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Junaid Jamshed

Junaid Jamshed
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Junaid Jamshed (September 3, 1964 - December 7, 2016) was a Pakistani recording artist, television personality, fashion designer, occasional actor, singer-songwriter, preacher and televangelist. After graduating with a degree in engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), Jamshed briefly worked as a civilian contractor and engineer for the Pakistan Air Force before focusing on a musical career.

Jamshed first gained nationwide prominence and international recognition as group 'Vital Signs' vocalist in 1987 with the album, Vital Signs 1. It included the number one single Dil Dil Pakistan, and Tum Mil Gaye. The commercial success of Vital Signs' first album helped develop Pakistan's rock music industry.

In 1994, he released his debut solo album, Junaid of Vital Signs followed by Us Rah Par in 1999 and Dil Ki Baat in 2002. In 2004, Jamshed left both his engineering and music careers and, since then, has focused on his religious activities for Islam and reciting nasheeds on TV and releasing them on CD's. Jamshed also owns a clothing boutique with the name "J." (read as "Jay Dot"), which has several outlets throughout Pakistan and some abroad.

In November 2014, Jamshed was accused of blasphemy and in December 2014, in a video message, he apologized for offending people and making mistakes.

Junaid Jamshed and members of his family died on 7 December 2016 when PIA Flight 661 crashed in Havelian. The flight was enroute to Islamabad from Chitral. He was in Chitral for a Tablighi Jamaat mission and was returning to Islamabad.

Early life and education

Junaid Jamshed was born in Karachi to Jamshed Akbar, a Group Captain in the Pakistan Air Force.

After graduating from a international boarding high school in yanbu, Jamshed wanted to join the Pakistan Air Force to become a fighter pilot. However his weak eyesight prevented this. He then entered the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, where he took mathematics and physics before declaring his major in mechanical engineering. In 1990, Jamshed gained a Bachelor of Science degree, graduating in mechanical engineering. With his father's influence, he was employed by the PAF as a civilian contractor and moved on to a short-lived career in aeronautical engineering in the PAF's science command.

In 1983, Jamshed started performing rock music at Peshawar University and Islamabad University campuses while still a student at UET in Lahore. During this time, Rohail Hyatt was in town searching for a singer for the newly formed band, 'Vital Signs'. Bassist Shahzad Hasan and keyboardist Rohail Hyatt arrived at the campus of Peshawar University to meet Jamshed but were unable to do so because of severe winter weather in Peshawar. That night, Jamshed sang "Careless Whisper", a 1984 single by George Michael, on the university campus. They would not meet with Jamshed for a further four years. In 1987, Jamshed joined his engineering university's rock band, Nuts and Bolts as a lead vocalist and performed at Flashman's Hotel in Rawalpindi.

The band's guitarist, Nusrat Hussain, and Rohail Hyatt were also there in search of new talent at the hotel. When Jamshed came to perform on stage, Nusrat tipped Hyatt saying, "that kid's coming back; the guy you liked" and "perhaps we should go and see him." Hussain urged Hyatt to see him and after Jamshed's performance. With the help of Hyatt and Nusrat Hussain, Jamshed was inducted into the singing group Vital Signs and signed a record deal with record executive and producer Shoaib Mansoor to his PTV Music Studio

Music career

Vital Signs

Although the band Vital Signs began in early 1986 in Rawalpindi by Keyboardist Rohail Hyatt and bassist Shahzad Hasan (Shahi), it was not until later that Jamshed, then a young engineering student from UET Lahore, joined them as their lead singer. They began performing in different parts of the country after having secured a place in the underground music industry in Islamabad and Lahore. In a live concert in Islamabad, the band got noticed and approached by the music officials of the PTV, and a record deal was awarded by Rana Kanwal, a student of the National Academy of Performing Arts. Kanwal was given an assignment in which she wanted to make a music video and she wanted to make one of a music band. The band moved to Islamabad and began working on the first album for Kanwal, then-known as "Chehra" (lit. Face). According to Hyatt, "the song we created for her was Chehra. It was the first song we wrote as an entity and it was also a part of our first album." During this time, the band caught the attention of record producer and broadcaster Shoaib Mansoor who also taught at the National Academy of Performing Arts. Mansoor became acquainted with the band and worked on their first album, spearheading the writing of a patriotic song.

