Why I am not impressed by ‘Naya Pakistan’

Published: February 28, 2013

While it is a very exciting idea to reunite two historic bands such as the Vital Signs and Junoon, it also needs to serve the purpose it was intended for. PHOTO: AANIA SHAH

These are dark and trying times for Pakistan. Violence, sectarian conflict and political turmoil have led the people of this country to the brink of a ‘national nervous breakdown’.

We sometimes need a hug, even if it’s in the form of a song.

On paper, it is the perfect time, thus, for a song like “Naya Pakistan” to mark its place in the hearts of patriots who have lost hope and faith in a Pakistan that was once fought very hard for.

Musically, the song has a great introduction, a good beat and strong guitar solos. Junaid Jamshed’s voice sets the tone for the song well, however as the song progresses it moves from being an inspirational song to a pop tune.

While it is a very exciting idea to reunite two historic bands such as the Vital Signs and Junoon, it also needs to serve the purpose it was intended for. According to former Vital Signs member Shahi, the song possessed the power to “inspire the most cynical of Pakistani’s who have completely lost hope.”

I am a cynical and hope-deprived Pakistani, yet I am untouched.

It could be the lack of lyrical genius on behalf of Shoaib Mansoor on this project, as the lyrics in “Naya Pakistan” do not have much to offer. If the aim is to move people through a song, the only way is to empower a listener with words that can inspire and raise goose bumps at the very first listen.

The lyrics go:

“Insaaf ki awaaz uthay,

(Raise the voice of justice,)

zulm ki deewaar giray,

(drop the walls of oppression,)

Haq baatil pe ho chaa’ya,

(when truth overpowers lies)

Haath utha kar maang dua,

(Raise your hands and pray)

Naya Pakistan,

(For a new Pakistan)

InshAllah, InshAllah”

(If God wills it, If God wills it)

Having given the song a listen, I believe that praying for the “zulm ki diwar”  to fall isn’t enough; the masses need to be told how to bring the wall down.

Moreover, prayer is one thing all of us do anyway, before we even leave our homes. This is not inspirational; this is just fact.

Direction for an already mislead population is not there. It’s not an inspirational song, it is a prayer. The time to do more has come but all we get is an “inspirational” song with weak lyrics.

If you notice, it isn’t the big things that bring us Pakistani’s together, it’s the little things that spark the unity and pride amongst us. Little things like the fact that the footballs used for the Olympics were made in Pakistan. Positive news like this made an impact. It made us believe that we are not unworthy and we do have the ability to achieve greatness. This is what was needed. A good ol’ dose of faith.

Why not make a song about freedom without the inclusion of religion?

Remember the lyrics of “Dil Dil Pakistan”? It spoke about your heart and your country, simple. It sent shivers down any Pakistani’s spine and went viral even globally. You hear that song playing in the background in some pan shop at the end of a dingy street in Punjab and despite the dismal circumstances you are surrounded by, your heart swells with pride. You remember who you are!

It is time we return to national songs that really move us.

Follow Manahyl on Twitter @mintsnk 

Manahyl Khan

Manahyl Khan

A sub-editor on the Magazine desk of The Express Tribune. She tweets @manahylk (twitter.com/manahylk)

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

  • Hasnain Raza

    Yeah I noticed this thing as well that music of this song is far better than the lyrics. Lyrics could b a lot inspirational than they are. It couldn’t force me lift up from my seat when I heard it for the first time. But still I would appreciate this song as it has come with good heart and the attempt is very sincere from the originators of the song.Recommend

  • Ambreen

    agreed!!! aesi zameen aur aasmaan,inke siwa jana kahan was penned during a time when politico-religious extremisim was not rampant in Pakistan. the lyrics of naya pakistan sound quite sectarian to me too. why am i not surprised though? a mullah singing a patriotic song- offcourse it would contain religious elements and lyrics which only include muslims and not minorities. (satire)
    PS- i dont mean to be cynical myself but will the future post-talibaan post-mullah ‘naya pakistan’ only consist of certain muslim groups? a thought worth pondering about…
    thanku manahyl for an amazing article:)Recommend

  • Hassan

    A very immature analysis. Period.Recommend

  • Gangs of Wessy Pur

    Excellent piece. I wonder how a man like JJ is restraining himself from singing those patriotic, romantic, and lyrical numbers, and confined himself to a very narrow translation of religion. Wondering….Recommend

  • Dr Dang

    What did you expect from a guy like Junaid Jamshed who is quoted to have said “to keep yourself happy never let your wife learn to drive.
    Now if people like him are trying to inspire people, rest assured, pakistan is nosediving into the Abyss.Recommend

  • SarcasticBilla

    “Having given the song a listen, I believe that praying for the “zulm ki diwar” to fall isn’t enough; the masses need to be told how to bring the wall down.”

