An open letter to Ali Azmat

Published: June 18, 2012

Ali, please practice what you preach.

Dear Ali,

I hope this letter finds you in great health and wealth. I am writing to you today to tell you that you have let your fans down – perhaps not all but quite a few of them.

I have been a fan of your vocal prowess ever since I heard “Dosti” for the first time in 1988. You used to be part of The Jupiters then. Your voice and the song captivated me; I was instantly hooked. Then you joined Junoon, and from then on I and many fans like me swooned to the wonderful music you created.

Pakistanis finally had a rock star they could call their own. From “Neend Aati Nahi” to “Husn Walon” to “Sayoni”, you were the man of Rock music.

I was there in a trance when you sang “Allah Hoo” at Central Park; I waved the Pakistani flag when you sang “Jazba-e-Junoon” in Atlanta, and I danced along when you sang “Pappu Yaar” in New Jersey.

I still find myself listening to “Mitti Mein Mil Jayenge” every time I feel the need to unclutter my head.

You then had a fall out with Salman Ahmed, and I stood by you in spirit, because for me and many more out there, you were the reason behind Junoon’s popularity. What’s a band without its lead vocalist anyway, right? After parting with Junoon you released a couple of good singles; the song “Na Re Na” is one of my favorites.

However, putting all of the above to one side, I attended a concert of yours in New York some five years back. I hate to tell you this Ali, but you left me disappointed.

You sang English songs, while the little audience that remained, kept asking you to sing at least some of your Junoon classics, or if not those, then at least Urdu songs from your solo albums; you didn’t do any of this and left us gutted. Despite your ignorance towards what your audience actually wanted to hear from you, I still supported and respected you.

Later you joined one of the major TV channels as a host for a youth talk show and honestly, only some of the shows were decent and interesting. I supported and respected you even then. But then you became a Mureed (devotee) of Zaid Hamid.

That’s where all that respect I once had for you was lost.

Now I follow you on Twitter, and all I see you Tweet is one illogical conspiracy theory after the other. Ali, I or anyone else for that matter, don’t need to tell you how talented of a musician you are. We don’t run into such talented people everyday. But I’m disappointed that you being such an amazing musician, are wasting your time with Zaid Hamid.

The very Zaid Hamid who thinks Pakistan can land a man on the moon in four year’s time. Seriously? I’m all for optimism but there’s a very obvious line between optimism and delusion and if I didn’t know any better, I would say that you are deluded.

I remember in one of your old interviews, taken by Channel V, you said that Partition between India and Pakistan should not have happened because both countries are so similar to one another. And now all you tote about is the two-nation theory.

You consider yourself to be an anti-capitalist, well there is nothing wrong with that, you have all the right to hold your own set of beliefs. What’s wrong is that you then go on to endorse multinational, capitalist brands like Pepsi, McDonald’s etc.

You’re totally against USAID, yet you did not decline an offer to sing for “Sim Sim Hamara” show which was sponsored by USAID. We all know what’s going down with that show now, so with your own crazy criteria which reeks of conspiracies, would it be wise to ‘hypothesise’ that you’re somehow involved in the corruption as well, if indeed the charges against the Peerzadas are valid?

Of course not.

So Ali, please practice what you preach, either stop endorsing western, capitalist brands or quit being a conspiracy theorist. This only makes you a hypocrite, nothing more.

Please choose between the two.

Most of us know you to be a patriotic person and want to be an activist and with your stardom and fan-base, you can achieve so much more. But please don’t misguide the gullible youth by feeding them one nonsensical conspiracy theory after the other, making the entire world seem like it’s our enemy.

Don’t you know that your admirers take heed of what you Tweet or speak of?

Your fans love you and still want to attend your concerts and buy your CDs, don’t disappoint us any further than you already have.

Sincerely,

A fan

Read more by Danish here or follow him on Twitter  @Danisshhhh

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Danish Shah

Danish Shah

The author is an IT professional by day and a quasi couch/facebook/twitter activist by night. He tweets @Danisshhhh.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Confused

    Just a heads up: You will always be let down if you consider any person an idol. Because in the end, we’re all just people, we can have different opinions and we all have brains to decide which opinion is better for us. For an idol or even a devoted fan (short for fanatic which is amusing), the bar gets raised so high that any notion of disagreement with their hero crashes and disappoints him/her.
    In Ali Azmat’s case, I’ve liked his songs and quirky music nature. I don’t agree with any of his ideas or subject matters (same goes fo Junoon, just enough to enhance the music and not any more), but I don’t need to listen to his ramblings, and will never expect to, because he is a musician and not a life coach.
    Personal opinion, ofcourse :)Recommend

  • Hassan

    “Don’t make people into heroes John, heroes don’t exist…” – Sherlock Holmes.

