Essay On National Anthem Of Pakistan

Junaid Jamshe­d feels that lyrics today are not reflec­tive of sentim­ents.

Junaid Jamshed feels that lyrics today are not reflective of sentiments. GRAPHIC: EXPRESS/FILE


There is something about the simplicity of Vital Signs’ Dil Dil Pakistan that tugs at the strings of Pakistani hearts. The melodious expression of love penned by Shoaib Mansoor, in Junaid Jamshed’s soft, soothing voice and Rohail Hyatt’s winning composition came about at a time when patriots were fed up with General Zia’s stifling dictatorship and were dreaming of freedom. Unlike recent times, where former prime minister Gilani could utter a statement like “why don’t they just go then — who’s stopping them?” with distressing poise, Dil Dil Pakistan’s lyrics “in ke siva, jaana kahan?” with the simple melody and percussions of the ‘90s (courtesy Shahzad Hasan and Nusrat Hussai) were endearing and addictive.

On August 14, 26 years after the song was first aired on PTV, The Express Tribune talks to former Vital Signs vocalist Junaid Jamshed — the singer of what is known as the second national anthem of Pakistan as well as the band’s biggest hit — about his attachment to the number as well as its relevance today.

“I feel quite humbled [by the song’s success],” says Jamshed. “There is an emotional attachment to this song — it is the country’s song. Dil Dil Pakistan is the ultimate example of patriotic love.”

For Jamshed, his journey with the band began when this song came about. “I became associated with Shoaib Mansoor, Shahzad Hasan, Rohail Hyatt, Nusrat Hussain, Salman Ahmad and Rizwanul Haq through this one song. When this anthem is played in England’s Lord’s cricket ground, you certainly can’t estimate how meaningful it becomes for us as a nation.”

While Jamshed left music years ago, he confesses that the song is close to his heart. “I don’t want to associate myself with music anymore, but I certainly cannot disassociate myself with Dil Dil Pakistan.”

But when asked how relevant the lyrics of the song are today, Jamshed confesses that the landscape and dynamics have changed. “The mechanics are definitely different today. Dil Dil Pakistan has no meaning left.” He continues, “Sadly, there is too much hatred that has sprung amongst our countrymen.

Today, we become rivals in a flash. What sense does ‘aisi zameen, aur asmaan’ make when you have no value for another Pakistani living on the same soil?” he beseeches, adding that people today are happier to make sacrifices for a political party instead of their own country.

On a more positive note, Jamshed tells us that he has sung the song twice in recent times. On a trip to Canada, where he had gone to recite a naat at an event, Jamshed relates a story of how dispersing crowds came together when he began  to sing.

“I was there, about to recite the naat, when it started pouring heavily. The crowd — which consisted of almost 80% Pakistanis — started dispersing. It was then that I started singing this song and they came back and started singing with me.”

The other incident he relates to is Salman Ahmad’s feat that went viral on YouTube and Facebook. “It so happened that Salman was planning to play the song at a PTI Convention, and he couldn’t do it right, somehow. So I sat down with him and told him how to go about it. These moments were captured by his son Imran. It was done in a casual and homely atmosphere, but it went viral [on social media websites].”

Record sales

Not only was Dil Dil Pakistan number three on the BBC World Service’s world top 10 songs in 2003, it has also been the most popular songs in terms of Pakistan viewers’ choice and sales. EMI-Pakistan’s current General Manager Zeeshan Chaudhry tells us, “This song can easily be claimed as the second national anthem of the country — it is so popular amongst the general public.”

TITLE                                                                        ARTIST  
Dil Dil PakistanVital Signs
Yeh Watan Tumhara HaiMehdi Hassan
Khayal RakhnaAlamgir
Ae Watan Pyare WatanAmanat Ali Khan
Hamara Parcham Yeh PyaraNahid Akhtar
Main Bhi Pakistan HoonMohammad Ali Sheki
Hum Zinda Qaum HainAmjad Hussain, Tehseen Javed & the Benjamin Sisters
Sohni Dharti Allah RakheShahnaz Begum
Watan Ki Matti Gawah RehnaNayyara Noor
Jug Jug Jiye Mera Pyara WatanNahid Akhtar

List of most popular songs in terms of sales provided by EMI-Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.

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Hafeez Jullundhri wrote the lyrics of the National Anthem of Pakistan in 1952

The Qaumī Tarāna (Urdu: قومی ترانہ) is the national anthem of Pakistan. The words “Qaumi Tarana” in Urdu literally translate to “National Anthem”. The Pakistani national anthem is unique in that its music, composed by Ahmad G. Chagla, preceded its lyrics, which are in Persianized Urdu and were written by Hafeez Jullundhri. Another feature of the anthem is that no verse in the three stanza lyrics is repeated.

In early 1948, A. R. Ghani from Transvaal, South Africa, offered two prizes of five thousand rupees each for the poet and composer of a new national anthem for the newly independent state of Pakistan. The prizes were announced through a government press advertisement published in June 1948. In December 1948, the Government of Pakistan establishhed the National Anthem Committee (NAC), which was initially chaired by the Information Secretary, Sheikh Muhammad Ikram. The Committee members included several politicians, poets and musicians such as Abdur Rab Nishtar, Ahmad G. Chagla and Hafeez Jullundhri. The committee had some difficulty at first in finding suitable music and lyrics.



