'RIP Aamir Zaki, I've lost my reason to play guitar'

What are your fond memories of Aamir Zaki? Share your thoughts with us at blog@dawn.com
Updated 04 Jun, 2017 12:51am

Aamir Zaki was Pakistan's most legendary guitarist who will be remembered by the nation as one of the greatest icons. As heartfelt messages after his sudden demise come pouring in, we would like to ask our readers, who was Aamir Zaki for you? Send a short tribute or a photo you took with the star to blog@dawn.com


I was privileged to see him almost daily as he was my neighbour. He used to have a sports bike and of course, his guitar on his back whenever he was out. He was a very humble guy and as a student, I saw him many times sitting across my table in a small dhaba sipping tea. I am not sure what to say, but today I lost many of my childhood memories just like when JJ died. Allah kay hawalay, my mate. Innalillah.


When I was unable to concentrate on my studies for CA, I used to listen to his song, 'You need that fire'. His music always enabled me to concentrate on my studies. It sounds unusual, but it always worked for me. I will miss you, Sir.

Nadeem Farooq Paracha, in his piece:

In his bedroom were posters of Eric Clapton. He was in love with him, especially with Clapton's '461 Ocean Boulevard' album. Zaki also played the bass, and that too a fretless one preferred by dexterous jazz-fusionists.

We talked about the blues, jazz, prog-rock and the works, until we came to 'The Bomb.' I told him the lyrics were crap. He agreed and then asked me to write new ones. So I did, right there. He loved them. He picked up an acoustic guitar and set those lyrics to a new version of the song. Right there. Thus began my friendship with this most talented and also most frustrating musician.


May Allah bless his soul. I saw one of his concerts where he played alongside the famous Awaz and then Karavan's guitarist. He played Pink Floyd's 'Another brick in the wall' to perfection. He was always a family favourite.

Zia Moheyuddin‏:

A nation is bound together by the creative artists and not by parallel lines of rusting steel. #AmirZaki's demise is a great loss.

Maria Amir:

RIP #AamirZaki. 'Mera Pyar' was the 90s anthem to combat all forms of road rage. You will be missed.


RIP. The best guitarist. I can never forget his performance in unplugged versions of 'Aitebar' and 'Teray Liye'.

Jon Eliya:

'Mera tumhara wo ghar humara'. Such beautiful lines. I remember him as a shy individual who was always busy in his work. As the most underappreciated guitarist and vocalist, he never wanted to be in the spotlight. He was probably the greatest guitar player Pakistan has ever seen. We have lost a gem. It breaks my heart. We will miss you, Aamir Zaki.

Sahar Soomro:

Sad day for Pakistan. RIP Amir Zaki. We all bore witness to his artistic genius. Wish we could have cherished him while he was with us. We have lost an institution. Huge loss for Pakistan.

Ali Haider Habib, in his piece:

We would be in awe of his ability, even when he would be lecturing us on the lack of our own. But he never really put us down. He never told me how bad a player I was. On the contrary, he gave me one of his guitars. Just like that.

We were driving back home from a gig and he asked me if I liked the guitar. I told him I thought it was great and he just handed it to me. "Keep it". He later joked how he would not sign it because I’d sell it for a fortune after he died. How ignorant of him.

Zain Naqvi:

Artwork that I did to honour the maestro.
Artwork that I did to honour the maestro.

Most people fall in love with Zaki after 'Mera Pyar', but for me it was 'Bhula Deyna'. Now that he is gone, the lyrics seem more haunting than ever before.

Raheel Qazi:

I met Aamir when I was 18 in 1980, long before he became known for his talent. I remember spending time with him in his smoke-filled room. Lamps, spotlights and posters of Clapton, Knopfler, Frampton adorned the walls of his room. I would ask him to jam Mark Knopfler numbers and he would do it to perfection, maybe even better than him.

Listening to Aamir in his own environment was an experience in itself. The unplugged renditions of early Dire Straits in a setting of his choice simply can't be explained in words. You just had to be there, it had to be felt. I vividly remember him stringing the cords to 'Money for nothing or Romeo and Juliet' using the exact guitar that Knopfler used. I can't explain how cool that was.


Unbelievable! I remember him vividly. He was from our age, when we were growing up and pop was the upcoming culture in Pakistan. He was from the generation of Vital Signs, Hadiqa Kiyani and Ali Azmat when they were young and trying to make a mark in pop music. RIP genius. You were too young to die at this age.


The last time I saw him perform live at the I Am Karachi Music Festival in 2015 was as exciting for me as the first. It was Aamir Zaki, the Aamir Zaki set. Not someone featuring Aamir Zaki. While many great musicians played that night, Zaki’s set reminded me once more of the love for music he instilled in so many of us.

He was the last man standing from the era of Pakistani music when most gave up, or went for the next best financial option that real music couldn’t always promise. He was god sent and always reminded us that loving something wholeheartedly, and following it through, is more rewarding than anything in this world. He did so much for us in ways we didn’t even realise until he passed away.

Muhammad Ali:

Inna Lillah-e-wa-Inna Ilaihe Rajioon! Another blow to Pakistan's music industry. The songs sung and composed by Aamir Zaki were fabulous. Sadly, he passed away at an age when he had the potential to give even more good music to Pakistan. He will surely be missed. May his soul rest in peace - Ameen!

Saqib Hussain:

Last year, I saw my guitar turn into ashes in a house fire. The other day, my younger brother asked me about when I’ll be buying a new guitar. I told him, this time I’ll buy an electric not the acoustic one. But now, perhaps I won’t be getting any, because on Friday night I lost my reason to play. Rest in peace my idol.

Ashar Ahmed:

All good men go early. Never met him, but his genuineness and humbleness shone through. Always was a fan and always will be! Inna lillahe wa inna ilaehe rajeoon!