Remembering Junaid Jamshed
Junaid Jamshed Khan was a Pakistani recording artist, television personality, fashion designer, occasional actor, singer-songwriter, and preacher. Junaid Jamshed was born in Karachi to Jamshed Akbar. A group captain in the Pakistan Air Force from Nowshera, and Nafeesa Akbar Khan, the granddaughter of the nawab of Loharu State.
After graduating from an international boarding high school in Yanbu’ al Bahr in Saudi Arabia. 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.
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.
Finally, their first album, Vital Signs 1, was released nationwide and aired on PTV. Their debut hit singles, “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 an instant Sleeper hitand quickly gained a huge nationwide success.
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 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.
Junaid Jamshed Going Solo
Junaid Jamshed released his first solo album, Junaid of Vital Signs in 1994. The album’s name was later changed to Tumhara Aur Mera Naam by the record producers. After departing from Vital Signs in 1998, Jamshed released the second solo album, the Us Rah Par in 1999. The second solo album, Us Rah Par went on to become one of the best selling albums of 1999. In 2000, Jamshed released his third album, The Best of Junaid Jamshed, which contained remixes of some of the hit singles of the Vital Signs era, though it captured the mix success. His fourth and last solo album, Dil Ki Baat, was released in 2001. Which became highly successful in the country and gained a lot of public and media attention.
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.
Reverting From Music
In 2004, Jamshed officially renounced music after announcing that he had devoted his life to Islam. Junaid Jamshed then left engineering and, to supplement his income, he opened the clothing store “J.”, selling Khaadis.
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. He 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 1986, Jamshed earned a lot of publicity with the Vital Signs’ hit rock song, Do Pal Ka. The Vital Signs band became popular with Pakistan’s media after the success of the patriotic Dil Dil Pakistan. He has been listed by The Muslim 500 as one of the “World’s Most Influential Muslims”. For his involvement in charity work, especially with the NGO Muslim Charity from 2003 until his death in 2016. It stated that “(the) Muslim Charity has achieved a great deal under his leadership and expanded its operations to 16 countries.”
The Last Flight
Jamshed was in Chitral, along with his second wife, Nayha Junaid, for a Tablighi Jamaat mission. On 7 December 2016, the two were returning to Islamabad aboard PIA Flight 661, which crashed near Havelian, Khyber Paktunkhwa, killing all on board. Jamshed was en route to deliver the Friday sermon at the Parliament mosque. He is survived by his first wife, Ayesha, three sons, and a daughter.