5 Pakistani songs that are a national embarrassment

We’ve produced some really great musicians, no doubt about it. From the immaculate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the genre defining Junoon to our very own Beatles, Vital Signs. And although our movie industry was always little more than a joke, our music was always well received and renowned internationally. Well, most of it anyway.

Here are a few nuggets from Pakistan’s music scene that send a chill down your spine (and it ain’t cause it’s cold).


# 5 – Ek Baar Chalay Ao – Saleem Javed

Let’s start off with one of Pakistan’s better known musicians, Saleem Javed. Now in the ideal world he’d have populated this list all by his lonesome. Which was what the original list was until the editor threw words like ‘repetitive’ and ‘redundant’ at me. Saleem Javed has shown time and again that he has no shame and if possible, even less musical talent. But for some reason he never seems to fade into obscurity… so I guess he must be doing something right.

Look into my melancholy eyes and chubby face… tis the face of love itself.

It was hard for me to choose the one song that really encompasses the many moments of foot tapping and awkward emotions his music seem to engender within me. But I managed to settle on ‘Ek Baar Chalay Ao’, which translates loosely to ‘Come to me one time’. It’s got all the classic ingredients a song needs to be, both incredibly cheesy and, embarrassing for the listener. From that strange wasp nest mullet to the red and white pinstripe shirt. He bursts into the video wearing an overcoat and jaunty hat, though coupled with the red shirt kind of reminds me of Freddy Kreuger. But that’s beside the point, he strides, all 5’2 inches of him, while the awful techno piano beat assaults your hearing in the background and those two ridiculous dancers try (and fail) to bust a move. The song, and video, are a failure of epic proportions.

The point where the song shames YOU:

Released in 1996, when Pakistan was trying to catch on to this new fangled thing called ‘rap music’ it includes a ‘break it down section’ where Mr. Javed launches into inarguably the worst and most meaningless rap in the history of music. At 3:04 of the video he gives us a coupling of words not seen since the days of Shakespeare. A veritable sonnet, with advice and one liners that would dizzy the head of any dame. With lyrics like ‘main phool hoon; tu kushbu hai’ (I am a flower; you are the smell), we can only stand up and give the slow applause, that rises to a crescendo, worthy only of true genius.

There are so many points in the video where you want to face palm yourself, like when he’s doing that coordinated dance with the two skinny dudes who look like they’re having an epileptic fit, or where he’s sitting on a boat and thinking about his girl with an intensity in his eyes, and the ending!! Oh God please stop!!! … but I think it’s best if you see it for yourself.


# 4 – It’s My Life – Bushra Ansari

Bushra Ansari was a comedian back in the good old days of the 80s and 90s, and some of the stuff she did was genuinely funny. In fact, even this song is actually a parody of Dr. Alban’s original version. She’s not trying to do this seriously (I hope) and is meant to be taken as a joke. You know how when you and your friends act all cheap until one guy says something that’s so incredibly awful that it stuns everyone into silence? And you feel embarrassed even though you know it was a joke? Yeah, this is one of those times. Only this time it’s on a national level.

Only she thinks we’re laughing with her.

She tries to do the whole ‘hip & funky’ thing with the purple cap worn backwards and the dark glasses as she walks around purposefully doing the westside hand gesture… and again I know it’s a joke, but you can’t help but feel embarrassed for having been born in a world where something like this was actually aired.

The point where the song shames YOU:

At 0:32, when that incredibly annoying little brat first pops up doing a strange twisty dance move that’s meant to be funny but might inadvertently incur the wrath of God.


# 3 – Shaadi Na Karna Yaaron – Hassan Jahangir

After seeing this next song you’ll come to two startling realisations. One, that Hassan Jahangir invented the haircut that Justin Beiber popularised. And second, that the 90s were a strange time in Pakistan where our musicians wanted to emulate rap, but couldn’t quite understand the difference between hip hop and cringe worthy.

‘Hip Hop

Nacho Gao

Hanso Khelo Tum

But I’m gonna tell mr. EVERYBODYYY!’

Are those even lyrics? Is that what they make the prisoners listen to over in Abu Gharib? If this doesn’t qualify as torture the UN has disappointed me. I especially enjoy the vehemence with which he growls ‘mr. everybody’, you can feel this barely controlled rage that threatens to implode. And as far as the main verse is concerned, ‘don’t get married my friends, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life’, I think we can all rest assured that after this song hit the airwaves, getting married was no longer an option for Mr. Jahangir. So in a way perhaps the joke’s on us?

The point where the song shames YOU:

At 4: 53 where Hassan Jahangir and his band (if you can call them that) actually start hopping around while he’s singing ‘hip hop nacho gao’ for the umpteenth time. Particularly the headbanging keyboard dude, he looks like he’s really getting into the groove, his hair flopping lifelessly as he probably swears under his breath.


