Pakistan’s Lost Culture of Greyhound Races

Yesterday, I read a post on Chapati Mystery regarding Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Pakistan in 1962. The whimsical post was inspired by a painting of a horse which was a gift to her from Field Marshal Ayub Khan. It made me dig up pictures my father has of her visit, and along with those surfaced other pictures from the same era. The age where a First Lady could be gifted horses, elephants and tigers is history, along with other relics of a culture ‘gone with the wind’, as my father put it.
(All images and descriptions courtesy Shahid Mela)

Mohammad Ali Mela with Queen Elizabeth at the Horse and Cattle Show, Lahore, 1961 Other people: Duke of Edinborough, Governor Amir Mohammad Khan, President Ayub Khan, General Musa Khan. Greyhound 'Latoo' won the first prize.

“Latoo was a great greyhound. Extremely loyal and with a great disposition. His pedigree is still recognized among greyhound owners in Pakistan and Latoo lives on through his recognized offspring. That was another time entirely. Security issues were not something to worry about. He was medium-sized, black, very muscular, extremely well behaved and loving. He was not a guard dog and never barked at anyone. Latoo was the grandson of ‘Jaleph’, who was given to my uncle Muhammad Qasim Mela by Earl of Sefton (Birmingham) in the late 40’s. The Earl of Sefton’s American wife was a friend of Wallis Simpson, the American widow King Edward VIII married. I am told Earl of Sefton had the chance of becoming Viceroy of India but that is another story”.

Another view of the scene at Fortress Stadium with Queen Elizabeth

Mohammad Qasim Mela accepting a prize

Mohammad Qasim Mela (uncle) taking a greyhound prize from the chief guest, General Bakhtiar Rana. Place: Racing ground near Lyallpur (now Faisalabad)

Mohammad Ali Mela with his greyhounds. 1930's

Shahid Hamid Mela with father, Mohammad Ali Mela. The black dog is the famous 'Latoo'. Place: Sialkot, official Magistrate Residence. Year 1961

Mohammad Ali Mela with his favorite greyhound, 'Latoo'. Place: 1 Wellington Mall, Lahore Cantt. (current Tufail Road, Magistrate courts)

Greyhound races near Lyalpur (Faisalabad). Year 1959? Some of the people in photograph: Ahmed Ali Nekokara, Mohammad Ali Mela, Faiz Ahmed Joyya, Haji Mohommad Qasim Mela, General Bakhtiar Rana, Qadir Baksh Mela (probably Captain in the army at that time),Shaukat Wasim Mela (extreme right).

Shaukat Wasim Mela (brother) taking first prize for winning dog 'Latoo'. On the right side is President Mohammad Ayub Khan.

Jacquline Kennedy at the Horse and Cattle Show at Fortress Stadium, Lahore 1962

Shaukat Wasim Mela


About Amna

Current medical student, aspiring doctor-writer. The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones that are mad to live.
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4 Responses to Pakistan’s Lost Culture of Greyhound Races

  1. lapata says:

    Fantastic! Thank you for posting these.

  2. Pingback: Pakistan’s Lost Culture of Greyhound Races | Tea Break

  3. Hasher says:

    Ah the culture of racing Greyhounds isn’t lost in Pakistan at all, they’re still being raced both on the track (using Greyhounds) and in the fields in rural areas (using Tazis – the native Pakistani breed of Greyhounds). But, thanks for the lovely pictures!

  4. Ovais says:

    I love your blog and this posting in particular. Wonderful work. Keep it up.

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