Dear haters, if anything, Umair Jaswal is taking Pakistan’s music industry forward

Some claimed the song was an affront to sangeet and some went far enough to say that Umair Jaswal was ‘not a singer’.

Muhammad Arsalan September 09, 2015
The music industry in Pakistan has had its golden age, when people used to listen to local music, invest in cassettes and CDs and were wholeheartedly devoted to the local musical talent. With the advent of technology and the internet, the music industry has suffered a hit. Now, people download pirated music off the internet.

This has led to the deterioration of the industry and is highly discouraging for the Pakistani music artists. Now most artists rely on concerts, endorsements and pay checks from advertisements, instead of album sales, to keep their guitars strung.

There have been attempts to revive the music industry which are laudable. Coke StudioNescafe Basement and Pepsi Smash have kept the listeners entranced by introducing a fusion of classical, pop, rock and other genres. A new wave of quality music is sweeping the nation. The era of catchy, lame and mindless music seems to be drawing to a close, and we have Coke Studio’s Season 8 to thank for that.

Songs like BewajahTajdar-e-HaramRung Jindri and Sammi Meri Waar have taken over the music scene in Pakistan completely. However, there is a problem that we need to address. The Pakistani listeners are quick to present their egregious critique to the reformation that is taking place in the musical sphere. This puts the local talent at the risk of feeling disenfranchised.

Yesterday, I was reading an article in which Umair Jaswal talked about how he received hordes of hate mail after the unveiling of Sammi Meri Waar. His song received more hits than Ali Zafar’s Rockstar, which was admired by many celebrities, including Imran Khan.

I shared that particular article with my friends and family, and received some mixed feedback. Some people claimed that the song was an affront to sangeet and some went far enough to say that Jaswal was ‘not a singer’. One of my friends said,
“I don’t like his new song. I didn’t enjoy his shrill long shoots, but sometimes bad voices have to be given some airplay, so that good parts can be appreciated.”

My eyes have never rolled that far back. Not only is this nonsensical, it is just plain foolish.

Despite the negativity that is emanating from keyboards across Pakistan, Jaswal has established a strong fan base. There is a significant section of listeners that is bewitched by his style, energy and high vocals. Therefore, I would say that Jaswal has managed to carve out a niche for himself in the music scene, despite all the critics and haters.

Flagrant critique, the production of memes and parodies, and the inimical imitation of his moves, although meant to cause harm to his musical endeavours, have instead elevated him to celebrity status.


I think it’s time that we stop trying to tear down the reformers in the music industry and give them the respect that they deserve. It’s time to build, not destroy. It’s time to offer constructive criticism instead of hateful rants.

Shiraz Uppal, Call the band and Mustafa Zahid did not get their big break until they became involved in the film industry. Our music industry has relied on the film industry for far too long. Now that Pakistani music is growing its own wings, we need to allow it to soar out of the nest.

Interesting things are coming our way. I, for one, am very excited to see this revolution in our music industry.
Muhammad Arsalan The author is a researcher and trainer, doing MBA Marketing from Bahria University Islamabad. He tweets as @arsalanashraff
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Parvez | 5 years ago | Reply The original will always remain the original.......innovation does not reduce it in any way, if anything, if the copy is good, its a sort of compliment to the original.
Saad Hassan | 5 years ago | Reply After looking at what Umair Jaswal went through, I am glad Alamgir doesn't perform much anymore or he would have been target of these lame video parodies and memes as well. I grew up in the times when alamgir's concerts were sold out. People went to his concerts not just to enjoy his singing but for his "wacky" performances. He brought zest to the stage, literally and we loved it. We appreciated all genres of music and singers, local or international. Don't know what happened to you kids. Why have you become so intolerant, negative and harsh. Why is making fun of everyone a thing now.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