# 2 – Started With The Desert – Unknown Paki Band

This song has been making the rounds on the internet for a while so it’s fairly well known. Little is known about the band, beyond their penchant for gabru javaan moustaches and crotch flatteringly tight pants. But the intro tells his this band was commissioned by the Saudi’s to write a song for the occasion of their national day. I can only assume it was aired only that one time. But prior to that it must have been approved by a whole host of royals who must have thought… or rather must not have thought at all. The lyrical composition seems like they ripped off the doodles of a six year old who’s been forced to write a poem upon pain of death. The lyrics are incredibly simplistic and inane:

‘Life was so difficult, nothing in the desert,

Suddenly with the help of God, life became much better’

Really unknown Paki band? Really?

And the high pitched, out of tune chorus!! ‘It start in saptamber, it start in saptamber!’ goes on and on like a pack of crows squabbling over who gets to pick out the cadaver’s eyes.

The point where the song shames YOU:

At 2: 57 where the fat dude goes ‘Heeyyy…. this is a song about Saudi Arabia!’ And the others start echoing the ‘Hey’ and the ‘sing the song with us’.  Although you can’t help but sing it once you’ve heard it.

This song distinctly shames you twice. The second time is at 3:48 where Mr. Moustache decides we, the listener, have had enough of the catchy techno beat and now need something with a little more… soul.


# 1 – Nahin Parha mainey pura saal – Maira & Waqar

This is one of those songs that will want to make you turn in your green passport, if the load shedding, political instability and rampant extremism weren’t enough. I couldn’t find anything on the girl, so I can only assume that she decided to live out the rest of her life in some cave far away, where no one knows of her ignominious past.

But Waqar Zaka, went on to become the host of a reality show on ARY called ‘Living on the Edge’. His wikipedia entry states:

Waqar Zaka (born 17 July 1980 in Karachi, Pakistan) is a popular Pakistani musician, reality show star, and VJ, also known as “Daredevil” and “Mastermind.”

A legend in his own mind.

To that we can only respond with the assumption that Waqar Zaka wrote his own entry on wikipedia (sad as it is), and that apart from himself and perhaps his mother no one would ever call him ‘daredevil’ or ‘mastermind’.

In the song we’re treated to a small interview with the pair, where Maira says they put out this song because they wanted to do something new and original… like blatantly ripping off the tune to ‘Cotton Eye Joe’. The video itself gives us an insight into how hip and happening the two are…based on the fact that she wears her cap backwards. If you don’t remember we as a people went through an entire phase where we summed up the entire concept of cool into the act of wearing a cap backwards. So it’s obvious we never got it. The entire video is full of the pair over acting and Waqar Zaka attempting to dance… though it looks more like the death throes of an orgasming ape.

The point where the song shames YOU:

I won’t spoil it for you by writing out what actually happens, suffice to say wait for it at 3:02. Be warned though, this is one of those things that isn’t porn, but will make you look around to be certain no one caught you watching it.

We can only hope the world and music itself, will eventually forgive us.


Tags: , , ,

Categories: Music

Author:Ali Raza

"Is this the kind of person you want protecting the galaxy?"


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38 Comments on “5 Pakistani songs that are a national embarrassment”

  1. Aamir
    February 8, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Ali, it can’t get any lower than this. Abu Ghuraib is a joke to you? Really? What a shame.

  2. August 7, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Nicely picked up list.. but there are many more who can increase the number in your list.

  3. Sadia
    July 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    You need to add the latest Pakistani pop sensation Taher Shah’s spectrum eye to eye to this list!

  4. February 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Hmm all against ”Karachi” singers

  5. December 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    nice going…

  6. Yousuf Ahmad
    October 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    The Saleem Javed song is actually pretty good all-round. Even the video isn’t too bad for its time.

    And the Waqar Zaka song has quite a catchy chorus.

    Started With The Desert should’ve been #1.

  7. fukoss
    October 18, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    This felt like I was reading a desi version of http://www.cracked.com. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The only difference is that Cracked have been the best humour site around since 1958. A good effort but Judy Garland once recommended that it’s always better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

    • Haider
      October 18, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      did you just say cracked has been the best humour site since 1958?? the internet wasn’t even around then genius. and given that cracked started off as one of innumerable mad magazine rip offs, then repackaged itself in the vein of maxim… yeah you’re argument REALLY makes sense.

      don’t let the haters get you down guys, you’re doing great. at least some people are trying to give Pakistan some internet presence apart from bestiality searches, which is more than can said for some. you have one MASSIVE fan in Toronto!

      and more importantly, loved the list brought back tons of memories from my days in my homeland. peace out.

      • Pugnate
        December 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

        fukoss sums up my thoughts as well. It seems like a poorly written Cracked article.

        Haider, you “genius”, Cracked was around before the internet as a magazine similar to “MAD”.