    Everybody has his own opinion or ideology. We love him as a musician, not as a philosopher of politician.Recommend

  • Sara

    Musicians are generally very stupid people. Don’t take Ali Azmat seriously. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    @Sara – that is quite a sweeping generalisation!Recommend

  • https://mobile.twitter.com/account zain man

    make music for God’s Sake !
    Thts wht u r best at. . .Recommend

  • Zahid

    Ali Azmat was a pure capitalist product, first sold Sufism, later Patriotism and now pseudo Zaid Hamid type Nationalism and in future may be having beard selling his music in different genre. Do not worry but he will make the most of out form his latest version:)Recommend

  • Munis

    I have exactly the same views Danish ! Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Ali Azmat is still a sufi. Now he tries to actually follow Islam. What is wrong in that? All great men have their critics.Recommend

  • http://www.zaidzamanhamid.wordpress.com Zaid Hamid

    He has opened “one eye” of knowledge against the Zionists in this 4.5G war. He is our “pakka mureed”.

    -Zaid Hamid
    Conspiracy Theory WalayRecommend

  • Khan Ghrol

    Its not easy to escape from this system and leave a lifestyle you have lived all your life. We’re entrapped within this corporate system and have to stamp it out while living within it! That’s what Ali answered when he was asked a similar question on a news channel a while ago.

    I agree that sort of makes him a hypocrite but I am no one to judge him. At least, he cognises and stands against it.

    As you grow, your opinions and philosophies change. Recommend

  • Sadya Sid

    and Ali, the toothpaste is not a Jewish conspiracy. You need to come up with a better excuse for the your bad breath. Also toothbrushes are now made in Pakistan too, pretty cheap too. Try it. Recommend

  • nooni

    I remember in one of your old interviews, taken by Channel V, you said that Partition between India and Pakistan should not have happened because both countries are so similar to one another. And now all you tote about is the two-nation theory.about is the two-nation theory.

    Did not catch your point here? you think two-nation theory was a joke?Recommend

  • fahad zia

    there are more things in life than twitter.. :)Recommend

  • Ali Azmat

    Danish,

    I have a flight in an hour and I just received text from a friend about your letter. After reading it, I have only one thing to say in response; I can’t let my fans think of me as delusional and hypocrite. You have truly opened my eyes……. Oh wait, I am Ali Azmat..Pakistan’s best musician in history…and You are an invisible blogger who nobody cares about… Get a life dude.

    And, yes this is real Ali Azmat responding!Recommend

  • faraz

    If you are interested in politics and foreign affairs, but don’t want to study books and newspapers, then lame conspiracy theories quench curiosity and provide satisfaction. Strong belief in conspiracy theories is a psychological phenomenon. Recommend

  • Ordinary Villager

    Hey Kid infact you are wrong here. Ali Azmat is a musician and all that matter is his music. I dont care for the ideology of the musician but all i care is that good music should be churned out. Many Pakistanis listen to Atheist bands of Europe and they have no problem but Pakistanis are ready to bash their own singers whenever they want. Do remember A singer is not your Private property that you have every right to owe his life and dictate what you want. Ideology and music are two different things and i dont mix them up at all.Recommend

  • Kanwal

    No brains and all words. thats what Zaid Hamid and Co. are.
    When you make up so many conspiracy theories, they know they are bound to get one right. LOLRecommend

  • Pakistani Fan

    @Ordinary Villager:

    Criticism knows no boundaries, be it Europe or Pakistan and since criticism also requires some in-depth knowledge about the person, therefore, Pakistanis would rather criticize about their home art rather than from Europe, who they only know through their music.
    And the kid is not wrong because now Ali Azmat is more than a musician because he has been doing many things besides music. Do remember that a blogger is also no ones property and nobody can dictate them for what they should write and what they shouldn’t. Also,
    love for music is different and criticism over your ideologies which you express publicly is different and being a great musician with vast exposure, you should really do not mix them up. Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Danisshhhh Danish Shah