    We looked around and then we thought of Junaid, who was in a mediocre band and he was the best part about the band, he was a very good singer and with his good looks and great vocals, was the bona fide front man
    - Shahzad Hassan, Bassist for Vital Signs,

Finally, their first album, Vital Signs 1, was released nationwide and aired on PTV. Their debut hit single, "Dil Dil Pakistan" and "Tum Mil Gaye", released on 14 August 1987, gave them national fame and prominence. Both songs were big commercial hits and garnered high critical acclaim. The songs in the first album were instant Sleeper hit and quickly gained a huge nationwide success which completely shocked the band and in an interview given to PTV, Jamshed was quoted as saying: it was not something that would turn him into a professional musician. Jamshed maintained that his plans were to gain a degree in engineering to work for the Pakistan Air Force, initially he didn't want to have anything to do with music other than just treat it as a hobby. In 1990, Jamshed graduated with an engineering degree, and worked in the air force as a civil contractor for a short time before resigning from the air force.

However, Rohail and Shahzad soon managed to convince him otherwise. After a string of chart-topping songs and albums, the band split in 1998 and Jamshed began a solo career, achieving increasing commercial success. Their first album contained many hit songs and the band was approached by several international companies to write songs and advertise their products to the Pakistani public. Their success lifted the underground rock music industry to national level, and they are widely credited for boosting the Pakistani music industry. In 1991, the band released their second album, Vital Signs 2, produced by the EMI Studios in Pakistan. Although, the second album was not as successful as expected, the band made its first international tour in the United States.

In 1993, the band got together with Shoaib Mansoor once again and released their third album, Aitebar. Around the same time, Jamshed signed his first (and only) acting contract for PTV's television miniseries, Dhundle Raste.[18] In early 1995, the band released its fourth and last album, Hum Tum. By early 1996, various issues and difficulties between the members of the band began to surface in the media. After the release of their last single, Maula, Shahzad Hasan departed to the US after taking up a computer engineering job with IBM. Hyatt formed a recording company; Coke Studio which would later emerge as a successful enterprise.

Solo career

Jamshed released his first solo album, Junaid of Vital Signs in 1994. The album's name was later changed to Tumhara Aur Mera Naam. This was followed by Us Rah Par in 1999. Us Rah Par went on to become one of the best selling albums of that year. The album included several tracks which were released as singles which became popular. They included such songs as, "Us Rah Par", "Na Tu Ayegi", "Aankhon Ko Aankhon Ney" and "O Sanama". In 2000, Jamshed released his next album, The Best of Junaid Jamshed, which contained remixes of some of the hit singles of the Vital Signs era. His last solo album, Dil Ki Baat, was released in 2001.

In 2003, BBC World Service conducted an international poll to choose ten most famous songs of all time. Around 7000 songs were selected from all over the world. According to BBC, people from 155 countries/territories voted in the poll. "Dil Dil Pakistan" was ranked third among the top 10 songs.

In 2004, Jamshed renounced music and devoted his life to Islam. To supplement his income, he opened a clothing store "J.", selling Khaadis (a form of Kurta-Shalwar).

Drift from music

As early as 1999, the media began speculating about Jamshed's drift from music soon after the Vital Signs faded away. The speculations soon died after Jamshed released his solo albums and continued world tours. After 2001, Jamshed disappeared from the public eye and avoided media attention. His last two albums did not do well in the market and failed to get any positive response from the country's music critics. His former band mates, Shahi and Hyatt, saw him struggling to negotiate the transition from one world to another. He became distant from Hyatt, who continued to work on producing music. He also struggled financially after leaving the Vital Signs band, and it was Shoaib Mansoor who came to help him financially after giving him the role in Gulls & Guys television show.

After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Hyatt and Jamshed's tours in the West struggled with a lot of questions from Westerners about the country's culture, terrorism, and music. Upon returning, Jamshed filed for bankruptcy in court and made an attempt to resume his career in engineering after applying at various companies. Theories regarding Jamshed began to arise in media, therefore media outlets hired some paparazzi to follow Jamshed. It was frequently reported that Jamshed had distanced himself from music and had been praying five times a day regularly at the nearby mosque. Finally, Jamshed who had been out of practice from his engineering career for 20 years, announced that he would open a fashion-designing company with a close friend of his. In 2004, Jamshed officially renounced music after announcing that he had devoted his life to Islam. Jamshed then left engineering and, to supplement his income, he opened the clothing store "J.", selling Khaadis (a form of Kurta-Shalwar).

