The event started with musical maestro Salman Ahmad of Junoon playing the National Anthem on his guitar. The entire LUMS crowd stood up to sing the Anthem with him. They roared when he effortlessly shifted the tune to Junoon Se and then to Yaaro Yehi Dosti Hai. Salman Ahmad didn’t just sing; he engaged the audience with fascinating anecdotes from his career. He recalled how Sufi music was considered “uncool” during his youth, and how he dared to bring it into the mainstream by fusing it with pop music, which is the prevalent trend of today. The focus of his discourse was finding one’s soul and the purpose of one’s existence. He explained that he struggles to find this answer through his music. He also encouraged the youth to have faith in their abilities and to experiment with their various talents.
Next up on stage was Farhad Humayun, who talked about Pepsi’s initiative to support Pakistan’s unsung heroes and pay tribute to the legends present at the occasion. He invited Shahi Hasan on stage, who is a renowned musician, record producer, bass guitarist, music industry executive, and co-founder of the Vital Signs. Unsurprisingly, there was a huge round of applause for Shahi. Through his inspirational words, he motivated the young crowd to work hard and believe in their dreams. The best part, however, was when Salman Ahmad joined him on stage to sing Aye Jazba Junoon once again.
The stage was then given to the Chaand Sitaras of Pakistan, the young heroes who have made us proud on global platforms. First up was Saad Ali, a young Formula One driver who has won international accolades for his performances. He said, and I quote, “Pursue your dreams; you’ve got only one life, and what better way to live it than chasing your dreams!” The passion and energy of this individual for what he loved was unmatched – something that the event hoped to instill in the audience as well. Zeeshan Abbasi, the fastest blind bowler in the world, was the next hero to grace the stage. His advice to the youth was on diligent work and belief in the Almighty. A very emotional moment ensued, as the audience ensured the hero of its support through constant cheers and thunderous applause.
Goher Mumtaz of the band Jal made a surprise entry and stunned everyone in the audience. Goher revealed that the inspiration behind Jal wasn’t Led Zeppelin; it was Vital Signs and Junoon! Soon, Junaid Jamshed, the face of Vital Signs, joined him on stage. Junaid said that even though he had quit singing, it was love for the youth of Pakistan that brought him back on stage. Junaid took the crowd on a trip down memory lane as he sang some of his older gems along with Goher, from Dil Dil Pakistan and Hum Hain Pakistani to Tera Karam Maula.
Near the end, all the stars came out to sing Pepsi’s Chand Sitara, during which Junaid Jamshed and Salman Ahmed got off stage to mingle in the crowd. The feeling of no boundaries between the audience and the stars was overwhelming. Salman was the one to call it a night, and he could not have concluded it in a better way than to make the crowd rumble the most patriotic chant, Pakistan Zindabad!
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