The Bank Notes of Pakistan 1972 – 2000

Peter Symes

First published in the

International Bank Note Society Journal

Volume 39, No.4, 2000

Collectors considering the acquisition of Pakistani bank notes issued after 1972 might be forgiven for considering these series as quite simple, when compared to the complex issues that preceded them. However, the later series contain a wealth of varieties, if not a wealth of types, and these series can prove challenging to complete, particularly in higher grades of condition. To complete these series, one must not only consider plate changes, one must also consider signature types and serial number varieties. There are very few very expensive notes in these series and yet it is almost impossible to acquire a complete set. Time and patience are the keys, but not the guarantors, to success.

            Following the civil war in 1971, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh, the State Bank of Pakistan issued a new series of bank notes. Introduced in 1972, these notes were, with the exception of the 100-rupee note, colour changes to existing designs. However, this issue was a temporary issue, designed to allow the demonetization of the previous issue.

            The secession of East Pakistan called for changes to the bank notes issued by the State Bank of Pakistan. There was now no need for Bengali text to appear on the notes and the images of tea gardens and jute-laden boats were no longer appropriate for bank notes circulating in the new Pakistan. Having just introduced a new series of bank notes, even though it was an emergency issue, there was no urgency to introduce a new series, but plans were put in place to facilitate it.

            The first note in the new generation of notes was a 1-rupee note, introduced around June or July 1974. The issue of this note initially appears slightly odd, as there was no need to remove symbols of East Pakistan from the 1-rupee notes. This particular denomination had never carried any Bengali text and the only Bengali character appearing on the notes had been the Bengali numeral for ‘1’. Also, the 1-rupee note had always carried an illustration of the Naulakha Pavilion in the Lahore Fort on its back – an image belonging to West Pakistan.

            (It is of interest that the Pakistan State Security Printing Corporation holds a printing cylinder of an unissued 1-rupee note with Bengali text on it. It is not known when this design was prepared, but it may have been prepared as part of the continuing program, prior to the civil war, of presenting both Urdu and Bengali text on the bank notes.)

            It appears that the new 1-rupee note issued in 1974 was the first of a planned series of notes that included common elements of design. For reasons described below, this series was never completed. The new 1-rupee note is predominantly blue, with a yellow and purple under-print on the front. A crescent moon and star are at the right and the following Urdu text appears in the centre of the note:

Government of Pakistan

One Rupee


Secretary, Ministry of the Treasury

Government of Pakistan

Along the bottom of the note is a panel in which the words ‘One Rupee’ are repeated in four regional languages. Starting from the right, the text in Arabic script reads: ‘Ik rupee (Punjabi) Hik rupee (Sindhi) Yo rupee (Pushto) Yuk rupee (Baluchi)’.

            The back of the note is also blue, but it has a pink under-print. The illustration on the back depicts the monument known as ‘Minar-i-Pakistan’, located in Iqbal Park, Lahore. Built in 1960 and sixty metres tall, it commemorates the signing of the ‘Pakistan Resolution’ by the All-India Muslim League on 23 March 1940. This resolution led to the founding of Pakistan.

            This particular 1-rupee note has had a checkered career in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM). It was not catalogued for many years, but an attempt was made to describe it in the Third Edition of Volume Three. However, it was not well-described and its description was dropped in subsequent editions. It has now been satisfactorily described in the Sixth Edition of Volume Three of the SCWPM as No. 24. The note is very similar to the note that later replaced it (No. 24A in the Sixth Edition), but the front of the note has the distinct difference of the panel containing the four languages.

            The circulation of this 1-rupee note was short-lived. It was replaced because the use of the four regional languages was seen as promoting provincialism, which was considered inappropriate at that time. The decision to withdraw the 1-rupee note with ‘four languages’ also affected the planned release of other denominations. The Museum of the State Bank of Pakistan in Karachi has a display that contains a 5-rupee note with the ‘four languages’ included in the design. This note was never issued. It is probable that this 5-rupee note was part of a complete series that used the theme of the ‘four languages’ throughout their designs; but the plans of the issuing authorities were modified after criticism following the introduction of the 1-rupee note.