In 2007, in an interview in Chowk Magazine, Mansoor admitted that he was badly affected when Jamshed turned away from music:

    One morning I was going through a newspaper when I saw my friend Junaid Jamshed's interview in it. After looking at his new attire in the photograph, published with the article, I could not stop myself from reading it. The more I read the sadder I felt. He had announced that he was quitting music after being convinced that it was 'Haram'. It really shook me badly. I have never believed that God could hate the two most beautiful things he has given to mankind-music and painting. I felt that a confused man like Junaid had no right to confuse thousands of his youthful followers. I had given him sixteen years of my life as a true friend and had played my role in his professional life to the best of my abilities. How could he throw away our sixteen years just like that without even consulting me? I feel that it was my duty to rectify the damage he has done to the already suffering society under the influence of fundamentalists.
    - Shoaib Mansoor, 2007,

Mansoor directed and also wrote the script of the successful film Khuda Kay Liye released in 2007. Mansoor said that the film was inspired by Jamshed's life, and offered him a lead role in place of Shaan Shahid. When offered the role, Jamshed maintained that he will "shave his beard" for the film and the role for Jamshed was written by Mansoor. Jamshed later refused to be a part of the film and Mansoor maintained that: "Responses like this one convinced people that Jamshed was not certain about his future, and that the Islamist experience was just a phase."

Nonetheless, Jamshed did sing in some circles, privately, that is. Guitarist, Bilal Maqsood of Strings, held an annual open-mic jam session at his home. At Maqsood's party, one attendee remembered that: "But once he (Junaid) started singing, he just couldn't stop. He was having so much fun singing, he was on a roll." Maqsood maintained that later in the night, he dropped his wife Ayesha home and then came back to sing some more. Jamshed was one of the last people to leave that evening.


In 1987, Jamshed took Pakistani media by storm with his band's hit patriotic number "Dil Dil Pakistan", viewed as one of the most popular songs of all time by BBC World Service. This was a turning point in Pakistan's music history which ushered in a new era of pop music. Fourteen years later, he announced his retirement from music and devoted his time to religious preaching. Jamshed now sings Urdu and English nasheeds.

Charity work

Jamshed is also actively involved in charity work and has been associated with the NGO Muslim Charity since 2003. Under the leadership of Jamshed, Muslim Charity has made a significant impact since then, and which has in the last few years and expanded its operations to 17 countries.


Jamshed was in Chitral, along with one of his two wives, Nahya Junaid, for a Tablighi Jamaat mission. On 7 December 2016, the two were returning to Islamabad aboard the ill-fated PIA Flight 661, which crashed near Havelian, Khyber Paktunkhwa, killing all on board. Jamshed was enroute to deliver the Friday sermon at the Parliament mosque. The bodies were burnt beyond recognition. He is survived by his remaining wife, three sons, and a daughter.

Discography - With Vital Signs
  • 1989: Vital Signs 1
  • 1991: Vital Signs 2
  • 1993: Aitebar
  • 1995: Hum Tum
Solo Pop Albums
  • 1994 : Junaid of Vital Signs, renamed Tumhara Aur Mera Naam
  • 1999 : Us Rah Par
  • 2000 : The Best of Junaid Jamshed
  • 2001 : Dil Ki Baat
Nasheed Albums
  • 2005 : Jalwa-e-Janan (English: The Sight of the Beloved)
  • 2006 : Mehbob-e-Yazdan (English: The Beloved of God)
  • 2007 : Badr-ud-Duja (English: The Night's Full Moon)
  • 2008 : Yad-e-Haram
  • 2009 : Rehmat Ul Lil Aalamin
  • 2009 : Badi uz Zaman (English: the wonder of the age)
  • 2010 : Hadi Ul Anaam (English: The Guide to the World)
  • 2011 : Rabi-Zidn-e-Ilma (English: O'Lord! please increase my knowledge)
  • 2013 : Noor-Ul-Huda

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