Dr. Abdus Salam [email protected]
1. A-1 literally means the best. A -One House is the number one house of block A. It is at the north east end of Burq Road near Raees Khana. It was purchased by Haji Hayat in 1971. He was Nana of Colonel Dr. Firdous Hakeem of Musa Kudlathi. Earlier Hayat Sahib lived in Mehrpura. Firdous stayed with them during FSc in 1975. Firdous says.
My nana used to go to sleep immediately after Isha prayer. By 10 pm it was his midnight. My Nani used to get up at 12 midnight for Tahajjud prayers. A-1 was very close to Station and at 9:30 pm Khyber express whistled. Listening whistle, my nana ji used get up and asked me to go to sleep. She didn’t like late night study. Haji Hayat Sahib passed away in 1981 and Nani Jan died in 1997 when I was in Khuzdar. I couldn’t attend her funeral. Present occupant of A-1 is family of Late Altaf Hayat (my uncle).
2. The Sheikhs are Agriculturist Tribe (1) and own 10 villages in Attock Tehsil (2). They are educationally much advanced being an early starter (3) According to unreliable sources in Attock city roughly the 50 percent people are Sheikh and other fifty percent are blind. If you shout in Bazar…Sheikh Sahib. You will find that half of the crowd will respond.
Ji Bismillah Ki Hukum Aey.
جی بسم اللہ …کی حکم اے
And just put the cot in street and start tightening its foot-side rope(داون).
Every second passerby will ask, Bukhari Sahib what are you doing (کی پئے کرنے او). It proves that half of the population is blind.
3.Rao Mukhtar met me at Wah Cantt. He was teacher of economics in a commerce college. A Siddiqui Sheikh from Attock was the principal. One day Sheikh Sahib remarked, Rao Mukhtar you are very mild and compromising unlike your family background. Rao Mukhtar replied, Sir, I have done Masters in Economics and this is Sheikhon Wala Subject (شیخوں والا مضمون). That is why you find me compromising.
4. Dalda Ghee was available in 5Kg, two and a half Kg and teddy one Kg tin with a lid. It was then ready to be used as kitchen container item. Teddy meant small / smart like teddy Paisa.
5. Amin Bhaya was from Maula Bhaaya family. He was the only one from family who ran a vegetable shop in Fawara Chowk. His son Ishfaq Amin was teacher in Pilot School and his son in law Ahmad Zubair was junior to us in GC Attock.
6. Near Crescent medical hall there was a chacha repairing crockery. He repaired broken teapots, cups and plates. These repaired items were even seen in the hotels.
A tinsmith shop was near Chhota Dak Khana Siddiqui Road. He fixed handles to Dalda tins and large canisters to carry water. He fixed lids to tin to make them kitchen storage container.
7. Shahbaz at Middle School was a cinema fan and often talked about films. I wondered how the film makers will name a new film when the whole vocabulary will get exhausted. New film was advertised by Tonga. A Dhol beater performed to attract the attention as the Tonga moved on. Large posters covered the sides of Tonga. Munir from Sarwala was our class fellow. He later opened a shop in Meena Bazar. It was a news that his father Farooq Sahib performed in film Zarqa.
Meena Bazar shops were wooden structures. This bazar was the first official violation of the original town plan. But even then, the shops were orderly and symmetrical. Two odd shops in Meena Bazar were baba Lahori Di Hatti (hardware store) and Khalid Book Depot
8. Bhakri Street Attock (بھاکری سٹریٹ اٹک), Tariq Manzoor grandson of Baba Elahi Bakhsh Kashmiri of Aminabad met Dr. Abdus Salam in October 2016 at Islamabad. He says there were about eight hand looms in Bhakri Street. The production was Durry (درّی), Khais (کھیس) and cloth. The weavers were of Bhakri caste. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. (Vol-3) -page 200 says— At Pakpattan (Montgomery) there are two ‘ castes ‘ of weavers, one is called Bhakri, the other Paoli (پولی – پاؤلی).
Qazi Wajahat Ashraf says, Bhakri Street is on back side of my house. It joins Qadir Street to the west. There were hand weaving looms. The family living there was Jaulaha (جولاہا). Abdur Rauf and Hafiz Sikandar Din were weaver. I have myself seen Hafiz Sb weaving cloth.
Note please, Bhakri weavers are not to be confused with Bhakri Naqvi of Kamilpur Syedan.
Siddiqia Masjid has entrance on Bhakri St. 8 and Qazi Wajahat St. 7. People earlier trespassed through masjid. Qazi Wajahat Sahib built new ablution place in masjid which effectively ended this practice. During my stay St.5 near Bijli Ghar, three mosques were equidistant from my house. I frequently offered prayer at Bilal masjid and at times visited Siddiqia or Alam Din masjid. I quite often visited Qazi Wajahat house. Nameplate of his father graced the house for a longtime. His parents are buried in the graveyard west of Siddiqia masjid. Qari Iqbal sahib was the Imam. Elahi Bakhsh Kashmiri Sahib was a decent personality and Kullah added to his grace. He retired from military dairy farm. He was a Tablighi elder. One of his sons (Late Mehboob Elahi AKA Seemi Haran Walaسیمی ہاراں والا ) had shop in Meena bazar and also agency of Shama Moimma crossword. Chacha Qurban was special assistant to Qazi Wajahat sahib at college / home. One of his sons was Junior Commission Officer in Education Corps.