            Due to the censure of the design with the four regional languages, the 1-rupee note was replaced with a modified design that supplanted the panel containing the ‘four languages’ with a broader panel that carried a decorative design. This new 1-rupee note (SCWPM No. 24), which would be familiar to most collectors, then circulated for a number of years. However, it is not known when the new note was introduced into circulation.

            On 12 July 1976, in the key implementation of the new series of bank notes, 5-, 10- and 100-rupee notes were introduced. The notes in this series carry a common layout on the front of each note, but the specific design of each note is quite different. So, while the front of each note is dominated by a portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah to the right and an area reserved for the watermark at the lower left, the individual borders and decorations are quite distinct.

            Each denomination carries the same Urdu promissory clause (apart from the denomination) in its centre. The clause reads (for the 5-rupee note):

State Bank of Pakistan

Five Rupees

will be paid on request to the bearer.

Issued under the guarantee of the Government of Pakistan

(signed) Governor

State Bank of Pakistan

The other elements common to each denomination are the solid security thread that runs to the right of centre, and the watermark of Mohammed Ali Jinnah at the lower left.

            The back of each note carries a different illustration, but all notes have common features. The emblem of the State Bank of Pakistan appears on each denomination, as does the name of the ‘State Bank of Pakistan’ in English. Also common to the back of each denomination is the area is reserved for viewing the watermark and the manner of representing the value of the note. The denomination appears once in Urdu numerals, once in Western numerals, and is written once in English text.

            The 5-rupee note is predominantly brown, with an under-print of pink, orange and purple. The illustration on the back of this note is of the Khajak railway tunnel in Baluchistan. The tunnel is on the railway line from Quetta to Chaman, which is on Pakistan’s border with Iran.

            The 10-rupee note is predominantly green, with an under-print of yellow, purple and pink. The back of this note carries a view of the ancient city of Moenjodaro (or Mohenjadaro). This city was one of the principal settlements in the great Indus valley civilization that predated the ancient Egyptian civilization. The 10-rupee note is unusual for this series, in that only one colour is used to print the back of the note.

            The 100-rupee note is predominantly red, with an under-print of orange and khaki. The Islamic College in Peshawar is depicted on the back. The front and back of this note carry intaglio printing in orange and red.

            On 29 December 1977, a year after the release of the 5-, 10- and 100-rupee notes, the 50-rupee note was introduced. Sharing the common layout with the other notes in this series, the 50-rupee note is predominantly burgundy and purple, with an under-print of orange, blue, brown and pink. The main gates of the great fort at Lahore appear on its back. Quite noticeable on the front and the back, is the use of two colours for the intaglio printing.

            Although a new 1-rupee note was the first note to be introduced in this new generation of bank notes, this denomination was also the last to be added to this series. Placed into circulation on 24 March 1981, this second 1-rupee note must be considered as part of this series, as the features that define the next two series affect this note in the same manner as the higher denomination notes. (However, the date of its release might more properly marry it to the following series). The principal design features on the front of the new multi-coloured note are a crescent moon and star at the right, an ornamental design in the centre of the note, and an octagonal area to the left that holds the watermark of a crescent moon and star. A single serial number appears in the upper centre of the note. The promissory clause on the front of the note remains unchanged from the previous 1-rupee note.

            The back of the note carries an illustration of the tomb of Allama Mohammed Iqbal, the Punjabi poet-philosopher who first proposed the idea of a Muslim state in 1930. Iqbal is venerated in Pakistan both for his poetry and as a founding father of the nation. The text on the back of the note is in English, identifying the issuing authority and the denomination.

            The notes of the sixth series remained in circulation for several years without any modification, apart from a change in signatory. Initially signed by S. Osman Ali, the notes issued by the State Bank were later signed by A. G. N. Kazi. The 1-rupee notes of this series, issued by the Government of Pakistan, carry only the signature of Habibullah Baig.

            During the 1981/82 financial year, all denominations were released with a single modification, creating the seventh issue of notes. The modification consisted of the addition of a line of Urdu text on the back of each note. The text reads ‘Rizq-e-Halal ain Ibadat Hai’ which can be translated as ‘Legal livelihood is equal to prayer’ or ‘Rightful earning is equivalent to prayers’. All notes of this series issued by the State Bank carry the signature of A. G. N. Kazi.

