wearing a helmet in Pakistan. In fact, my helmet cost about 10% of the motorcycle price.
Electrical Engineering, UET, Taxila Electrical Engineering building at the university Amber and I attended.
UET Taxila Library Our university library did not have much in its collection, but it was the only place with full-blast air-conditioning in the summer. So it was very popular.
Amber's old home Amber lived here before we got married.
POF Hotel This is where Amber and I got married.
Our home Amber and I lived here before coming to the US.

As you can see, there is a lot missing. May be we’ll cover some more places in our next trip.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. As a fellow Sir Syedian/Taxalian/resident of Wah, it was great to see these pics…

    POF Hospital, POF Hotel and Sir Syed haven’t changed much at all, but the Electrical department at UET Taxila now has an additional floor, not to mention much fancier labs…

    Don’t really know the places where you lived but here are a few wild guesses:

    The place where you spent your first few years: lots of such places around Central Park/West Park…

    The place where Amber spent her childhood: Area 21 or 22?

    The places where you lived before getting married: Your place seems vaguely familiar… the construction suggests it was built in the late 70s, plus or minus a few years, so it could well be in the first few lanes in Lala Rukh (my own place is in Lane 1)… Amber’s looks even more familiar… I have the feeling its right on Minar Road (better known as Qabristan Road)…

    The place where you lived before coming to the US: Again, could be anywhere in Lala Rukh or Officer’s Colony…

    So how right am I?

    Once again, great pics!

  2. Mr Umar
    Delighted to know another person from Wah Cantt. The place where Zakaria lived 5 and a half years after his birth was on Grevillea Road later renamed as Anarkali Road (Central Park). The place where he lived more than 10 years is behind Nazim ud Din House on Gulnater Road (Central Park). The place he lived in before leaving for USA is not in Wah Cantt but in Sector F-8, Islamabad. Your guess about Amber is very near to the right answer.

  3. Nice to know you too sir… I’ve lived in Wah only for the last eleven years, but both my parents grew up and lived in Wah, all the way from the 50s to the 80s…

    I’ll be leaving the place soon though… I’ll be joining Pennsylvania State University in August for my doctoral studies, (Computer Science and Engineering department), if things go according to plan with the visa… I try not to think about it though, because I know I’ll burst into tears the day I finally leave… the place has been good to me… in a lot of ways though, its good to be leaving now… Wah isn’t what it used to be…

  4. Great. That is what I wanted to know. Names of some of the places and also the condition of educational institutions now.

    I have a passing interest with Wah, my Khaloo used to live there for quite a while (they have moved to NJ a while back) and when I was at Quaid e Azam University I used to visit them a lot. Nice place…and as far as I could tell nice people too.

  5. Incidentally, I got married at POF Hotel too… actually I got married in Islamabad and the valima was held at POF Hotel, but close enough… the hall used for marriages is HUGE, isn’t it?

    My son was born seven months ago at POF Hospital… not the cleanest, most well-equipped place around, but there’s a team of experienced doctors around all the time, and that puts your mind at ease…

  6. Umar: Your guesses were not far off the mark.

    the Electrical department at UET Taxila now has an additional floor, not to mention much fancier labs

    If I recall correctly, I never had any classes in the Electrical Department building (though Amber did). It was built during my last year there (or thereabouts). Our classrooms were in a building that’s gone now and in its place is a road.

    When we visited UET Taxila this past winter, there was a lot of construction going on.

    Bloggers.Pakistan: Thanks for letting me know.

    Yahya: Thanks for your comment.

  7. Yeah I heard about that building… never saw it though, much before my time (1999-2003)… all that existed in its place was a wall with MSF and Jamiat slogans…

  8. So you lived in Wah Cantt as well and probably did ur electrical engineering from E&ME.

    By the way nice pics , it might have refereshed ur memories!!!

  9. Funbie: Thanks.

    probably did ur electrical engineering from E&ME.

    No, from what was then University College of Engineering, Taxila.

    Renee: Thanks.

  10. Oh quite a nice post … and everything looks so islamabadi islamabadi 🙂 (well, wah taxila are quite near to it tooo)

    Good one !

  11. This post has brought together several persons having soft corner for Wah.
    When I joined POF, Wah in 1963, it used to be a nice, neat & clean, well organized town with people living like one family. People used to laugh and mourn together, especially, funerals were attended by everybody but no resident of Wah would eat at the house of the deceased. Neighbours used to provide food to the bereaved family for three days or more.
    The trouble started in 1970 and now Wah is a town of strangers with broken streets and dirty areas.

  12. I guess that you snapped POF Hospital while driving on the Mall and with a second’s delay missed most of the building! Any way, the block in which you were born is not visible from the Mall because of new construction. You should have snapped from other side after entering the hospital.

  13. For Mr Yahya

    Not Yahya, it was the Quaid-e-Awam-in-making, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who trained the youth to go astray.

  14. Dad:

    I guess that you snapped POF Hospital while driving on the Mall and with a second’s delay missed most of the building!

    We were actually on the service road.

  15. I can second Mr. Ajmal’s remarks about the old Wah… my grandfather joined POF right after it came into existence, in the 50’s… the stories I get to hear from my parents, aunts and uncles paint a very different picture from the Wah of today… even as late as ten or fifteen years back, I could find senior citizens who would tell me all about my grandfather and father when they found out who I was… all that is missing now… like Mr. Ajmal said, its a town full of strangers… and the streets really are filthy now…

    Oh well… All Things Must Pass, as the late George Harrison said… 🙁 …

    Can’t say much about Mr. Bhutto though… he died long before my birth…

  16. Hi,

    A long time back I went to the same school as yours.. Sir Syed School Wah Cantt… and like you I am also an Electrical Engineer.