    @Ordinary Villager:
    Sure no one’s anyone’s property, Ali has all the right to have his theories, but his views are taken more seriously by his gullible followers without critical analysis only because of his stardom, and that is where the problem lies. Why do Pakistanis not criticize those atheist singers, you ask? Because, Pakistanis don’t and can’t relate to those people, but Ali is our own and his actions could have a direct effect on us. Besides, if Ali has the right to propagate his whacky ideas, I as a fan and a Pakistani have all the right to criticize them especially when most of them are far fetched. He’s not my private property but when he makes wild claims publicly, he becomes fair game for criticism. I’m not demanding Ali to be banned or banished, I’m not asking people to hate him either. Last I checked, criticism was part of the freedom of speech. Ali’s been practicing his, I’m only practicing mine.Recommend

  • Parvez

    A musician is known for his music and that is what Ali Azmat is known for. All the rest is window dressing, don’t fall for it.Recommend

  • Ali S

    @Ali Azmat:

    If you are the real Ali Azmat, you have just proven what a complete douche you are in person. Don’t get me wrong, I love your musical output on an aesthetic level, but now it seems like you’re on your way towards becoming a bald, aging has-been who’s going through a midlife crisis and is desperate to hold onto some absurd notion of ‘being important’ by spouting pseudo-radical/alternative babble.

    And yes, most of us are more than comfortable being ‘invisible’ and not making a complete fool of ourselves on national TV, preaching about the evils of multinational corporations on one hand and selling mobile phones and colas on the other.

    P.S. I’m not the author of this article, in case you’re wonderingRecommend

  • mqasim

    @Ali Azmat:
    I really don’t know what is sadder
    Some guy pretending to be Ali Azmat and dissing a blogger.
    or Ali Azmat actually posting on an online blog and using this
    “Oh wait, I am Ali Azmat..Pakistan’s best musician in history…and You are an invisible blogger who nobody cares about… Get a life dude.”
    To insult the said blogger.

    IMO (which really does not matter in the grand scheme of things) us Pakistanis are prone to believing in conspiracy theories more then identifying and solving the issue at hand.
    Although I do agree with Ali Azmat when he says that there is a difference between having broad generalizing hate and being against an ideology. Recommend

  • Hira

    @Ali Azmat:
    Danish is right! we dont even have proper electricity solutions and your Peer Zaid Hamid talks about settling us on moon !! ?? you are on a crash course dude !!Recommend

  • mqasim

    @Sara:
    Really ?!
    I am going to go out on a limb and say that you have no knowledge of musical theory (eastern and western) or the underlying mathematical (yes mathematical) principles behind that.
    But then again this IS the internet and it would be incomplete without a sweeping generalizing comment.
    Carry on. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Seriously, you had all the time in the world to do this. ET, why don’t stop rehashing old topics?Recommend

  • Hira

    @Ali Azmat:
    Please at least learn to talk to ladies, the way you talked to Nadia Jamil on Juggun’s show VIP was inappropriate, please stop criticizing west FORGODSAKE, they are a result of their political ideology, people know about them already, our youth is not blindfolded, internet is everywhere now, in fact if u want, the youth of Pakistan can guide you on the path you are searching for. The cover has to removed from someone’s else eye. They are thousand times better than us, if you want to compete or if you think you can, then please make yourself equivalent to them. Day dreaming is the biggest reason of our lacking.Recommend

  • Hira

    It doesnt matter what a person has done before, as long as somewhere along the line that persons eyes open and they become aware of the situations around them. It does not mean he’s a hypocrite.
    People are very quick to label someone a conspiracy theorist. Thats the best come back ET has. Rather than look at the facts and figure out what the truth is for yourselves, ur just obsessed and so conditioned by western propaganda, that u react the same way the west does when accused with something wrong, the only way they know how; by labelling that person a lunatic, a conspiracy theorist. And its a very effective method, no doubt.Recommend