9. Vaisakhi 1975, I was free after FSc exam and was waiting for admission in medical college. I went to Hasan Abdal on Vaisakhi. At that time security was not a main concern. So, I entered Panja Sahib quite smoothly. Saw hand, the Panja Sahib engraved on a stone at the sidewall of water tank. Names of donors were written on the marble tiles. Granth Sahib was being read in a room in the center of the water tank.
Then came the visit to Wali Qandhari (ولی قندھاری) summit, an essential part of Baisakhi event. Midway was a water point and the man on duty asked me, whether I was Muslim or Sikh. He had different glasses for different religions.
The spring water leaving Panja Sahib passes through a masjid. The ablution places & bathrooms are built on the flowing water. It is a real luxury to have bath in the flowing water. Leaving the Masjid, the same water is used to run a water mill. Rawalpindi- Attock bus had a 30 minutes stop at Hasan Abdal. We enjoyed Pikora and offered prayers. A scent vendor always visited the bus.
10. Kanji House was near new Hostel GC Attock. It was called Phaathak (پھاٹک) by locals. Kanji house is the place where stray livestock is taken by the local authorities . A fine is imposed on the owner for releasing the livestock.
11. Photostat was not available at Campbellpur. Copies the documents were typed and at the bottom CTC (Certified True Copy) was typed, it was a slow and time-consuming process. Yaseen Mirjan was a famous typist sitting in GPO veranda. He had good earning from this job and built three houses in Kamilpur Syedan extension
12. Jamil photographer had shop opposite to Naz cinema. We three brothers had a group photo there on Eid day. I joined CMH Attock in 1982 and had photo in uniform shot by the same photographer. The owner lived in Gora Qabristan mohallah and sold his house to Prof Waseem family in 1973.
13. My Nana Ji Qazi Abdul Haq was a Rukan of Jamaat Islami so naturally we had association with Jamaat. Khan Bahadur Sahib of Mirza had Kerosene oil depot near MCB. He lived on Imam Bargarh Rd. His daughter was class fellow of my elder sister. Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (اسلامی جمعیت طلبہ) had office upstairs Alkhair Cloth Fawara Chowk. I regularly attended its iftar Dinner which was likely sponsored by Khan Bahadur Sahib.
Maulana Naseer Ud din Malhuwali lived near us in Gora Qabristan mohallah. Homeo Dr. Zaheer, Professor Minhaj and Riaz Awan are his sons. Maulana Shams Ur Rehman was district Amir. He secured 10 thousand votes in MNA election 1971 from Pindi Gheb. We were his neighbor at Koocha Prem Nagar. His eldest son Irshad was a professor of Chemistry at Rawalpindi. Younger Dr. Rasheed was an eye specialist. Youngest Iftikhar is likely in OGDC.I last met Shams Ur Rehman Sahib at his Dar-us-Salam Colony house in 2005.
Jameel Sahib was City Amir. He had Khalid Book Depot in Meena Bazar in 1960s. Later he shifted his business to Urdu Bazar as Attock Book Centre. Khalid Book depot was the shop from where we bought books & Stationary sometime on credit, in 1968 the English Dictionary had price 6 Rupees.
Biological Science – an inquiry into life replaced Sher Muhammad Botany & Sher Muhammad Zoology in our FSc session of 1972.It was the costliest book of our class with Rs eight price. In 1974 I gave this book to Farrukh Seyar Butt who returned it in 1976 for study of Tabassum. This one book made 3 Doctors (یہ ہے بركت). One of our class mates got the original edition of this book from London through his connections.
14. Bus stand was around Municipal Committee office and shifted to current location in 1976. Babu hotel also shifted accordingly. It was run by father of our class fellow Naeem Zafar. Attock Wagon Adda at Pindi was A near Mareer Chowk. A person going to Attock refinery mistakenly boarded the Attock van at Pindi. As the van pulled out, he luckily asked about the location of Attock refinery. On knowing that Attock refinery was at Morgah he left the van
15. Rawalpindi going buses had route via Gondal. Then they crossed Jhablat stream by old bridge and passed through Wah Cantt. Bypass was a bit late development. In Rawalpindi bus passed through Sadar and Liaqat Bagh to Gunj Mandi Adda. Government Transport Service operated between Pindi and Attock via Sanjwal. Wagons also followed the same short route.
In 1981 I visited Bahtar. On GT Road there was a small inconspicuous signboard, Brahma More (براھما موڑ). The road was partially metalled. There was very thin traffic. Another Kacha Rd connected Bahtar with Jabbi Fateh Jang Road.
16. Baba Roshan Deen had pottery store near Gora Qabristan. He was active in Tabligh. Father of principal Ismail Sahib walked with short steps but was regular in prayers at Farooqia Masjid.
