This is Why Nazia Hassan Will Always Be The Queen of Pakistani Pop Music

By Mariam Saeed Khan | 5 Aug, 2015

August 13th marks the death anniversary of Pakistani pop sensation Nazia Hassan when she lost her battle to cancer. Blessed with immense talent and a genuine personality, she captivated audiences not only in Pakistan but around the world. Given Nazia’s career trajectory, it’s difficult not to wonder what more she could have accomplished had she not been diagnosed with cancer.

So, sit back and listen to “Jaana” as you take a moment to remember why Nazia Hassan will always be Pakistan’s pop queen.


Earlier Days


Nazia Hassan was born in Karachi to a well-educated family.  Daughter of Basir Hassan, a businessman and Muniza Basir a well renowned artist and social worker. You could argue that it was in her genes to become a sweetheart who millions would come to adore.


Instant success

Nazia’s debut song “Aap Jaisa Koi” for the Indian film Qurbani made her a star overnight across India, despite the fact that she was from Pakistan.



Talent has no age or gender

Nazia showed the world at the age of 15 that a teenager can do wonders when given the opportunity and support of your family.

nazia receiving award
Source: Zoheb Hassan Official / Facebook

She was the first Pakistani to win the Filmfare award during that time (1980). And even today, Nazia Hassan remains the youngest winner for the Best Playback Singer Female award.


International fame before the advent of social media

Her debut album“ Disco Deewane” was the first South Asian album to be a hit in Brazil, Russia, South Africa And Indonesia.

Disco Deewane

Just after the release of the album , Nazia and Zoheb were offered the chance to act in a movie by Biddu, but they refused to act so that they could focus on their music.This was before the days of social media -to attain so much attention on your debut album was much more difficult back then.


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Queen of disco music in Pakistan

Nazia Hassan introduced the genre of disco music to Pakistan, thereby revolutionizing the music industry.

nazia-10 dawn


Technological pioneer for Pakistan’s music industry


Nazia’s third album “Young Tarang” was the first album in Pakistan to feature music videos. More so, the album went on to become one of the most popular albums in Asia.


Immeasurable potential

To date, Nazia Hassan sold more than 60 million records worldwide with a career of 13 years only.

Source: Nazia Hassan Foundation

Imagine what she could have accomplished had she lived past 35.

Thriving in a male dominated society

Even today, the male dominated entertainment industry makes it difficult for female artists. Yet, Nazia Hassan not only stood out, she dominated the industry.

Source: Nazia Hassan Foundation


Proud Pakistani

Being a pure nationalist, she refused to sing a song composed by Biddu “Made in India” because it would offend Pakistan’s sentiments.

Via: Tumblr


Showed everyone how important family is

Nazia Hassan had a very close bond with her brother, Zoheb Hassan, and they recorded a significant amount of songs together. In fact, it was the song “Teray Qadum Ko” which she sang with her brother that led her to her initial fame in Pakistan.


One of the reasons the song was an instant hit was because the video showed a mutual bond of the brother-sister duo.


More than just a pop icon

After releasing five albums together with her brother, Zoheb Hassan, Nazia left her singing career to focus on her charity work.

“Not many people know that Nazia gave away all the money she earned as royalties from her albums  to charity and did not keep a single penny for herself.”  – Zoheb Hassan

Source: Nazia Hassan Foundation

She also started an organization called BAN (Battle Against Narcotics) in Karachi to help fight the drug war during the 90s.

International popstar

Nazia had a global fan base, especially in Latin America, Asia and Europe. In fact, her album “Disco Deewane” topped charts in West Indies, Russia and various Latin American countries.

Source: Zoheb Hassan Official / Facebook


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Lawyer and political activist

In addition to being a lawyer, Nazia Hassan also worked for the United Nations Security Council after interning in the Women’s International Leadership program at the UN.

Source: Nazia Hassan Foundation

Nazia’s social and academic standing won her a scholarship to Columbia University’s Leadership Program but she was unable to attend the program because she was diagnosed with cancer at the same time.


Beacon of hope for her family and Pakistan

According to her brother, Nazia kept her struggles to herself. She wanted to remain a strong role model for Pakistanis and kept her marriage struggles and battle with cancer to herself.

nazia-7 dawn

Pride of Performance recipient

On 23rdMarch 2002, two years after she passed away, Government of Pakistan during Musharraf’s Era awarded Nazia Hassan with “ Pride of Performance.” It’s unfortunate that we Pakistanis tend to award our talented citizens only until they pass away.

Source: Nazia Hassan Foundation

Even though Nazia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer almost 15 years ago, her voice has carried her through the years and will hopefully continue to do so. One of the strongest female figures Pakistan has seen, she charmed audiences around the globe through her music career and social work. Global Voices Online described Nazia as a young, independent woman who made a space for herself in Pakistan’s music industry. Nazia Hassan not only made a place for herself, but she paved the way for more women in Pakistan.

Nazia_Hassan ( wikipedia)


“ As with everything, you carry on. Even when you have bad days.” – Nazia Hassan


Cover image via:

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