Custom Search

Momi Gul Durrani: The Face of PIA

Posted on July 23, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, People
190 Comments
Total Views: 53091

Share

Owais Mughal

On May 20, 1965 Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK705 from Dhahran was descending on the runway of Cairo airport. This was PIA’s inaugural flight to Cairo. 119 unfortunate people onboard died.

Among the victims was PIA’s trend setter air-stewardess Momi Gul Durrani.

At ATP we have done a number of posts of PIA – both on its high-flying early years (here, here, here) and its more troubled recent years (here, here, here). If ever there was a “Face of PIA,” it was Momi Gul Durrani. No PIA personality, with the exception of Air Marshal Nur Khan (who, in fairness, was already a celebrity before he came to PIA) has ever achieved such public recognition, affection and fame as Momi Durrani did.



Quoting from the Mr. Abbas Ali‘s website History of PIA:

Momi was one of PIA’s highly trained, professional and hard working cabin crew members of 1950s and 1960s. She was tall, fair with film-star looks. In short period of time she gained immense popularity and achieved status of a bright star and a legend in PIA’s glorious history.

Omar Kureishi, while writing an article in Dawn of March 30, 2003 recalled Momi in following words:

(For the inaugural PIA flight to Cairo) We had our VIP cabin crew including Momi Durrani, a Pathan girl, tall and fair with film-star looks. We had featured Momi in our advertisements. When she smiled, she made others smile.

In the first two photos, Momi Gul Durrani is seen in 1950s uniform of PIA. Once again quoting from website History of PIA (re. the first photograph):

This photos shows PIA’s legendary Air Hostess Momi Gul Durrani in 1950s uniform. This uniform was designed by Frenchman Chausee Fortaignelle who was with PIA on a 5 year deputation from Pan Am. In this design a white shalwar and dupatta were set off by a green shirt with white cuffs and collar. Shoes and bags were black. The most interesting item of this uniform was a jaunty green cap for the hostesses. This uniform design was used from 1955 to 1960

Photo to the right is the monument (graves) of 119 fateful passengers of PK705 in Cairo, Egypt.

Note: As written above, PK705 was an inaugural flight in a sense that it was the resumption of Karachi-Cairo service which had been suspended for many years until the fateful day of May 20, 1965.

References:

(1) History of PIA by Abbas Ali
(2) Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi’s Photo Selection at Flickr.com
(3) The Cairo Crash by Omer Kureishi
(4) Photo of the PK705 memorial is from Wikipedia

190 comments posted

Comment Pages: « 2411 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 [2] 1 » Show All

  1. Tabish Khan Jadoon says:
    October 6th, 2010 6:28 am

    After going through histroy of PIA on diffrent channnels,

    No doubt Miss Momi Gul Durrani, the innocent girl, lost her life, In Cairo Aircrash in 1965, she was the leading lady of her
    time.

    I wish to add one personality more in this Aircrash that is
    Captain of the ill fated Boeing 720 B, Late Captain Ali Akhter Khan, who was Senior most Pilot at that time, he used to live
    in our neighbours Drigh Road Cantt Bazar Benglows, his family later shifted somewhere in PECHS.

    Thanks,
    Tabish Khan Jadoon

  2. IFTIKHAR HUSSAIN says:
    September 20th, 2010 3:55 am

    ” Almost near 5 decades has been past , Fatal accident happened in : cairo:

    Momi was a great Hostess of her Air Journey, at the young age
    of 27, she lost her life.
    We never forgets her smiles.

    Iftikhar Hussain,
    Airport, Karachi-11

  3. September 18th, 2010 2:36 am

    “MISS MOMI GUL DURRANI ” WAS REALLY A PRETTY
    ROSE OF PAKISTAN, TRAGICALLY SHE DIED IN PIA AIRCRASH NEAR CAIRO ON MAY 1965.
    THE DAY I HAVE SEEN HER SNAPS, I BECOME A FAN
    OF HER, I FEEL NOW I LOST SOMETHING, MADE ME SAD
    MY INNER FEELINGS, I PRAY TO ALLAH ” MAY ALLAH
    REST HER SOUL IN PEACE ( AMEEN )

    TIPUSULTAN- KARACHI

  4. Owais Mughal says:
    June 21st, 2009 5:55 pm

    Benawa saheb, I’ll search for more photos. These are what I saw at a site called ‘History of PIA’ and was able to get permission to post here.

  5. Benawa says:
    June 21st, 2009 5:44 pm

    Owais, I have seen better pictures of Momi. Are you sure these two are the best you could do?

    I remember seeing an absolutely enchanting one with a poster
    that said,”Momi muskurati raihay gee.”(Momi will keep on
    smiling,” must have been some kind of posthumous print
    dedicated to her memory—see if you can find and post it here).

    p.s. I think Momi ‘s sister, Qundi Gul, is married to Sohail Rana.

    Bless you for the long lost memories!

    (Chalo kay chul kay charaghan kareen Diare Habib
    hain intezar mein ugly muhabtoon kay mazaar…)

  6. June 7th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Dear Sir ,

    Whoever you are , just stop making a mockery about everything in Pakistan.Firstly PIA has a very good Safety record ande some of the Best Pilots in the World.The only thing PIA is suffering from is lack of funds , secondly Corruption to the highest levels of Govenment and on top of which Pakistan has suffered the cosequences of supporting the Terrorists to drive out the Russians from Afghanistan with support from USA and lastly the embargo impact which has consequently made Pakistan as a nation suffer.Thank God Almighty at least China has been both a Friend and an Ally through all this turmoil. You People in Pakistan should be proud of the fact that since Independence Pakistan has created the MOST ELITE DEFENCE FORCE IN THE WORLD where Generals have run the country successfully and the ones who speak of democracy come to Rob the country like the present haed of state of Pakistan who was elected , and prior to this years ago due to his corruption brought an end to his Wife governing the country.The thief is back in Power to do as he pleases.General Musharaf should have been given another term and to be honest he was the only one capable of PLACING Pakisatn on its right Path.As Ayub Khan said EDUCATE the Masses in Schools to make them understand Politics and its mechanisms.Pakistan is Still great but do not Blame PIA staff for the mishaps of the top Management who have been Robbing PIA thus leaving its piliots with outdated planes.Get rid of the Thieving Politicains and Management then you will see the results.
    Sorry that is the truth.It might be hard to swallow…but is a fact.
    Have a nice day.

    Bye

    Mr J.J.Dean

  7. Riaz Haq says:
    July 24th, 2008 3:18 pm

    This piece and the pictures remind me of the “good old days” of PIA when Pakistanis took pride in the national flag carrier. Now many of us prefer to fly other airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates that started much later but gained status and market share at the expense of PIA by providing better service, more value and broader choices. Nostalgia is good but it won’t help PIA. What it needs is serious reform and turn-around to stay alive in the new competitive environment.

  8. Old Timer says:
    July 24th, 2008 2:16 am

    Yes, she was teh face of PIA in those early times. Nice of you to write about her and those days.

Comment Pages: « 2411 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 [2] 1 » Show All



Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)

Please respect the ATP Comment Policy.

Keep comments on topic; no personal attacks; don't submit indecent, inflammatory, slanderous, uncivil or irrelevant comments; flamers and trolls are not welcome; inappropriate comments will be removed or edited.

If you won't say it to someone's face, then don't say it here!

Readers who want to use a URL should please use the TINY URL program.

Thanks, and keep the comments coming!