17. Two meters tall Monumental City gate pillars were present on Kamra Rd, Fateh Jang Rd and Basal Rd. They were erected by DC S.K. Mehmood and had a Persian verse of Saadi inscribed.
خیری کن اے فلاں و غنیمت شمار عمر
زاں پیشتر کہ بانگ بر آید فلاں نماند
These pillars are found no more.
18. A vendor in the Bazar had a funny was of selling vegetables. He cried at the top of his voice.
لَلّا سمجھ کے لُٹ گِھنو
جَھلّا سمجھ کے لُٹ گِھنو
Another such voice selling apricot was
نالے کھاؤ خرما نیاں تے نالے بھنو ودام
At times we kids opted the second half by picking apricot stones from the road. We cracked them with a Stone to get the kernel. Empty cigarette boxes were picked up from the street and used for different games and making ornamental chain
19. Atta and Sugar were available in ration depots only on ration cards. The card stated the number of family members. Ration had a fixed quota per month. Ration Depot holder was very important man. Manzoor Shah Depot holder was a friend of Abba Ji and occasionally favored us. Manzoor Sahib was from Bareilly like Hafiz Shamshad Sahib Maqbool Aam book depot. Our rented house had electricity in 1971 and Abba Ji hired Table fan from MES (Military Engineering Services) for the season. In 1975 we bought a GFC ceiling fan and Makkah Pedestal fan through Shah Sahib. A Royal pedestal fan was bought in 1980. Ghee was available on ration in mid 1970s and Sadiq shah Kamilpur Syedan provided this.
20. Ration stand of Artillery center was in Adm Battery and then shifted to Mirza Rd. Officers were issued ration on first day of the new month and lower staff on 6th. Abba Ji carried 80 Kg Atta sac on bicycle — fitting it into frame just above the paddles, an unusual act to save Tonga fare. This atta was bitter in rainy season due to flour bugs. In Cantt area (Kamilpur Syedan and Koocha Parem Nagar) chlorine is added to potable water to kill germs. At time the amount added was too much to make the water bitter.
21. KT 4000 cloth was introduced in early 1970s. Some people had KT suit with Shalwar & Kameez of same color. Others followed the old pattern with White Shalwar and colored Kameez. Laal Doria in White male Shalwar Pancha was common.
22. Abdul Latif Sahib Khushab was lectures of statistics at GC Attock in 1974. He lived in Maula Bhaya Street. Zubair and me learnt Sura Noor meaning from him. He said that his brothers observed pardah from Bhabi. It was an unheard thing then but now we three brothers are practicing the same.
23. Gungair of Kala Chitta range is a wonderful fruit especially when dry. Its perfect sphere, shining, smooth seed are even valued more than the fruit. people keep them as decoration piece. We often gifted Gungair to our friends at different stations and found everyone astonished. Maasi woodcutter carried wood on foot from nearby villages. We met them on Fateh Jang Rd to buy wood
24. Baig Sahib was an insurance agent living in Chhoi East. He was a tall fat man with big white moustaches. He was always dressed in Shirt & trousers. His trigger phrase was, Kee Time Aye (کی ٹیم اے ). Kids asked this question and Baig sahib always responded with Swearwords.
25. Ghulam Rasool Mayta was Qasid at GC Attock. Boys often teased him and he responded with typical facial expression and rapid-mode speech. Professor Ismail Sahib commented that, it is possible for Arabs & Israel to come to an agreement. But the Mayta-Students war is not going to see an end. Chacha Nawab was a graceful worker wearing Kullah-Turban and supporting Henna colored beard. He escorted ladies’ students from Ladies Room to classes. Ladies room was adjacent to principal room. In 1972 there were no BA / BSc classes in Women college. Shahiya was a smiling worker. Azad from Mirza was Biology Lab worker. We missed him in our Serena Hotel get-together 2021. Lab attendant Shah Ji Azhar graced the occasion. Shah Ji was a well-dressed person and we students respected him like a teacher. Taj and Murtaza were Library assistants from Mirza.
26. Inter Girls college started in 1966 in a small building opposite to the Girls High School main gate. It shifted to the present location likely in 1969. This place was earlier old civil hospital and its deserted road made an ideal cycling practice spot. Its adjacent building was DHO office where Dr. Nasir Jamal worked. I last visited this place in 1990 to get vaccination for Hajj. DHO office has become part of Women College and adjacent Tehsil office has been converted to Education university campus. My Baji passed FA from this college in 1971 securing 596 marks out of 1000. She was officially granted 4 grace marks to make first division. Altaf Ur Rehman Sahib was English teacher at GC Attock. Her Mrs. was the first principal of Girls College. His son Shehryar Altaf is an eye surgeon. I last met him in 2019 in Taqva Masjid New Lalazar Rawalpindi.
1. Report on the Land Revenue Administration of the Punjab – Page 13 – 1912 –
2. Gazetteer of the Attock District, 1930
3. Census of India, 1901, Volume 17, Part 1