Top 10 Pakistani songs of 2013

Published: December 19, 2013


To say that Pakistani music had an eventful year would be an understatement. With multi-national brands promoting local artistes through TV shows such as Nescafe Basement and Pepsi Smash, there have been more performers in the spotlight this past year than ever before.

The Express Tribune decided to round-up the 10 Pakistani songs from 2013 that you simply had to listen to before the year was out.

10. Main Sufi Hoon — The Sketches

Coming in at number 10 we have yet a quality number by the Jamshoro-based The Sketches. In this track they have merged the combined talent of Faraz Anwar, Gumby and the US-based producer/musician Jono Manson to bring forward a powerful and contemporary interpretation of Sachal Sarmast’s poetry, both audio-wise and visually.

9. Aakhir Kyun — Chambaili

The pop-rock soundtrack for the Pakistani film Chambaili was the first release by the Nabeel Nihal Project. Combining Nabeel Nihal Chishti’s production and guitars with Karavan front man Tanseer Dar’s vocals, Aakhir Kyun is a track that is both soothing and dark. This track is a testament to how much Chishti has evolved from the good old days of Aaroh.

8. Tension — Faraz Anwar

Faraz Anwar’s solo effort fused Bhangra beats with a rock groove, resulting in one of the most catchy rock songs of the year. While Anwar’s vocals have always been his greatest weakness, the powerful guitar solo will blow you away. This energetic track is guaranteed to make you get up and make something of your life.

7. Asrar  — Waris Shah

Asrar has to be one of the most prolific new artists from Pakistan to emerge this year, who has stayed relevant by releasing back to back videos. His rendition of Amrita Pritam’s poem Waris Shah puts his raw vocals to good use against an acoustic backdrop and minimalistic arrangement of instruments.

6. Black Coffee Khwabon Mein — Zohaib Kazi

This year, Zohaib Kazi has diversified away from his initial semi-classical release Jaan Lo. In Black Coffee Khwaabon Mae he collaborates with the best in the business — Abbas Ali Khan, Sara Haider, Omran Shafique and Gumby. All this talent combined, surprisingly results in a harmonious and atmospheric pop-rock song that leads one down memory lane to the early ’90s pop scene of Pakistan.

5. Pariyaan — Bell

A relaxing number, Pariyaan is the debut video by Karachi based blues band Bell, comprising of Hazrat Shahab Hussain, Zeeshan Lalani, Muhammad Abid and Ahad Nayani. This mellow number highlights what this new band has to offer — a contemporary blues sound and catchy melodies.

4. Jeevan — Pepsi Smash Ft Strings

Pepsi Smash was a game changing venture this year that brought an altogether EDM sound into the mainstream of Pakistani music, propelled by the expertise of Faisal Baig. String’s signature song writing combined with Baig’s finesse as a producer resulted in one of the most melodious songs of the year.

Edit: An unintentional omission on our part may give readers the impression that we are claiming Faisal Baig is the sole producer of Pepsi Smash, which is incorrect. Pepsi Smash has been co-produced by Farhad Humayun, Faisal Baig and Sheraz Siddiq.

3. Laili Jaan — Coke Studio Season 6

Despite criticism levelled at Coke Studio for its overly experimental approach this season, Laili Jaan stood out regardless. A brilliant rendition of the Darri folk classic by Zeb & Haniya, coupled with a mesmerising brass section, made it one of the most powerful and flawless productions of the year.

2. Paar Chana Dae — Zinda Bhaag

With Zinda Bhaag’s soundtrack, Sahir Ali Bhagga created a totally new sound by combining elements of A R Rehman and Vishal Bhardwaj’s music. Only a genius like him could find a rare voice like Saleema Jawad and pair her up with the legendary Arif Lohar. The larger than life Paar Chana Dae is folk music like never before; the grandeur of which will transport you into another universe.

1. Har Zulm — Sajjad Ali

The number one spot on our list goes to the one pop star that has proved time and again to have the Midas touch — none other than Sajjad Ali. Har Zulm, another unforgettable ghazal brings him to top of our playlist. Ali is by far the best singer in Pakistan, and also the most dynamic and diverse. He has a knack for modern arrangements and knows exactly what sort of music will mesmerise his fans, whether it is rock with Bolo Bolo, rap with Chief Saab or semi-classical with Har Zulm.

Which is your favourite song?

     View Results

Polls are non-scientific, reflect only the online audience and can be manipulated.
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Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • Kaleem
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:47PM

    Where is Eye to Eye? #Injustice ;)


  • Asif
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Seriously? I only know the top 3 but the rest, never heard.


  • Anonymous!
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:27PM

    How come ‘Jogi’ by Fareeha Pervaiz (coke Studio) didn’t make the list whereas LaliJaan made it..?!