            The 1-rupee notes issued by the Government continued to carry the signature of Habibullah Baig but, as well as being modified to carry the new line of Urdu text, they underwent one further change. The 1-rupee notes now began to appear with the serial number at the lower right, as well as being issued with the serial number in the upper centre. This dual positioning of the serial number continued for many years, creating two serial number varieties for each signature variety. It is believed that the State Bank possessed two different types of numbering machines, with each configured to print the serial number in a different place on the 1-rupee notes.

            Two years later, during the 1983/84 financial year, the line of Urdu text on the back of the notes was modified to read ‘Husool-e-Rizq-e-Halal Ibadat Hai’, which can be translated as ‘Earning legal livelihood is akin to prayer’ or ‘To search for rightful earning is equivalent to prayers’. This modification defines the eighth series of bank notes, a series that has proved durable – with the notes of this issue still in circulation at the end of the century.

            However, as well as the five denominations inherited from the seventh series, three new denominations have been added to the eighth series. The three additional denominations are the 2, 500 and 1000 rupees.

            The 2-rupee note was introduced on 24 August 1985. This is only the second note of this denomination to be issued in Pakistan, being the successor to the short-lived issue of March 1949. Once again issued under the authority of the State Bank of Pakistan, this note is predominantly purple, with an under-print of blue and pink on the front of the note and an under-print of blue on the back. The crescent moon and star are used as the principal design feature on the front of the note, as well as being employed for the watermark.

            The back of the note carries an illustration of the Badshahi mosque in Lahore, one of the oldest and largest mosques in Pakistan. The design used for the back of this note is based on the back of the first 2-rupee note, issued thirty-six years previously. Of particular interest on the back of this note is the text, which is all in Urdu. The absence of English is exceptional in this series. While the first 2-rupee note and all earlier 1-rupee notes carried only Urdu text, all notes from the sixth series onwards carry English text on the back of the notes. It would appear that the absence of English text on the back of the 2-rupee note is simply due to the back of the previous 2-rupee note being replicated for this issue.

            The 500-rupee note was introduced into circulation on 1 April 1986. The front and back of this note are printed with blue-green and olive-green intaglio designs, under which is printed a multi-coloured design, principally of green, orange and pink. While still dominated by a portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the simple lines of the lower denominations has been abandoned in favour of flowing panels and patterns created with flowers and leaves.

            The new notes carry a watermark of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in the same manner as the other notes in this series, but there is now the new feature of a micro-printed security thread to the right of centre. This is the first note in the Pakistani issues to carry this type of security thread. The micro-printing on the thread reads ‘STATE BANK OF PAKISTAN’ (in English). The security thread also fluoresces under ultra-violet light. The back of the 500-rupee note carries an illustration of the headquarters of the State Bank of Pakistan in Karachi.

            The 1000-rupee note was introduced on 18 July 1988. Printed on the front and back in dark-blue intaglio printing, there is a green, blue and orange under-print on both sides of the note. Like the other notes in this series, the image of Mohammed Ali Jinnah appears as the watermark and as the dominant design feature on the front of the note. The back of the note carries an illustration of the tomb of the great Moghul ruler Jahangir. The same style of micro-printed thread that is used in the 500-rupee note is used in this note. An added security feature for the 1000-rupee note is the use of fluorescent ink on the front of the note. The bright orange highlights in the design to the left, right and centre of the note all fluoresce under ultra-violet light.

            There have been six signatories to the bank notes issued by the State Bank of Pakistan in this series. The six Governors who have signed the notes are: A. G. N. Kazi, Wasim Oun Jafrey, Imtiaz A. Hanafi, Qasim Parekh, Dr. Muhammad Yaqub and Ishrat Husain. All denominations, with the exception of the 1000-rupee note, carry all six signatures. The 1000-rupee note carries the signatures of Wasim Oun Jafrey, Imtiaz A. Hanafi, Dr. Muhammad Yaqub and Ishrat Husain.

