Two years on, remembering Junaid Jamshed and PK-661 crash victims


On December 7, 2016, PIA aircraft ATR-42 turboprop plane, operating flight PK-661, crashed near Havelian with 47 passengers and crew members on-board. Renowned Naat Khwan and former pop singer Junaid Jamshed along with his wife were also aboard the plane.

The plane took off from Chitral around 3:50pm and PIA said the plane crashed at 4:42pm local time in the Havelian area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 125 km north of Islamabad.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen the plane crash into a hilly area near Havelian close to the Ordinance factory. Pictures from the area, which was about an hour away from Havelian, showed the plane’s wreckage which had scattered over a large area.

Captain Saleh Janjua and Co-pilot Ahmed Janjua were operating the ill-fated flight.

After having unprecedented success, without any marketing or promotion, Jamshed and Vital Signs went their separate ways in 1998, as the former chose a solo musical career. The band had spearheaded the underappreciated and relatively unknown rock scene to a national level during their peak.

His solo road wasn’t as smooth as he thought it to be; sometime after 2000, he vanished from the public platform, while rumours arose of him facing financial pitfalls.

Finally, mid-last decade, Jamshed declared bankruptcy, abandoned music after learning its position in religion, and announced his decision to become a devout Muslim. Alongside, he launched a clothing line under the name J. in order to maintain an income source.

Mansoor, his long-time friend, expressed his disappointment in an interview when he read about Jamshed seeing music in a negative light and consequently confusing his fans. Nonetheless, some close friends remember him not being able to resist his passion for singing in private meet-ups.

Jamshed, who had two major sides in his life, was remembered admirably for both. In the latter half of his 52-year-long life, he promoted religion and went to talk on various platforms on how to achieve personal and spiritual growth. The website, the Muslim 500, labeled him as one of the most powerful Muslims around the world.

Jamshed was assaulted at Islamabad airport in 2016 for alleged blasphemy, and had to issue an apology over social media.

He was on a visit to Chitral to advance “the Path of Allah,” his last tweet before his untimely death revealed.