    Its a song, not a documentary.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/mahrukh.azhar.khan Mahrukh Azhar Khan

    Agreed! Dil Dil Pakistan is far better than Naya Pakistan. Recommend

  • taha durvesh

    Even the music sounds like sayyonee and saeen mixed somewhatRecommend

  • PTImardan

    (to the writer)

    keep listening to Justin BieberRecommend

  • Sunsunati

    Well said ! This article underlines the TYPICAL mindset of a Group of youth in Pakistan at the moment who apparently have problem with anything and everything. Instead of taking what it offers, we are looking for something it does not perhaps and beating the bush about it. Grow up !Recommend

  • Sarrial

    Not only does this post hit the nail on the head, its also an excellent piece of writing. More of this, please!Recommend

  • Breaking Bad

    To all the haters…There is no formula to make super hit. At least appreciate the cause….Recommend

  • Layla

    fantastic read. people dont like the truth or the minorities Recommend

  • http://smockingpunch.com saadi

    the lyrics are not as promising as the music of song. still it is a good attempt in such dark times.Recommend

  • Raza Mujtaba

    Well I will queue into your line of thoughts for the most part of your opinion, but I will take an objection to one thing:

    “If this is the time for change, a mass message such as this one should not pick anything that can divide. A Christian, Hindu or Sikh Pakistani might not feel the same fervour listening to this song as a Muslim”.

    I can guarantee you no one would have thought about this issue before you mentioned it. I have heard my friends who happen to belong to other faiths singing songs with the words containing words like InshAllah and MashAllah. Half of India was chanting a song from Ek Tha Tiger that actually starts with MashAllah.

    You have contradicted yourself by saying that InshAllah and MashAllah are mere words with more of a cultural taste than religious and yet talking about minorities feeling left out.. Make up your mind will yea….Recommend

  • http://Lahore MAC

    This song sounds like election song for PTI. In fact its probably already being used. Its simple so people can sing along etc.Recommend

  • http://Lahore MAC

    Also IA and MA were added to make music halal for Junaid Jamshed. I am not joking. Recommend

  • taimur khan

    For first few times I listend to this song, I dint even was paying that much notice to the lyrics it was feelings i was enjoying to see original Vital Signs ( not junoon + vital signs) back together.

    Dil Dil Pakistan was in ERA where things were not to bad as they are now Imagine to sing DIL DIL pakistan would be a bad idea. we need hope and I appreciate they are givig us….Recommend

  • Ainee

    And what good did “Dil Dil Pakistan” do? We don’t even need songs, we need to read the lives of our Prophet (P.b.u.h) & Sahaba R.A. Only they can inspire us. They were not only good with the Muslims but even with the non-Muslims. Those were the times when even the
    non-Muslims used to praise Muslims.

    By the way, if only we could stop doing other things, listen and reflect over the call to prayer, we’ll find inspiration. Adhan is the most inspirational call ever. Words like “Come to success, come to success” are recited more than 10 times a day, but we are too busy looking for inspiration in other things. Remember that ‘Umar R.A. once said that Allah honored us with Islam. If we seek honor through other than it, Allah will humiliate us.

    And now for the non-Muslims living in Pakistan. I love you, I really do!. Just because I preach my faith doesn’t mean I hate you. The non-Muslims living under the rule of our Prophet (p.b.u.h) and the righteous caliphs used to live peacefully. I would love to live peacefully with y’all. Recommend

  • sohail

    i dont agree with you… it is the only patriotic number in recent years… plz learn to appreciate good attempts. else do a number yourself and let us evaluate it.Recommend

  • ..

    a failed effort in trying to critic the song
    the writer seems to be very immature and needs to be bit more professional
    how was she allowed a column on this?? this sort of stuff would work on some sunday mag or something tht no one reads
    well yea maybe the lyrics were not promising but overall its a good attempt in these dark and gloomy times Recommend

  • Thetim

    Uve highlighted an imp issue through this song, this country is divided for small reasons like this. Good readRecommend

  • passenger

    typicial secular extremism. Seriously I live in europe and sometimes i think that it is harder to be a good muslim in pakistan than in countries like these.

    pathetic article


  • bass player

    Author, alot and i mean ALOT of people are in love with thos song, Naya Pakistan is awsome, u just cant appreciate a good songRecommend

  • Parvez

    You have managed to say more than one thing and have said it clearly and well.
    In this project the perception of hypocrisy comes through clearly……………JJ of all people.
    If the message is to prey for things to improve……..well the politicians and those who lord over us will love this.Recommend

  • khan

    So you want them to the tell the nation in a song as how to demolish the deewar of zulam with full methodology and guidelines ?
    I am sorry but I guess you did missed the basic idea, i.e this is a song not a manual. It is meant to inspire people for a change and not to explain how exactly this would be done, because that beyond the scope of this song, well any song. The song sufficiently inspiring as far as I can see. Recommend