            The serial numbers of the sixth, seventh and eighth series are a continuation of the same sequence. The notes issued by the State Bank commenced with a single-letter prefix followed by a six-digit number. Once this sequence was exhausted, a double-letter prefix was used. Once the second sequence was complete, the prefix became a fractional prefix, with two letters over a single numeral, with the numeral incrementing once the two letters had finished their cycle. However, during the eighth series this sequence was dropped in favour of a serial number that consisted of a prefix of three letters followed by a seven-digit number.

            For those collectors who are interested in obtaining examples of the different styles of serial numbers, it should be noted that Imtiaz A. Hanafi held the office of Governor for two separate periods, separated by the twelve-month governance of Qasim Parekh (see the chart at the end). Therefore, for three denominations (5, 10 and 100 rupees) I. A. Hanafi’s signature appears on notes with different styles of serial numbers.

            The 1-rupee notes carry a different style of serial number to the notes issued by the State Bank of Pakistan. For the 1-rupee notes, the single letter in the fractional prefix remains static while the number below increments from 1 to 99 (i.e. A/1 to A/99). The prefix is followed by a six digit number. When the cycle of the number in the fractional prefix is complete, the letter of the prefix increments in alphabetical order and the number returns to ‘one’ (i.e. A/99 is followed by B/1). When the full sequence of the single letter is complete, a second letter is included, with the right-hand letter incrementing through its cycle (i.e. AA/1 to AA/99 followed by AB/1, etc.) When its cycle is complete the left-hand letter changes to the next letter and the right-hand letter moves once more through its cycle (as the number completes its cycle for each pair of letters, i.e. AZ/99, BA/1, BA/2, etc.) The serial number for the 1-rupee notes changed with the notes signed by Javed Talat. The new serial numbers have a two letter prefix and a seven-digit number.

            Replacement notes are known to have been used for the eighth series of notes and may have been used much earlier. For those serial numbers that have a fractional prefix (all denominations), the prefix for the replacement notes is a number over the letter ‘X’. The notes that have the new serial number prefix of three letters, have replacement notes with the single letter prefix of ‘X’.

            Apart from changes to signatures and serial number prefixes, the notes of the eighth series have had few varieties, despite the length of time they have been in circulation. Collectors of Pakistani notes will be aware of common changes in shades of colours on the notes and of frequent occurrences of mismatched serial numbers, but these do not really constitute ‘varieties’. However, there is at least one variety of watermark. The 10-rupee note signed by Dr. Yaqab has been recorded with a watermark that appears slightly squashed (from top to bottom). Most noticeable is the size and shape of the hat worn by Ali Jinnah.

            On 14 August 1997 Pakistan celebrated fifty years as an independent nation. To commemorate this occasion the State Bank of Pakistan issued a special 5-rupee note, which was released into circulation on 13 August 1997. With a purple border and portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the front of the note has a green and orange under-print. To the left, above the watermark of Jinnah, is a star-burst design that is encircled by the Urdu phrase ‘Fifty Year Anniversary of Freedom’ and ‘1947 – 1997’ in western numerals. In the centre of the design is the number ‘50’ in Urdu numerals. The promissory clause is the same as for previous notes in this series, but the serial number differs. The serial number prefix for all the commemorative notes is ‘COM’.

            The back of the note carries a picture of the tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam, a 12-13th century saint. Located in the city of Multan, in the Punjab, the tomb was built between 1320 and 1324 AD. In 1983 it was awarded the Aga Khan Award for architecture. (The Award recognizes architecture that influences modern design, no matter the age of the building.)

            This brings us to the end of the modern bank notes of Pakistan. If the changes involving the lines of Urdu text on the backs of the notes are discounted, then the current designs have been in circulation for about twenty-four years. (The 1- and 2-rupee notes are no longer being issued, although they can still be found in circulation.) This is quite a lengthy time for most issues and it is quite likely that a new series of notes could be expected in the near future. However, for the moment the notes of the sixth, seventh and eighth series remain a fascinating target for a dedicated collector.

The following chart shows the signatures of the Governors of the State Bank of Pakistan who signed the notes described above, and their periods of office. This chart continues from the list of Governors shown in The Banknotes of Pakistan 1947-1972.