  • Khurram Awan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:29PM

    The list is incomplete. Many are missing.
    You missed the song of Uzair Khan Chugtai that is a hit as well.

    There is another one by Asim Azhar


  • gp65
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:30PM

    Thanks for the recommendations. Pakistan has some great musical talent


  • Raza
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:32PM

    No top 10 songs list can be complete without eye to eye =P


  • sensible
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:33PM

    “Rabba ho” by saien zahoor feat. sanam marvi is the best of the year.


  • Burn
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:47PM

    Where is Eye to Eye That is number van Song.


  • TroubleSome
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:48PM

    Not of even close of top 10 songs of Pakistan


  • Tariq Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:52PM

    What no eye to eye by Tahir Shah??? :) He was a sensation in his viral moment


  • Cheema
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:52PM

    The above songs just reflect the personal choice of the Author and nothing else.
    how come this song did not make it in the top 10 list. ?

    Halka Halka Suroor – Farhan Saeed (Official Video)Recommend

  • Saad
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:59PM

    How did you made this list? Is it personal choices? DON’T IMPOSE YOUR PERSONAL CHOICES ON READERS.

    Where is the song Sher Khan by Ahmed Siddiq?


  • Khurram
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:09PM

    why Eye to Eye is not in the list?…That was a most popular song this year who rocked you tube with millions like just in a week


  • Khurram
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:18PM

    Boss…u missed eye-to-eye in the list…now Tahir Shah will come in your dream…Beware…!! Good Luck


  • Rahul (Indian)
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:26PM

    Up until the early 00’s Pakistani pop music was quite the rage in India…. If I am not wrong back in those days pakistani pop music was more popular than indian pop, much like how bollywood music has held the pakistani populace captive in 2013… There was/is something about pakistani music(pop) that was,in a word, timeless… Infact I still prefer to listen to Sarki Yeh Bahar and Tere Bina(By Fuzon-not one of their popular songs), Sayonee(a little older) among other songs… What went so bad in the last ten odd years that Pakistani music just couldn’t survive despite the talent being there… Musharraf was a rather benign dictator(against Zia) and he somehow brought in a revolution in the media and even some years of serious economic growth.. why is pakistani music not blooming then?… certainly economy cant be the reason… your economy is better than what it was 12 years back……. Strange…


  • Haider
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:51PM

    ‘Nescafe Basement’ has been the most popular thing this year delivering amazing songs. How can that be missed?


  • zafar
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:19PM

    CJ needs to take a sou motto, this is utter injustice, Eye2Eye is not even mentioned


  • Dhaka
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:38PM

    Pakistan music, is such an industry present in pakistan ? We never heard any pakistani music.Bangla music is more popular.


  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:41PM

    If the Taliban come into power, there won’t be any more music to enjoy.


  • Zeeshan Siddiqui
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:52PM

    Thanks Rafay. I am out of touch from the Pakistani music scene and this really helped. I promptly made a playlist in YouTube. Looking forward to more recommendations in music and books from Pakistan


  • Truthprevails
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:59PM

    Is this a news site or personal blog of ET??
    Also, i fail to understand how this deserves to be on main page


  • Indignant
    Dec 20, 2013 - 12:05AM

    @Rahul (Indian):

    Agree with both of you. Listening to many of these songs, I felt that I was living under a rock. How else could I have missed these wonderful songs?

    I wonder why these videos don’t show up in India or why the music isn’t publicized.


  • Indian Business Analyst
    Dec 20, 2013 - 12:40AM

    hey,I live in Jalandhar,Punjab…never heard any pakistani song in my life……I only knew songs sung by pakistani people who come to India…would u please throw some light regarding that pakistan has song industry also..


  • HipHop
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:22AM

    Where’s Adil Omar? Where’s Young Stunners? Bilal Khan?


  • Salman
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:32AM

    It is kind of sad to see the direction where Pakistani music is headed. The only song in the list which is worth being there is Main Sufi Hoon by The Sketches. Coke Studio has taken away all the creativity from some of the most promising musicians that we had and made them into one-style-fits-all drones. And now Pepsi seems to be trying to do the same. There is a serious need to discover raw/uncorrupted talent. People like Salman Ahmed, Xulfi, Amir Zaki need to come back and try to re-establish the foundation they laid, which has been almost fully destroyed by Coke n Pepsi.


  • great stuiff
    Dec 20, 2013 - 2:01AM

    very good effort to appreciate the musicians who are switiching jobs


  • Anum
    Dec 20, 2013 - 2:27AM

    Excellent list. Thank you for the shout out to independent acts.

    Nescafé basement is mediocre, derivative, unimaginative drivel. Sorry.