  • Aisha

    @taha durvesh: totally agree with you, that was my first impression and I thought this is somehow mixture of old things without being anything new….Recommend

  • Usman

    PMLN bloggers and troll have only one issue these days and that is this song . :) Funny isn’t itRecommend

  • Adam

    Some people just need a hug…………. around their neck…….. with a rope. Recommend

  • Adeell

    People need to listen to Salman Ahmed’s BBC interview and then they would understand what Naya Pakistan is all about, http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Faania-shah%2Fbbc-interview-premiere-of-naya&h=KAQETQFDp&s=1. Recommend

  • Adeel

    Seems like authors at ET don’t either know what a patriotic song is and/or don’t seem to know what kind of music from bands like Vital Sign/Junoon came up with! Pathetic article!Recommend

  • Syed Ali

    Typical pakistani thought. Just because you are “Cynical” and “lost all hope” doesnt mean you cant appreciate a good piece of music. Stop acting like a kid and pointing out all the mistakes, appreciate the message and the theme of the song.
    “Noooo! But we haaave to point out mistakes! We cant accept anything good that comes towards us ” -_-Recommend

  • Rosette

    I felt the same.. It is more like a Muslim Milly Nagma not a patriotic, Pakistani’s voice!Recommend

  • Loki

    @MAC: What is IA and MA?Recommend

  • Loki

    I think The song was Sufi Rock not pop song but it was lovelyRecommend

  • Saqib Salman

    Hahhaha yeah very right I agree to some extent:PRecommend

  • Ainee

    Lol why isn’t my comment here?. What happened to freedom of speech? Recommend

  • Gujesh

    InshAllah is a word used by people who do not believe in any Karma.Recommend

  • AY

    Very true – unfortunately…..Recommend

  • A.Sathyamurthy

    “Why not make a song about freedom without “the inclusion of religion”? A good question and it is in dispensing with religion in most matters of public life that the solution lies.Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    With due apology to the writer, I dont see any reason for this blog. Is it that important to write a blog on a song? Either you like it or not, but that is your own choice. What is the point of writing this blog?
    Anyways, coming to the blog’s content, I would like to mention that the song you are comparing this one with, DIL DIL PAKISTAN, was launched in the golden era of Pakistan, not only in pop industry, but also economically, socially. And it is a rule of thumb that you would always admire things from your childhood time, and find it un comparable.

    And then, the comments on it, people disgracing JJ, people, this is the attitude they tried to change. We must learn now , not to poke our nose in some one’s individual matters, be it spirtual or his/her life style. It is his own choice to sing songs, or continue with Naats or Hamds.

    And to the writer in the end, you need to learn a bit from this song, as you , intentionally or not, tried to crack the audience into Muslims and minorities. Movies, dramas, songs, are for the universe, not for a religion or a community. Let them get succeeded in what they are trying, i.e. gelling up us as a nation, not be seperated as Muslim, Hindu, Christian, let us be Pakistani, and a Proud One.

    Long Live Pakistan.

    A proud Pakistani.Recommend

  • noorilhuda

    The song is like a 90’s Junoon pop song, it doesn’t have the Vital Signs flare – these guys should have gotten Shoaib Mansoor to pen the song instead of relying on Salman Ahmed Sorry, but the song sucks.Recommend

  • http://www.salmanzq.com salmanzq

    It’s a mediocre song and a big let down,Recommend

  • Faizan Ali

    It’s good enough. I don’t agree with the analyst. I respect the sincere efforts put into this song.Recommend

  • Clarus

    Neither we are impressed with what you wrote. Write something that adds value to our knowledge instead of wasting time. Recommend

  • Hisham

    The mindset of a Pakistani doesn’t allow the possibility of a different view. You write well Recommend

  • http://www.diary.raheelfarooq.com Raheel Farooq

    @Faizan Ali: Agree!Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Ainee: “We don’t even need songs, we need to read the lives of our Prophet (P.b.u.h) & Sahaba R.A. Only they can inspire us.”

    Pakistan is a land of pure Muslims.
    You are talking about loving non-Muslims, even Muslims of Shia and Ahmadi sects are not safe in Pakistan.