    I have had so many fond memories of Wah. I tried twice to photograph the school but unfortunately the security guard didnt let me. Thank you so much for the pictures.

    Going down the memory lane is perhaps not that easy. As much as I enjoyed the pictures, I couldn’t help think how good the childhood days were… Life is not bad even now… but its much better when you are a kid.

    By the way which year were you there at the school?



  17. Fakhar:

    I tried twice to photograph the school but unfortunately the security guard didnt let me.

    The guard did accost me but I explained to him that I was an alumnus plus I quickly took most of the photographs.

    By the way which year were you there at the school?

    I was there in 1975-76 in pre-I and class 1 and then again 1984-88 in classes 9-12.

  18. I guess we were both there at the same time. I thnk I joined the school in 75 and left in 78 when my family moved to Lahore.

    Did you by any chance, happen to know Assad ul Hafeez… He used to be a very good friend of mine but once I moved to Lahore, I could never get in touch with him again.


  19. Ahhhhhh!! Sir Syed College and goal building…. i have spent 10 years over there and have so many memories attached to that place. My teachers( there was not a single week when they don’t punish me for something), the pt master Shera (i wonder what he is doing now) but man i can tell you he used to make me run so much!!! I loved that place but as soon as i graduated the things changed over there. I love Wah Cantt thats where i lived all my life. I have heard about the plight of the Wah Cantt and i can’t believe what they have done to that place. It used to be so nice and peaceful. Well i guess i am going back there soon enough to see from my own eyes.

  20. What a blast from the past! I left Wah in 1996 for the last time but before that I had moved to Lahore for university education in 1989. I am sure I know you as I knew so many people there. I went to your rival FG Public High School (class of ‘85). I have lovely memories of Wah but now the place is changed a lot. I went there in January this year but to be honest it is not the same. It feels gaudy and over-done. It used to be just right with clean straight streets, nice roads and loads and loads of greenery. I was born in POF hospital, went to Public, then Wah College (FG College), have some connection with the Science Degree College as well. Oh memories, memories. Each time I see Public School on Google Earth, it brings tears to my eyes. All those games of football, cricket, even baseball going on simultaneously, kids running around screaming carelessly and freely, sunshine (I live in the UK!), sitting in the sun along the school wall listening to cricket commentary on pocket radios, the disgusting school uniform that everybody despised, lovely teachers, the school canteen and ‘bun kabaab’ for 50 paisa. I want to go to Wah Cantt right now but I don’t want to see all the pink and yellow paint and the new Mall Road and all those shops etc. Thanks for this blog, it really brought tears to my eyes.

  21. Great to get across your blog. I am also from Wah Cantt. From Nursery to FSc, I was a Sir Syedian. Rather the first batch which created SOBA. I dont know it exists or not. Wonderful pics and it reminds me of the NEAT and CLEAN past.

    I Miss it too!

  22. hey it was awsome. i relived my precious days at Sir Syed college that i spent back in 1998-99. oh my gosh how much i am thankful ta ya. many thanx man. job well done!

  23. salam and hello i realy dont know at what time u guys were in wah i was there long time ago back in 1992 studied ten years in sirsyed school
    great time it was

  24. Salam……u all have brought stream of beautiful memories. i attended Sir Syed as well… Its been such a long time. I was trying to locate few of my friends on face book but no luck. I graduated from school in 1995 and then moved from Wah Cantt…..nice old days

  25. Hi ,i qualified from this quality institution in 1989-90 batch.studied for good 10 years there.Excellent teachers like sir muzzamil,miss erum, miss haleema, qazi sahab and over and above sir liaquat as principle. later i joined pakistan navy and still there. wah cantt is in my heart and will be always…….

  26. Such nice pictures…took me to my past. I lived in Wah, from late 70s to 1989. I did Fsc from Sir Syed High school in 1988. I was trying to locate some old friends from Wah…hopefully I will run into some. You must have passed Fsc in 86?

  27. @faisal
    Faisal, all these were my teachers too. I finished my Fsc in 88. We may have been class fellows… Where did you use to live? I lived in Officers colony… Among teachers, do you remember Hafiz sahab, shah ji, multi and sajid sahab?

  28. @Zack
    Zack, Sorry, actually I did metric in 1988 and did my Fsc in 1990. So you must be 2 years senior. And you are rt about Sajid sahib…he used to teach chemistry.

    Since you lived on Gulnaster rd, do you know Hafeez Qureshi or Sadiq saheb? They used to live on the same rd.

  29. Well, i did my matric from sir syed school back in 1984. Since then i haven’t visited the place. But in my memories i cant forget Miss erum, afshan and haleema. Any one know about there present location?

  30. This is Shehla Kayani, we were in Wah Cantt longgggggggggggg time back. I am talking of late 80’s, i was in primary section which was headed by Mrs Qamar. She was an adorable and lovely person. My brother Sajjad and sister Saadia were also there in the same school both of them did their matriculation from same school. But i studied there till 9th grade.My younger bro Ahmed Farid only studied till 2nd grade. We all have very fond memories of our very own school Sir Syed High School. I have a suggestion that there must be a reunion of all old Sir Syedian, so that we get to meet all our old friends. Hope to see my suggestion come true.

  31. Its good to know so many students have good memories from Sir Syed School. I have attented that institute from 1968 till 1974 and Liaqat Sahib used to be our Physics teacher and Principal Used to be SQN LDR Mr N A Beg who brought a lot of displine in that envoienment. I wonder if Liaqat Sahib are still in that institute and if any one can provide his email address.

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