LONDON – As news reaches us of the death of over 40 men, women and children, on a flight from Chitral to Islamabad, social media is abuzz with sadness, as one of the passengers on board, Junaid Jamshed, came to an untimely death.
Subject to much controversy in recent years where his misogynistic and patriarchal points of view on broadcast television have been the cause for many discussions, including mockery – he once said that women should not drive, with commentators adding, except when they go to his shops to buy from his clothes range.
Despite these modern anomalies, as a member of the Pakistani pop rock band, Vital Signs, he reached national fame in the 1980s. One of the groups most popular songs was, Dil Dil Pakistan, meaning, my heart, my heart is for Pakistan, or my love my love is for Pakistan.
My last encounter with Junaid Jamshed was at the Global Peace & Unity Event organised by the Islam Channel, in London in 2013. Our theological differences aside, he said, ‘We have MTV and the Grammy Awards in the West where artists have an opportunity to perform in front of the whole world. I think the GPU is such an event’ – the Muslim equivalent. That day, he sang with fellow Rasheed Artist Najam Sheraz to a full auditorium.
The reaction across social media has been solemn:
“Oh no, Junaid Jamshed feared dead in plane crash …”
“How devastating. I just keep thinking back to the old JJ and the Vital Signs era. He uplifted so many people with his music. Yes, it was sad to see what he had become. He was a talented man. ”
“He was an icon for us in the 90s. Will always cherish Vital Signs. Rip”
“Innalilahi waa innaelayhi rajaoon…plane crash in Pakistan. Junaid jamshed and wife were apparently aboard. Allah have mercy on everyone’s souls”
“Extremely Devastating News. Former Pakistani Pop Icon “Vital Signs” turned Islamic scholar “Junaid Jamshed” and his (second) wife died in Plane crash today (his first wife is in London), انا للہ و انا الیہ راجعون PIA plane crashed near Abbottabad. His brother confirmed the incident. I met him few months back, never thought this would be last.. May their soul rest in peace.”
“So sad to know #JunaidJamshaid has died. Having to see him on TV since early childhood – from Dil Dil Pakistan to establishing a garments multinational, stirring controversies, maintaining fan clubs, devoted followings … what a legend, what a life! RIP”
“Differences aside, Dil Dil Pakistan! So sad! So very sad!”
“Saddened by the news of PIA crash. Allah have mercy.”
“Despised JJ- but too sad for the families… “
“OMG so sad.”
“Sad news. I used to like him but didn’t like the new JJ. His second wife was with him, his first wife Ayesha is in London. Ive been thinking about his interview when he said women shud not go out to work, and the anchor asked what if someone’s husband pass away and she has to work, he replied now u r really giving a very hypothetical situation.”
Whatever any person’s point of view, particularly of his more recent and unpleasant comments regarding women, he was for many still, including many women, an icon of entertainment. And as a human being, it is our responsibility to honor, respect and pray for all those who have passed.
May God Almighty forgive us all our sins, our errors and our deliberate wrongs. And may God Almighty grant us all ease and peace in this life and the next, amen.