In 1950, the impending state visit of the Shah of Iran resulted in the Pakistani Government asking the NAC to submit an anthem without delay. The committee chairman, the Federal Minister for Education, Fazlur Rahman, asked several poets and composers to write lyrics but none of the submitted works were deemed suitable. The NAC also examined several different tunes and eventually selected the one presented by Chagla and submitted it for formal approval. Chagla produced the musical composition in collaboration with another committee member and assisted by the Pakistan Navy band.

The music of the anthem was composed by Chagla with lyrics written by Jullundhri. The music for the anthem had been composed in 1950 and had been used on several state occasions before being officially adopted in 1954. The three stanza composition is unique in a way that no part of the anthem repeats itself. The lyrics allude to a “Sacred Land” referring to Pakistan and a “Flag of the Crescent and Star” referring to the national flag. Unofficially, the anthem is sometimes referred to by its first line ”Pāk sarzamīn shād bād“ (Urdu: “Blessed be the sacred land”). The national anthem is played during any event involving the hoisting of the flag, for example Pakistan Day (March 23) and Independence Day (August 14).

The anthem without lyrics was performed for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and later for the National Anthem Committee on August 10, 1950. Although it was approved for playing during the visit of the Shah, official recognition was not given until August 1954. The anthem was also played during the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States. The NAC distributed records of the composed tune amongst prominent poets, who responded by writing and submitting several hundred songs for evaluation by the NAC. Eventually, the lyrics written by Jullundhri were approved and the new national anthem was first played properly on Radio Pakistan on August 13, 1954. Official approval was announced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on August 16, 1954. The composer Chagla had however died in 1953, before the new national anthem was officially adopted. In 1955 there was a performance of the national anthem involving eleven major singers of Pakistan including Ahmad Rushdi.


The music composed by Chagla reflects his background in both eastern and western music. The lyrics are written in a Persianized form of Urdu. Every word in the entire anthem is a loanword from Persian or Arabic except the word “ka” ( کا, “of” ). The anthem lasts for 1 minute and 20 seconds, and uses twenty one musical instruments and thirty eight different tones.

قومى ترانہ (Urdu)
پاک سرزمین شاد باد
كشور حسين شاد باد
تو نشان عزم علیشان
! ارض پاکستان
مرکز یقین شاد باد
pāk sarzamīn shād bād
kishwar-i hasīn shād bād
tū nishān-i `azm-i `alīshān
arz-i pākistān!
markaz-i yaqīn shād bād
Blessed be the sacred land
Happy be the bounteous realm
Thou symbol of high resolve
O Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be thou centre of faith
پاک سرزمین کا نظام
قوت اخوت عوام
قوم ، ملک ، سلطنت
! پائندہ تابندہ باد
شاد باد منزل مراد
pāk sarzamīn kā nizām
qūwat-i ukhūwat-i `awām
qaum, mulk, sultanat
pā’inda tābinda bād!
shād bād manzil-i murād
The order of this sacred land
Is the might of the brotherhood of the people
May the nation, the country, and the state
Shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition
پرچم ستارہ و هلال
رہبر ترقی و کمال
ترجمان ماضی شان حال
! جان استقبال
سایۂ خدائے ذوالجلال
parcham-i sitāra-o hilāl
rahbar-i taraqqī-o kamāl
tarjumān-i māzī, shān-i hāl
jān-i istiqbāl!
sāya-i khudā-i zu’l-jalāl
The flag of the crescent and star
Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Inspiration of our future!
Shelter of God, the Glorious and Mighty


* 1947 – The new state of Pakistan comes into being on 14 August
* 1950 – Musical composition for the Qaumi Tarana is composed by the Pakistani musical composer, Ahmad G. Chagla (running time, 1 minute 20 seconds)
* 1952 – Verses written by the Pakistani poet, Hafeez Jullundhri, are selected from amongst 723 entries
* 1954 – Broadcast for the first time on Radio Pakistan on 13 August
* 1955 – Sung by 11 famous Pakistani singers including Ahmad Rushdi, Shamim Bano, Kokab Jehan, Rasheeda Begum, Najam Ara, Naseema Shaheen, Zwar Hussain, Akhtar Abbas, Ghulam Dastgir, Anwar Zaheer and Akhtar Wassi
* 1996 – Rendered in electric guitar for the first time by Pakistani rock band Junoon in their album Inquilaab
* 2011 – 5,857 people gathered in a stadium in Karachi at 12:05 a.m. on 14 August to sing the Qaumi Tarana and set a new world record for most people gathered to sing a national anthem

