With 18 murders and violent deaths in just the past few days, Karachi is living up to its reputation for being one of the world's most dangerous cities -- a teeming den of ethnic violence and decades-long bloody political feuds. With more than 13 million people living in this South Asian metropolis, the nerve center of Pakistan's culture and commerce, life today often means squeaking out an existence amid an urban chaos, punctuated by roadside bombs, bus explosions, and shootings by militants affiliated with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Last summer, in July alone, some 300 people were gunned down across the city in a spate of targeted killings. But the Karachi of the 1960s and 1970s was a much different place. The city became a stop on the "Hippie Trail," a popular route that led bohemians from Britain and the United States across Asia on their search for enlightenment. With the influx of Westerners before the country's takeover by Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1977, Karachi enjoyed a period of relative permissiveness, with nightclubs, bars, cinemas, and restaurants hosting the city's vibrant nightlife. Here's a special collection of photographs from that time, courtesy of the Citizen's Archive of Pakistan, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historical preservation.
Above, a Karachi family poses for a photo. The woman, sporting short hair, a sleeveless dress, and sunglasses, appears to be taking fashion cues from American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who visited Karachi herself in the 1960s.
Personal Collection of Adeeba Abidi/The Citizens Archive of Pakistan