Profile: The enigma that was Junaid Jamshed

Published: December 7, 2016


National icon Junaid Jamshed and his wife were among the 48 people aboard the PIA plane which crashed near Abbottabad today.

Born on September 3, 1964, the pop singer-turned-evangelist shot to stardom and became a household name in the 1980s as the front man of the celebrated Vital Signs.  The band delivered several chart-topping numbers, including the timeless classic Dil Dil Pakistan, dubbed the unofficial national anthem of Pakistan. Other songs included Tum Mil Gaye, Aitebaar and Who Kaun Thi. Vital Signs gained national and international acclaim, becoming the first Pakistani band to achieve commercial success.

In the late 90s, the band members went their separate ways, with Jamshed launching a solo career.

Junaid Jamshed and the ‘maternal instinct’

In 2004, Junaid’s life took a dramatic turn as he announced to quit his illustrious music career opting to focus on religion, and began preaching on TV. His appearance changed drastically, as he ditched leather jackets and stonewashed jeans for a more traditional ensemble and a beard. He went on to build a fashion empire, with a clothing boutique known as J., which has several outlets across Pakistan.

In 2007, Jamshed received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) by the then president.

Earlier this year, a mobile video was shared widely on social media, showing a charged crowd taking blows at Jamshed at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The men were chanting slogans against the preacher, claiming he had committed blasphemy.

The televangelist later said on his official Twitter account: “It is about time we as a nation decide that we will not let these religious fanatics prevail amongst us. They will be exposed and brought to task.”

Jamshed was embroiled in a blasphemy case in late 2014 after a video emerged in which he allegedly made inappropriate comments. However, Jamshed publicly apologised for his remarks and sought forgiveness, and the case did not proceed further.

The 52-year-old had kept a low profile ever since, and was last pictured with his friends in Chitral on December 4.

His name appeared among 48 others on a passenger manifest for Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) flight PK661, which crashed near the northern town of Havelian. His presence on board was confirmed by Sohail Ahmed, a PIA official in Chitral.

Tributes poured in as news of his death flashed across screens. Here are some reactions:

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (9)

  • Hasan
    Dec 7, 2016 - 7:20PM

    Rest in peace.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Dec 7, 2016 - 7:33PM

    Am I the only one who feels this so called crash has something more to this than that meets the eye . Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Dec 7, 2016 - 10:01PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    yes, you’re the only one. Recommend

  • Stark reality
    Dec 7, 2016 - 10:39PM

    The wife he was travelling with was his second wife. Shocking. RIP JJ.Recommend

  • Kamran B
    Dec 7, 2016 - 10:57PM

    His song YAAD KARNA should be played on TV, as the lyrics goes “Mar bhi jaown to mat rona”Recommend

  • Rahat Jan Mohmand
    Dec 7, 2016 - 11:20PM

    Heart is bleeding but despite all the griefs heart is content that all have been blessed as they embraced Shadah……Our heart felt condolence with grieved families. May ALLAH blessed them with Jannat-ul-Firdous…Amine Recommend

  • Zafar Sipra
    Dec 8, 2016 - 5:12AM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    You probably feel that for everything, even when looking at yourself in the mirror each time.Recommend

  • Nikki
    Dec 8, 2016 - 8:47AM

    Bitter reality that every one has to leave this World ,should do every deed for a noble cause that is a real success will work on the day of judgement. Permanent life will be after death.
    Be use full for other people Recommend

  • Jawaid Khalil
    Dec 9, 2016 - 4:57PM

    Junaid Jamshed was a great personality. As a singer, as a businessman and as a preacher he was the best. I heard a few of his Pashto Naats that he sung. Few would know that his father, a Pakhtun, hailed from KPK, the soil to which he returned. May Allah bless his soul. Recommend

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