G8. S. Osman Ali

1 December 1975 to 14 July 1978



G9. A. G. N. Kazi

15 July 1978 to 9 July 1986



G10. Wasim Oun Jafrey

10 July 1986 to 16 August 1988



G11. Imtiaz A. Hanafi

November 1988 to 6 September 1989 (First Tenure)

1 September 1990 to 19 July 1993 (Second Tenure)



G12. Qasim Parekh

7 September 1989 to 31 August 1990



G13. Dr. Muhammad Yaqub

20 July 1993



G14. Ishrat Husain

24 November 1999

The following chart shows the signatures of the Secretaries of Finance who signed the 1-rupee notes discussed in this article. This chart continues from the list of Secretaries shown in The Banknotes of Pakistan 1947-1972.



S.11 Abdur Rauf Shaikh

20 August 1973 to

6 October 1977



S12. Aftab Ahmad Khan

9 October 1977 to

1 August 1979



S13. Habibullah Baig

1 August 1979 to

7 June 1987



S14. Izharul Haq

8 June 1987 to

14 August 1988



S15. Saeed Ahmad Qureshi

15 August 1988 to

21 January 1989 (First Tenure)

September 1990 to

31 July 1991 (Second Tenure)



S.16 R. A. Akhund

22 January 1989 to

August 1990



S.17 Qazi Alimullah

1 August 1991 to

24 September 1992 (First Tenure)

28 October 1993 to

30 June 1994 (Second Tenure)



S18. Khalid Javed

25 September 1992 to

24 April 1993



S19. Javed Talat

30 June 1994 to

1 March 1996



S20. Mian Tayeb Hasan

2 March 1996 to

31 October 1996



S21. Moeen Afzal

1 November 1996 to


The following list summarizes the notes of the sixth, seventh and eighth series, indicating the dates of issue and the signature varieties.

Sixth Issue

            1 rupee (blue with four languages – circa July 1974)

            Abdur Rauf Shaikh (S11)

            1 rupee (blue with decorative panel – Issue date unknown)

            Abdur Rauf Shaikh (S11)

            Aftab Ahmad Khan (S12)

            Habibullah Baig (S13)


5 rupees (12 July 1976), 10 rupees (12 July 1976), 50 rupees (29 December 1977) and 100 rupees (12 July 1976)

            S. Osman Ali (G8)

            A. G. N. Kazi (G9)

            1 rupee (multi-coloured – 24 March 1981)

            Habibullah Baig (S13)

Seventh Issue

All notes carry the first line of Urdu text and were introduced during the 1981/82 financial year.

            1 rupee

Habibullah Baig (S13. Varieties exist with serial number positioned in the centre or at the lower right.)

            5 rupees, 10 rupees, 50 rupees and 100 rupees

            A. G. N. Kazi (G9)

Eighth Issue

All notes carry the second line of Urdu text and, unless signified otherwise, were introduced during the 1983/84 financial year.

            1 rupee

(Signatories marked with an asterisk have both varieties of serial number positioning; i.e. at centre and at lower right.)

            Habibullah Baig (S13) *

            Izharul Haq (S14) *

            Saeed Ahmad Qureshi (S15)*

            R. A. Akhund (S16) *

            Qazi Alimullah (S17) *

            Khalid Javed (S18)

            Javed Talat (S19)

            Mian Tayeb Hasan (S20)

            Moeen Afzal (S21)


2 rupees (24 August 1985) 5 rupees, 10 rupees, 50 rupees, 100 rupees and 500 rupees (1 April 1986)

            A. G. N. Kazi (G9)

            Wasim Oun Jafrey (G10)

            Imtiaz A. Hanafi (G11)

            Qasim Parekh (G12)

            Dr. Mohammed Yaqub (G13)

            Ishrat Husain (G14)

            1000 rupees (18 July 1988)

            Wasim Oun Jafrey (G10)

            Imtiaz A. Hanafi (G11)

            Dr. Mohammed Yaqub (G13)

            Ishrat Husain (G14)

Commemorative issue

            5 rupees (13 August 1997)

            Dr. Mohammed Yaqub

My thanks go to Mr. Yahya Qureshi and Dr. Munaf Billoo for their assistance in preparing this study.

This article was completed in September 2002
© Peter Symes