  • Insaan

    @Raza Mujtaba: ” Half of India was chanting a song from Ek Tha Tiger that actually starts with MashAllah”

    India is a secular country. Minorities in Pakistan live in fear all the time. If Half of India is chanting about a song with MashAllah, how many Pakistanis will chant a song with a world like Bhagwan in it.Recommend

  • Faisal

    Excellent song !! I just heared it and felt like I’m back in the 90’s, nice job done by Vital-Junoon however ridiculous analysis by the author.Recommend

  • Sane

    Rightfully said, in any other country it makes sense. Not in Pakistan Recommend

  • Saad

    By just reading through the comments, one can analyse the diverse mentality that exists in this society. People are not ready to accept other people’s opinions or point of views. As soon as one disagrees or fails to understand someone else’s persception, he/she starts attacking and criticising the hell out of that person. Why cant we just review the article, try to get what the author is saying, give a small statement of why you agree or dont agree with it, and move on? Theres no way everyone would approve each others take on ‘changing Pakistan’ , considering the fact that the culture is heavily segregated with each having different understanding about the national situation. People will have different thoughts. If you dont like and are unwilling to come up with a constructive opinion, then bear with it cause there are others who are opposed to your opinion as well. The modern people ‘attack’ the odd ones through cyber bullying. The so called illiterate ‘attack’ physically on the streets. Read the negative comments above and youll see theres no difference in mentality amongst them and the illiterate.Recommend

  • Pakistani Minority

    I didn’t like the song at all. It’s divisive and not moving at all.
    Excellent blog Manahyl. Keep it up. Ignore the trolls.Recommend

  • tman

    May Allah (SWT) bless you sister Recommend

  • Saadia

    Wish there were more people like you! Difference of opinion should be encouraged and appreciated. I like the authors guts to say wht she wanted toRecommend

  • atheist

    Ms Manahyl,
    I think one hardly cares if you are not impressed by naya pakistan.Recommend

  • Refreshed

    Cannot wait for your next piece , it’s refreshing writing Recommend

  • Shahzad Gill


    there is a difference mere verbal disagreement and physical violence mate. verbal disagreements are normal thing. How can you attempt to compare it with physical violence. This is ridiculous. You seems to have lost your head. Recommend

  • Shahzad Gill

    nothing new but the lyrics. come on where is the creativity! no offense to the purpose and motivation behind the song. Disappointing in terms of musical arrangement. Same old Junoon stuff. so predictable.Recommend

  • talha

    worst ever come back by JUNAID and JANOON, The song has no real meaning and especially using the word “inshallah” in a commercial song seems misfit. sorry for junaid, for doing this song. Recommend

  • talha

    u have reached the point Recommend

  • http://www.arsalahmedshaikh.blogspot.com Arsal Ahmed Shaikh

    You say:
    ”Why not make a song about freedom without the inclusion of religion?”

    It is their wish to include religion in the song, they are free to do it. Why are you saying make a song abut freedom. Freedom means when the people are free to do whatever they want. So, these people are doing what they want.Recommend

  • ET Zada

    The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune. WHAT A LOSS…Recommend

  • Looks like all the PML-N supporters have gathered to talk against Naya Pakistan concept. I am really amazed to see how it has been for no reason. I ask everyone of you to listen to the song carefully and try to figure out the real meanings of it rather than just commenting without a logic and reasoning. This writing was a piece of crap. Let me present a tashreeh of it for all of you who have misunderstood the beautiful song.I must make one thing very clear to all of you that words “Haq, Baatil” have not been used in the sense of “Kafir and Muslim” here. Rather they have been used to highlight the difference between “Corrupt and Honest, Mighty and Poor, Zaalim and Mazloom, Jaageerdaar and Awam and so one. And it has nothing to with any religious minority or majority. Its a general message for every pakistani (Hindu, Sikh, Eesaai, Muslim) be it anyone.

    From the start to end tashreeh for you guys:

    ” We will have a new pakistan by the will of Allah…..And righteous will rule over the wrongdoers, which means justice will prevail all over the country. Everyone will have their rights…everyone( including muslim, hindu, sikh, christen, and all the minorities).

    The dream of Alama Iqbal will come to life, and Shaheens (The youth of Pakistan) will rise again and will create a New Pakistan. Justice will prevail and everyone will have their due rights. Hopefully.
    Our time will change and prosperity will prevail and the whole world will watch us rise. Only truth will prevail. Truth the will differentiate between “Zaalim and Mazloom” will prevail by the will of Allah.
    Note: At the i hope that everyone who misunderstood the message of this beautyful tune have now understood the true meanings of it. Recommend

  • Australia

    @Anas Tanveer:
    Well said and feeling very sorry for the writer and the audience who made the comments in her favour. We first better look ourselves before criticising anyone. It’s pretty clear with the comments made against the song that what kind of Pakistan we want to see – surely not the Jinnah Pakistan….
    Before mocking, please understand that who we are, what is our identity, from where we come and from where we have to go and the only way comments made in criticising if we don’t believe in our final destination – if it’s the case then any argument will be pointless. I live in Australia and it’s not inspired me but to a big community here as we want a flourishing Pakistan where we can live with dignity, peace, Eman, brotherhood – A country to whom Jinnah dream about….. Recommend

  • Reader



  • riz

    So take away the religion and your problems are solved? I doubt it.Recommend