Junaid Jamshed, a Pakistani pop star turned evangelical Muslim cleric, was on board a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft that crashed into a mountainside on Wednesday. Jamshed rocketed to fame in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s as the singer for the Vital Signs rock group and later launched a solo career, with a string of chart-topping albums and hits.
His name appeared 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.
Jamshed retired from music in 2001 and announced that he was devoting his life to Islam, joining the conservative Tableeghi Jamaat religious organisation.
Vital Signs was one of Pakistan’s first and most successful rock and pop bands of the 1990s. Many of the reactions on social network Twitter spoke to this apparent dichotomy between his two lives, first as a heartthrob pop sensation singing about love and heartbreak, and later as a stern, bearded preacher admonishing youth for straying from Islam.
“Junaid Jamshed’s journey was so quintessentially Pakistani. Conflicted, passionate, devoted, ubersmart, and so, so talented. Tragic loss,” Mosharraf Zaidi, an Islamabad-based development professional and analyst, said in a tweet.
Others simply shared his band’s many chart-topping hits, such as ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’, which has become an unofficial anthem, played at public gatherings since its release in 1987. Many celebs also took to social media to share their shock.
Loss of words. Shocking. Condolences to the families of all the passengers. Junaid bhaee :( #PIAcrash
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) December 7, 2016
My heart is drowning in sadness to learn about the air crash of Pia.. news feared my friends Junaid Jamshed and alay Akram was in it 2..
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) December 7, 2016
Saddened beyond words! Rest in peace #JunaidJamshed & all the people who were on board! Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajiun!
— URWA HOCANE (@VJURWA) December 7, 2016
— salman ahmad (@sufisal) December 7, 2016
— Fakhr-e-Alam (@falamb3) December 7, 2016
(With inputs from Reuters)