Pakistan bought a steel mill from the Soviet Union. Under the purchase agreement, USSR was to train a certain number of people in Metallurgical Engineering.

Pakistan Steel Mill advertised a free engineering scholarship to study in Russia. Initially, they were looking to only send 15 students. They received 1500 applications. From those they narrowed the selection down to 100 students based upon their last grades. The they interviewed those 100 to select 15 boys. I was one of the lucky ones to be selected.

Here is a picture of us just before we left Pakistan. It includes a representative from the Soviet Consulate as well as some officials from Pakistan Steel Mills.

in_khi.jpg (48657 bytes)

We arrived in Moscow in August, 1971. From there we went by train to Leningrad for a year. In Leningrad we studied the Russian language at the Podgotivitelnii Fakultet, which transalates to "Preparatory Faculty". Here we studied not only Russian, but basic physics, chemistry and mathematics in Russian so that we could become familiar with the technical terms in the Russian language. We were expected, at the end of the year, to attend a Russian college and be able to understand and take notes at a lecture.

This is a picture immediately after our graduation from the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet. Compare it to the picture above, which was taken a year ago. You'll agree there is a marked change.

after_podgot.JPG (103831 bytes)

I have to apologize for the quality of most of these photos. Several of us got into photography as a hobby. We even bought the equipment to develop and print our own film. However, developing and printing color photos was not within our capabilities, so we took a lot of black and white photos. Many of my photographs got water-damaged over the years in storage.

History of Leningrad

The Russians organized many activities during the year in Leningrad. Some of these activities were to enlighten us about Russian culture and history. There were many trips to museums and historic sights. There were other activities where the foreign students were able to put on demonstrations of their culture for the benefit of the Russians as well as for the other foreign students.

Many of these activities took place in a beautiful building called "Dom Druzhby", which means "House of Friendship". Following are some photos taken inside and around "Dom Druzhby".

dom_druzhby_03.JPG (43548 bytes) dom_druzhby_02.JPG (26320 bytes) dom_druzhby_01.JPG (22307 bytes) around_leningrad_with_daud_03.JPG (24708 bytes) around_leningrad_with_daud_01.JPG (24707 bytes) around_leningrad_with_jamil_02.JPG (23976 bytes) around_leningrad_with_daud_02.JPG (38847 bytes) around_leningrad_with_jamil_01.JPG (30431 bytes)

We lived and studied in the same building. It was a 5-storey building. The first two floors were where we attended classes and we lived in the top 3 floors.

The following photos are taken in front of and around the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet.

in_front_of_podgot_04.JPG (38738 bytes) in_front_of_podgot.JPG (38452 bytes)  in_front_of_podgot_02.JPG (31960 bytes) with_farooq_02.JPG (40469 bytes) in_front_of_podgot_03.JPG (25290 bytes) with_kaisar_khalid_02.JPG (24862 bytes) with_jamil.JPG (28789 bytes) with_farooq_03.JPG (28830 bytes)

with_parvaiz.JPG (19559 bytes) with_daud.jpg (50642 bytes)

These are some photos of the Pakistani students around Leningrad.

around_leningrad_01.JPG (24161 bytes) around_leningrad_02.JPG (41785 bytes) daud_ice-cream.JPG (44009 bytes) gypsies.jpg (36601 bytes) in_leningrad.jpg (31989 bytes) leningrad_group_02.JPG (33295 bytes) leningrad_friends.JPG (23123 bytes) leningrad_group.JPG (40688 bytes) leningrad_group_03.JPG (20806 bytes) leningrad_group_04.JPG (37866 bytes) leningrad_group_05.JPG (33988 bytes) with_kaisar_khalid.JPG (29245 bytes)

One of the activities organized by the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet was a costume party. Here are some pictures from thet.

in_costume_01.jpg (34194 bytes) in_costume_03.JPG (51280 bytes) in_costume_02.JPG (44946 bytes)

Some photos inside the dorm.

daud_at_dorm.jpg (19182 bytes) leningrad_group_06.JPG (20186 bytes) studying_hard.JPG (26050 bytes) with_khalid.JPG (17654 bytes) with_farooq_shahbaz.JPG (30651 bytes) with_kaiser_jamil.JPG (25005 bytes) with_jamil_shahbaz.JPG (21067 bytes)

cooking_in_the_dorm.JPG (21287 bytes)Cooking in the common kitchen one each floor.

 

 

kaiser's_bday.JPG (31509 bytes)Celebrating of the student's (Kaiser's) birthday

 

 

 

letter_from_home.JPG (19110 bytes)Reading a letter from home

 

 

Following are some photos taken using the self-timer. They were taken just to experiment with the camera and the processing, but somehow they survived.

podgot_dorm.JPG (12013 bytes) self_image_01.jpg (19587 bytes) self_image_02.jpg (13378 bytes) self_image_03.jpg (19755 bytes) self_image_04.jpg (16040 bytes) self_image_05.jpg (28313 bytes)

Two photos of myself taken at a professional photo studio

with_beard_01.JPG (18614 bytes) with_beard_02.JPG (18038 bytes)

with_podgot_teacher.JPG (29921 bytes)One of our Russian language teachers with a few of the Pakistani students.

 

Zimnii_dvoretz_01.JPG (34106 bytes)A photo taken at the Zimnii Dvoretz (Winter Palace), about an hour away from Leningrad.

 

 

 

 Leningrad_suburb_01.JPG (35423 bytes)

Somewhere in the woods around Leningrad.

 

 

 

 

And now, off to Moscow!