  • raw is war

    who is he?Recommend

  • http://i.imgur.com/wPohA.jpg trollol

    when will you and your murshid actually start fighting for what you believe in? You have spiritual forces on your side and I am quite sure they can help you beat any army in the world with mere sticks, stones and swords. ok..if fighting is too hard for you then why not come out on the streets and protest against banks, tavistock institute and whatever the hell controls this world? you know what Azmat, TTP is better than you..because they fight, kill and die for what they believe they in…while all you do is bulls*** (and what the TTP believes in is just as wrong as what you believe in)…you know why people like you believe in audacious and far-fetched theories? I will tell you why..you are essentially people who are weak in faith..subconsciously or consciously you know that ‘god’ is not in charge of things in this world..and you cannot accept this as you have a pathological need for believing in someone or something which controls the state of affairs in this world.. in order to fill that vacuum of someone being in charge you feed your minds with grand theories and start believing that ‘the protocols of the elders of zion’ is a legitimate book.
    may the zionists have mercy on your soul!Recommend

  • Sab33N

    @raw is war:
    Can the Indians for once not butt in?

    Go prattle about stuff on Indian websites if you have that much free time and spread hate against Pakistan .. you guys are good at that .. No need to waste time here commenting about a Pakistani musician!Recommend

  • Raza

    Brilliant stuff. Totally spot on. Hypocrisy is way too prevalent in our blighted society.Recommend

  • Daggardalla

    Spot on Article. I started dislike ali azmat when he left junoon group & insulted salman ahmad in his face in one of morning show & used abusive language. Recommend

  • sidewinder

    Pakistan is a strange place. there is no dearth of talented people in this country,but only problem is that every talented person forgets his limits and starts encroaching upon place which rightfully belongs to someone else. players,starts preaching religion at the zenith of their career,general sahab develop political ambitions at the crunch time,singers become life style consultants, politicians become businessman,judges become politicians,lawyers behave like hooligans,armyman and bodyguards turn into militants and assasins,and talented comedians like Zaid Hamid are wasting their time pursuing strategic mumbo- zumbo.Recommend

  • sidewinder

    and a few more
    (1) journalist try to become middlemen,however some join moral police.
    (2) nuclear scientists try their luck in business(of course by selling nukes to rogue states).
    (3)doctors become spies.
    (4)and any tom dick or harry has a birth right to become an expert on cricket and Islam.Recommend

  • Shyam

    @Sab33N

    Is this the same guy who once had long curly tresses and eyes which popped out? I remember his Sayonee. There was another guy with a goatie beard, don’t know his name though, looked a bit like Jesus Christ.Recommend

  • mqasim

    @Ali S:
    Hey ! I resent that.
    I am balding and towards my midlife. Don’t you lump me into a group with these nutjobs.
    Now if you will excuse me I am going to cry myself to sleep.

    :DRecommend

  • tanya

    Writer, you are just as biased as you are accusing ali of being delusional – just look at your poll question itself – “Do you approve of Ali Azmat’s support for Zaid Hamid?” How laden is that? It’s not kosher to agree with Zaid Hamid’s views; in fact, it’s a no-no in high society and if you do agree, you will be an outcast – I think you need to first remove your conspiracy alert alarm if you want people to agree with your views.
    Oh and honestly get over Zaid Hamid. Recommend

  • Ashar

    Danish, I just attended an Ai Azmat concert / SKMH fundraiser just 2 weeks back where he was there with Brian and Omran and all he sang were old Junoon and Pakistani songs. No matter what you say about his affiliatins with Zaid Hamid or him being a conspiracy theorist, you have to admit that all of it comes from the frustration that normal humans feel being part of the society and social structure of Pakistan which is ruled by the corrupt of the corrupt who are in turn ruled by the western elitists and that when you can’t do anything about the wrongs in socity and you know you are being used by a few and that your country is being attacked from all sides and according to a proper plan laid out then it is natural for people like Ali to have those views and follow extremists like Zaid. However, you should have balanced your article by writing this side of the story as well instead of blaming Ali 100% for his views.Recommend

  • Simpleton

    @Ali Azmat:
    Your friend messaged you – surely he’s not quite an invisible as you think ?
    What a sordid reply Mr. Azmat. 10 points to Danish Shah.Recommend

  • Danish Shah

    @tanya:
    Poll is what ET puts up on their own…Recommend

  • Ali Azmat

    Guys,
    If you’ll have been following me on twitter (@RealAliAzmat), you all probably know that I am touring US these days and I get lot of free time between concerts and fundraisers. ET is one of my favorite news source and I stay tuned to my country through it.
    Internet is a great way to connect with true fans, so follow me on twitter and wait for my reply for this letter when I am back from Houston tour. I’ll bring up some of these comments on my next show, so don’t forget to watch my next show.
    It’s hot today, now I am gonna head to the hotel’s pool.
    Again, Yes! this is real Ali Azmat. Recommend