  • Takloo
    Dec 20, 2013 - 3:50AM

    Lolx…who cares about bangla music??…Pak music industry is one of the most groomed and flourishing industry in the region…


  • Ali
    Dec 20, 2013 - 4:37AM

    Just heard of Main Sufi Houn by The Sketches.
    I think one of the best independent tracks And video of the year.

    Coke pepsi And nescafe are just recreating old music over And over again.
    Where is the creativity? Are we not capable of producing good independent music now?

    And BTW, Fire records has done it’s part in destroying the industry.


  • Smelly
    Dec 20, 2013 - 6:36AM

    You guys missed out on some really good Nescafe basemet songs like Tere Ishq and Mr. Faudiye.


  • Dec 20, 2013 - 10:00AM

    “Waris Shah” by Asrar is best among all, what a powerful voice control that guy has got. Seriously!


  • Hardliner
    Dec 20, 2013 - 11:08AM

    How come there be no Ayesha Omar??? She sang that lovely “LAAGAY RE” song in CS Season 6……………….. My vote’s for her!


  • Dhaka
    Dec 20, 2013 - 11:21AM

    We never heard any pakistan music,even indians never heard about that.Don’t spread false pride


  • Rumormonger
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:19PM

    Hope the CJ does not take your comment as a personal attack. Eyes are not exactly his forte….


  • RJ
    Dec 20, 2013 - 2:25PM

    What about Rahat qawwali from Zinda Bhaag?


  • Asad
    Dec 20, 2013 - 4:15PM

    Zohaib Qazi all the way !!


  • Aslan
    Dec 20, 2013 - 5:30PM

    You guys publish a lot of articles which are often inaccurate. It’s annoying.


  • Rizz shah
    Dec 20, 2013 - 7:04PM

    The artical is great but all the singers are new and unknow.
    Visite the famous singers Top 10 pakistani songs


  • bobo
    Dec 20, 2013 - 8:09PM

    where is ‘eye to eye’… this list is biased ughhhhh :P


  • PakistaniLoyalist
    Dec 20, 2013 - 9:37PM

    Bangali !!! We dont speak bangala nor do we want to and the last thing we ever need is bangalis to hear our songs !!!


  • Dec 20, 2013 - 11:34PM

    best one is Har Zulm by Sajjad Ali


  • Sid
    Dec 21, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Enjoyed many music from Pakistan. My good associations are attached with Strings album Door which came out during my high school, Ali Haider’s “Purani Jeans” during my college years. Wish we develop more cordial relationships and have artists from both side perform to more wider audiance.


  • Ashim
    Dec 21, 2013 - 12:08PM

    The thing about formula music is it comes out great but the trick is to make your own formula to sound different and great of course. I chose Zohaib Kazi’s Khwabon Mein, love the lyrics too, makes me want to dream big.


  • Detested
    Dec 21, 2013 - 12:26PM

    This is the mockery of the music. songs of different genre should can never becompared with each other.


  • lol
    Dec 21, 2013 - 12:39PM

    So many good musicians in Pakistan .WOW


  • kumar gaurav
    Dec 21, 2013 - 2:18PM

    Dear pakistani brothers, I really love pakistani music and still searching for the best songs and downloading all the listed songs here, but I need to listen more and more best pakistani songs, like khwaishey, mujh me hai tu etc, plz send me an extended list of mp3 songs, if possible with link, or with full details so I can download and can listen..! Please, thnks in advance, my email is

  • Dec 21, 2013 - 2:29PM

    Well Done Pakistan Music Industry..Keep it up !!


  • Anwaar
    Dec 26, 2013 - 3:40PM

    All thanks to Fire Records for destroying the amazingly talented musicians of Pakistan…..


  • Dec 26, 2013 - 10:20PM

    Uhm… wow, this is a very, very sad list of the top 10 songs of 2013… except for maybe 2-3 songs that are on a spectrum of good to alright.


  • AB
    Dec 27, 2013 - 2:39AM

    I find the results interesting. Giving “Har Zulm” maximum appreciation tells a lot about “listeners’ taste” these days, a reflection of the mood of the masses!


  • redalert
    Jan 3, 2014 - 6:32PM

    @Dhaka: but still you read pakistani news paper and care to comment. .strange ain’t it.


  • redalert
    Jan 3, 2014 - 6:35PM

    @Rahul (Indian):
    May be it’s because you have grown older now..stick on to the songs from your era that’s better for you.


  • khalid javid
    Jan 22, 2014 - 11:40AM

    No mention of Falak Shabir, Farhan Saeed, Bilal Khan… and last but not least Tahir Shah!!!


  • kaka
    Jan 22, 2014 - 12:07PM

    @ Dhaka
    You make us laugh again


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