Previous national anthem claim

For the first time in 2010, it was claimed by a blogger, Adil Najam, that the first anthem of Pakistan was written by Jagannath Azad, a Hindu poet from Lahore who wrote on the personal request ofMuhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah asked him to write the anthem on August 11, 1947 and it was later approved by Jinnah and used to be the official national anthem for the next year and a half. However, many historians like Dr. Safdar Mahmood, a renowned scholar, reject this claim and believe that Jagannath Azad never wrote Pakistan’s first national anthem. This issue is still controversial. The fact that no such claim was made prior to 2010 also makes this claim doubtful. According to Jagannath Azad, “The National anthem was written by me in five days time. It was too short time for me but I tried to do full justice to it keeping in mind the road map charted by Jinnah sahib for modern Pakistan. The national anthem was sent to Jinnah sahib who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan radio, Karachi (which was the capital of Pakistan then). Meanwhile the situation in both east and west Punjab was becoming worse with every passing day and the same set of friends told me in September 1947 that even they would not be able to provide protection to me and that it would be better for me to migrate to India. I decided to migrate to this side. The song written by me continued to be the national anthem for one and a half years.” But this claim could never be proved as the Radio Pakistan recordings and international broadcasting services of that time like BBC has no such records that this version of anthem was ever played on Radio Pakistan. The claim also could not be justified as Radio Pakistan, Karachi was established in 1948 and was not present in 1947. At independence Pakistan only possessed three radio stations at Dhaka (established in 1939), Lahore (1937) and Peshawar (1936). Another argument given against Azad stance that this statement was used from personal talks with no proven record until an Indian then recent graduate claimed in one of his article without any references to the published interviews, moreover, this could not also be proved that Jinnah ever met Azad. The claim could not established because none of Azad’s published book included this poem which as a poet must be in his writings. It has still been acknowledged that Azad might have written this song as he loved Punjab and Pakistan, and was a scholar on Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal and wanted it to be recognized as one of the Pakistan’s national songs. The website about Azad also claimed that he was given Presidential Iqbal Award from Pakistan in 1979 but the records from Pakistan government doesnt authenticate this claim.

:اے سرزمین پاک
ذرے ترے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
تندی حاسداں پہ ہے غالب تیرا سواک
دامن وہ سل گیا ہے جو تھا مدتوں سے چاک
اے سرزمین پاک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak
Tundi-e-hasdan pe ghalib hai tera swaak
Daman wo sil gaya hai jo tha mudaton se chaak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
O, Land of the Pure
The grains of your soil are glowing today
Brighter than the stars and the galaxies
Awe-struck is the enemy by your will-power
Open wounds are sewn, we’ve found a cure
O, Land of the Pure…
:اب اپنے عزم کو ہے نیا راستہ پسند
اپنا وطن ہے آج زمانے میں سر بلند
پہنچا سکے گا اس کو نہ کوئی بھی اب گزند
اپنا علم ہے چاند ستاروں سے بھی بلند
اب ہم کو دیکھتے ہیں عطارد ہوں یا سماک
اے سرزمین پاک
Ab apne azm ko hai naya rasta pasand
Apna watan hai aaj zamane main sar buland
Pohncha sake ga is ko na koi bhi ab gazand
Apna alm a hai chand sitaron se bhi buland
Ab ham ko dekhtey hain atarad hon ya samaak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
New paths of progress, we resolve to tread
Proudly, our nation stands with a high head
Our flag is aflutter above the moon and the stars
As planets look up to us be it Mercury or Mars
No harm will now come from anywhere, for sure
O, Land of the Pure…
:اترا ہے امتحان میں وطن آج کامیاب
اب حریت کی زلف نہیں محو پیچ و تاب
دولت ہے اپنے ملک کی بے حد و بے حساب
ہوں گے ہم آپ ملک کی دولت سے فیض یاب
مغرب سے ہم کو خوف نہ مشرق سے ہم کو باک
اے سرزمین پاک
Utra hai imtehan main watan aaj kamyab
Ab huriat ki zulf nahin mahiv-e-paich-o-taab
Daulat hai apne mulk ki be had-o-be hisaab
Hon ge ham aap mulk ki daulat se faiz yab
Maghrib se hum ko khauf na mashriq se hum ko baak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
The nation has tasted success at last
Now freedom struggle is a thing of the past
The wealth of our country knows no bounds
For us are its benefits and bounty all around
Of East and West, we have no fear
O, Land of the Pure…
:اپنے وطن کا آج بدلنے لگا نظام
اپنے وطن میں آج نہیں ہے کوئی غلام
اپنا وطن ہے راہ ترقی پہ تیز گام
آزاد، بامراد، جوان بخت شاد کام
اب عطر بیز ہیں جو ہوائیں تھیں زہر ناک
اے سرزمین پاک
Apne watan ka aaj badalne laga nizam
apne watan main aaj nahin hai koi ghulam
apna watan hai rah-e-taraqi pe tez gam
azad, bamurad jawan bakht shad kaam
ab itr bez hain jo hawain thin zehr naak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
Change has become the order of the day
No-one is a slave in the nation today
On the road to progress, we’re swiftly going along
Independent and fortunate, happy as a song
Gloomy winds are gone, sweet freedom’s in the air
O, Land of the Pure…
:ذرے تیرے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
اے سرزمین پاک
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
The grains of your soil are glowing today
Brighter than the stars and the galaxies
O, Land of the Pure…

Ahmad G. Chagla composed the National Anthem of Pakistan in 1950

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