      • Jamshed
        August 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

        Cracked, as an institution, has been around since 1958, but only recently shifted its operations entirely online. It did actually start off as a MAD Magazine rip off, but today has become one of the biggest comedy website in the world, while MAD… had a TV show? I have no idea. But if you read an article of their’s you would’ve been able to tell that yes, this totally is in a similar vein.

    • Kaleem
      August 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Right? As a regular reader of Cracked, I could see the writer trying to emulate its style, but there was waay too much hyperbole.

  8. October 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Hilarious … seriously

  9. ahmed
    October 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    but that saudi song beats everyone,, that should be number 1,,, it beats everyone,, it cant get any dumber and worse than that

  10. ahmed
    October 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    the author either doesnt know anything about our music or is extremely biased,,, there are a list of songs which can go on this list, like pappi chulo, lahore lahore hai, chala de ja nishani, the list goes on these are only three songs,, theres one which has been listed above by another viewer,, that makes it 4,, all these songs even beat the number 1 song in this list,, so the article is useless

  11. mohsin
    October 17, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    i wish iu could lie about and say “our country was full of drug addicts like the 70’s of usa /china” but we did all this cfrap in our senses lolxx… however the love for pakistan is so immence that no othert nation can match us

  12. Myra Ahmed
    October 12, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    luv luv luv this

  13. October 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Hilarious! Really enjoyed it.

  14. Maliha
    September 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Honourable mention should go to Tariq Tafoo’s ‘Lahore Lahore Hai’ shot exclusively in LONDON.

  15. Samia
    September 8, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    omg i cant believe some people! these were certainly NOT fun songs. they were ridiculous to the point of being funny.there’s a difference.

  16. Abrar R
    September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    The rabbit hole goes deeper. Where is the local beyonce, “main kurri bari daadhi aan” rabia chaudry something if i remember correctly.

    Her numbers have been equally if not more embarassing.

  17. aim
    September 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Lame article!

    there have been many rip offs in bollywood too … the thing is these were fun songs – so take them like this! stop wasting time and complaining 🙂

    • rumi
      September 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      FUN songs???? are u for real? so churning out trash is ‘fun’ as far as you’re concerned? wow! now THAT’S lame!

    • Abbas
      September 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

      how does india ripping off songs figure into this? way to personify a national complex man.

  18. ftw
    August 28, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    Life was so difficult, nothing in the desert,

    Suddenly with the help of God, life became much better’ !!!

    we are soooo cool?

  19. Ambareen
    August 27, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    Such a brilliantly written article, I’m in splits!!

  20. August 25, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    great compilation. nice style of writing. i smell cracked.com.

  21. Amber
    August 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    OMG!! I remember most of these…. don’t know whether that’s a good thing. 🙂

  22. August 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Good lineup man, and I have to say, I think I’ve had a run-in with just about every song on this list, either in the last few years of Youtube, or way back in the nineties when they all came out. My quibble is with #1, I don’t think it should be at the bottom of the list, maybe the 5th worst. They’re a bunch of teens very likely to be living in the non posh parts of Karachi, and they got the gumption and resourcefulness to put a song together. I would cut them some slack. And when I saw it three years ago, I took it exactly for what it was, a kid’s anthem against not studying and what happens when you don’t study. It’s an attempt at kid’s bubblegum pop, and the stupid antics did make me laugh, but certainly not at them. A good reason to put it as the worst song though, would likely be to take Waqar Zaka down a peg, and that, I can understand. Still deserved to be fifth worst rather than the worst.

    That hands down has to be, “IT STARTED IN THE DESERT!!!”

  23. Anon
    August 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    This song of Hasan Jahangir was once blasted in an interview by Junaid Jamshed (when he was still a singer). If I remember correctly, he said that there are some people who do not deserve to be singing at all, and he specifically mentioned Hasan Jahangir’s name and this song of his, for being absolute crap.

    And I think that “Started with the Desert” belongs to a whole different category altogether, much worse than #1.

  24. Qasim
    August 23, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Please do one on saleem javed!!

  25. Najaf
    August 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    come to me one time and then you can come and go..absolute classic 🙂 i agree..u just missed the cricket cupp world cupp nmbr..great article Ali!

  26. Aamir
    August 20, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    good one! i think the saudi one should have been number one though 😀

  27. Alliya
    August 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    ive been humming that stupid “naheen purha main nay poora saal” ALL day. and re-reading this article. SO FUNNY

  28. Hasni
    August 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    oh man. where did u dig up these nuggets of cutting-edge artistry from?! :S

  29. aesha
    August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    OH MY GOD. This just made my dayy.. hahahahahaha.. i cannot look at Bushra Ansari the same way again though.. ever.

  30. Asad
    August 19, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Here is another one for the list Ali:

    • Umar
      September 7, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      Breath-taking song indeed…

  31. Alliya
    August 19, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    Oh mY GOD!! This is brilliant and absolutely HILARIOUS!! Am in absolute stitches. Well done, Big Pen!!!

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