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