  • BallayBallay

    @Ali Azmat:
    If you are the “real” Ali Azmat, then you must know a kid named ‘boing’?Recommend

  • BallayBallay

    Besides, Ali’s not currently hosting any shows on Pakistani TV. lolRecommend

  • Humran Akbari

    All I know is that in this past decade or so, amidst of all the new songs,bands and singers that have emerged, I take great pride in saying that Junoon is still my number one band and Ali Azmat my favourite vocalist! What he does with his life is his own personal business and none of us here have the right to insult him or anyone else for that matter. Ali, even though you’re no longer at your peak, your impact on music is everlasting and remember! haters gonna hate ;)Recommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Humran Akbari:
    I don’t think the writer is doibting Ali’s musical talent, he’s criticizing his antics which are in no way ‘private’. If Ali were propagating his ideas at private parties or among his friends, that would’ve been a matter of his ‘private life’ but he propagates them on national TV….Recommend

  • YasirSidd

    Strongly agree with the Writer.
    Ali please be what you are.. we love you as an artist.. We were looking forward to the re-union of Junoon…. But instead you have quit singing… It really hurt your fans…
    Please Ali…. come back!! Recommend

  • edds

    @ ET
    Who are we to “approve of” A’s support for B?
    Its A’s choice… and its called “freedom of expression” something that media in general and ET in particular claims to supportRecommend

  • Mufazzil

    So, what does author has to do with Ali Azmat’s personal opinions? If Ali wishes to support Zaid Hamid its his life, let him to do whatever he want to.Recommend

  • lol

    Ali Azmat is full of himself. That’s all I have to say. Recommend

  • Qasim

    Although I am all for someone’s obsession with their beliefs and idols, but Ali Azmat is just a selfish hypocrite. I would respect him if he actually believed in these silly conspiracy theories that he believes in, but he is just a plain old hypocrite way past his prime and is trying to stay in the limelight desperately. A washed out star, who takes a stab at Jews, Hindus and Americans has no issues eating pork, indulging in enjoying the perks of capitalism whether its doing an ad MacKofta. Furthermore, he has the nerves to call himself the ‘best musician in Pakistan’, which speaks a lot about his warped and delusional state of mind. So all of a sudden this college drop out from a B grade school in Australia becomes an expert in Physics and believes in concocted fables like HAARP which happens to be a brainchild of a loony bin. Also, can someone do us a favor and report him to the US State Department so that they do not grant this douche a US visa in future. We might be doing him a favor by doing so, since the believers in HAARP also believe that the US Govt has abilities to control people’s minds! habaRecommend

  • azy

    So does tat means a person who did some bad stuff in his life cant change.come on guys stop picking on ali azmat. before he was not religious now he is. he got some sense into it. i feel really sorry for some of u guys who r strongly against zaid hamid. basically point of discussion is not ali azmat, its zaid hamid. Y?
    I tell u y. caz some of u dont have tat mental capacity to understand zaid hamid point of view and u will never understand tat.
    Ali azmat is not a kid who is out of the blue following a leader like zaid hamid.ali azmat had his levish life style and he has observed issues more closely than us guys. he knows zaid hamid is a true muslim ,a patriotic pakistani and a high class analyist who looks at the situation from broader vision. zaid hamid has become the biggest name of pakistan. Western media call him caz of some thing.infact zaid hamid is the new era of pakistan. who is reviving the nation once again.before pointing out at him u should listen/watch his programmes not just those points which u wanna make a fuss about. Recommend

  • umer

    @Ali Azmat:
    awesome !Recommend

  • Amjad

    look at Ali Azmat Islamic view, now he is singing in one of a dirty bollywood film Jism 2. Hyporcisy at best.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Ali Azmat tell ur fans in the west to leave those countries and go back to Pakistan, and you also should not hold concerts in the west if you believe they are totally conspiring against Pakistan. I don’t understand this two faced nature of Pakistanis. They bash the west, but they are dying to settle in the west at the same time or to get a western education. Recommend