A Voice Si­lenced

His sig­na­ture song, Dil Dil Pak­istan, will keep his mem­ory alive.

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The year that just passed brought some good and bad news for Pak­ista­nis. Pak­istan ranked first in in­ter­na­tional cricket, though only for a brief pe­riod, Mahira Khan made her de­but in In­dia along­side Shahrukh and Ac­tor in Law and Jaanaan set new records rev­enue. Sadly, the same year, we lost the cel­e­brated Ab­dus Sat­tar Edhi, Am­jad Sabri, Shahlyla Baloch and Shamim Ara. The toll con­tin­ued when Ju­naid Jamshed lost his life in a plane crash near Ab­bot­tabad. His beau­ti­fully sung songs and the mem­o­ries at­tached to them will not go away so eas­ily.

Ju­naid Jamshed, a boy from a hum­ble back­ground, joined the Vi­tal Signs in 1986. This was a pop and rock band which was formed by Ro­hail Hayat. It be­came the plat­form from where JJ shot to star­dom when he sang the time­less “Dil Dil Pak­istan” in 1987, writ­ten by well-known Shoaib Man­soor. The song was fea­tured in the band’s first al­bum, Vi­tal Signs 1 in 1989. It in­stantly be­came a su­per hit in Pak­istan. With its beau­ti­ful com­po­si­tion and soul-touch­ing lyrics, the song was called a pop na­tional an­them. Dil Dil Pak­istan has be­come a sig­na­ture song of the late Ju­naid Jamshed. It came third on the BBC World Ser­vice in­ter­na­tional poll of pop­u­lar songs in 2003.

Fame and for­tune smiled upon JJ through­out his mu­sic ca­reer which spanned over 15 years. The first al­bum of the Vi­tal Signs came in 1989. It was a big hit as it had some good songs like Dil Dil Pak­istan, Tum Mil Gaye and Gori. Their sec­ond al­bum, Vi­tal Signs 2, was even bet­ter with songs like Saan­wli Saloni and Tere Liye Mera Dil. Their third and fourth al­bums, Aitabaar and Hum Tum, had some mem­o­rable com­po­si­tions too. It was the time when a dis­cord is said to have grown among the group mem­bers.

Dis­heart­ened, JJ left the band and launched his first solo al­bum in 1999, Us Raah Par, which was one of the best sell­ing al­bums of the year. It was fol­lowed by his sec­ond solo al­bum, Dil Ki Baat, which was not as pop­u­lar as the pre­vi­ous one. By this time, Ju­naid Jamshed had be­come a na­tional icon of pop mu­sic. He was an in­spi­ra­tion for other pop singers and rock bands of the 90s.

In 2002, a dras­tic change was seen in JJ’s per­son­al­ity. This was when he re­al­ized the need for in­tro­spec­tion to find eter­nal peace. He quit mu­sic and show­biz once and for all and grav­i­tated to­wards re­li­gion. Us­ing his God-gifted beau­ti­ful voice in the path of Al­lah, he be­came a Naat Khuwan. His first Naat com­pi­la­tion came in 2005 with the ti­tle Jalwa-e-Jaanaan. It was well re­ceived by fans. Later, he made other Naat al­bums as well like Mah­boob-e-Yaz­daan, Badr-ud-duja, Yaad-e-Haram, Noor-ul-Huda, etc. He also started preach­ing as he had al­ready joined the Tableeghi Ja­maat where Tariq Jameel was his men­tor. He also had been an in­te­gral part of Sahri and If­tari trans­mis­sions on ARY for a cou­ple of years.

In 2002 Ju­naid stepped into the cloth­ing busi­ness with the brand name J Dot and de­vel­oped his own busi­ness em­pire. The idea be­hind the brand was rein­tro­duc­tion of tra­di­tional Pak­istani clothes with a blend of modernism. It was a bril­liant idea and so was his suc­cess­ful busi­ness plan. This fash­ion re­tail brand reached across the globe with out­lets in the Mid­dle East, UK and North Amer­ica. The brand is now a suc­cess story and caters to fash­ion trends and de­signs.

Apart from preach­ing and singing, Ju­naid Jamshed was a great hu­man­i­tar­ian too. He was in­volved in char­ity work, spe­cially with the Mus­lim Char­ity Or­ga­ni­za­tion since 2003 till his death in 2016. He built the first Mus­lim Char­ity as­sisted hos­pi­tal in Jhang in 2004. He led Mus­lim Char­ity’s #Honour­ingOurMothers cam­paign in 2013 and cham­pi­oned the cause of Ob­stet­ric Fis­tula surgery for af­fected moth­ers. His per­sona and char­ity work got his name in the list of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial Mus­lims, is­sued by The Mus­lim 500, in 2016. He even did not hes­i­tate to pick a broom to clean the streets of Karachi when it was needed.

Although he had be­come a na­tional icon, his name re­mained in the lime­light in re­la­tion to cer­tain con­tro­ver­sies. His misog­y­nis­tic re­marks about women who drive cars and his al­leged blas­phe­mous com­ments stirred con­ster­na­tion. Yet his name soared to fame more than ever. He had 2.8 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Face­book at the time of his death.

With his melo­di­ous voice and good looks, Ju­naid Jamshed was not only a pop star but also a true celebrity. He started his ca­reer in an era when pop mu­sic in Pak­istan was in the cra­dle. His fame and suc­cess in­spired many other rock bands like Junoon, Awaz, Strings and Fu­zon to un­earth their tal­ent. Even af­ter leav­ing his mu­sic ca­reer, he re­mained a celebrity. It is true that only few show­biz per­son­al­i­ties en­joy the fame and for­tune he was blessed with in a short span of time.

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