Believe it or not Pakistan has some pretty sick guitar players, and musicians, in general. Even if you’re not much into the local music scene, certain names readily pop up when it comes to guitarists. You have Faraz Anwer for instance, though it may be argued that he hasn’t received that much attention in the mainstream, it’s still a name that is recognizable in the guitarist fraternity. Asad Ahmad is another name that strikes a power chord in this regard. Then you have the evergreen Amir Zaki, may God rest his soul.
Here are some of the most underrated guitarists in Pakistan:
Khurram Waqar is a seasoned veteran of the Pakistani rock scene. Not many people know this but he was in the very first line-up of the famous band Entity Paradigm (EP). Actually there were two bands, Enity and Paradigm that merged to form the supergroup. He was in Entity alongside Ahmad Ali Butt and Salman Albert. Khurram Waqar. Khurram also had his own group Knumb for a while before he went on to form the Post Grunge/ Heavy Metal band Qayaas. While Umair Jaswal was the front man and the voice, the band was pretty much the brainchild of Khurram. His heavy guitar riffs coupled with face melting solos for me at least gave the band a soul. His style is pretty similar to that of Mark Tremonti the lead guitarist of Creed and Alter Bridge. Currently he has started a new project known as KW and the Movement.
Speaking of Qayaas, Sarmad Ghafoor the second guitarist in the band has also made his mark in the Pakistani music industry. He is one of the most sought after producers and recording engineers in the country. The guy has produced albums for Atif Aslam, Bilal Khan and Overload. In addition to playing guitars, Sarmad is also well versed in Bass and Drums.
Shahzad Hameed may not be the most technically proficient guitar player but at the risk of sounding cliched, he sure knows how to rock the hell out of a six string. With his classic rock-esque guitar riffs and politically charged lyrics, not to mention his Robert Plant-inspired outlook, the guy’s music is a perfect between angst and melody that very much is what rock n roll has been about. Also fun fact he played bass for the first incarnation of the band Call and was also a member of Qayaas for a short while.
This guy seemingly came out of nowhere and took the local hard rock scene by storm only to ride away into the sunset like the cowboy he is. His album ‘order for disorder’ released in 2013, was a no nonsense guitar album that left you craving for more. Taimur Tajik is like our very own Zack Wylde. I just hope he comes out with another album soon.
Hamza Jafri is perhaps the most unique guitarist out of them all. He has produced some of the most unique and complex musical numbers with his band Co-Ven. If Tool and Alice in Chains ever had a love child it would’ve been called Co-Ven. The unorthodox time signatures of the former coupled with the dark and sludge texture of the latter for me at least is what Co-Ven’s music has been about. Every time I hear the band, I am like how the fuck did they come up with that.
Nabeel Nihal Chisty
Nabeel was the original lead guitarist for the renowned rock band Aaroh. He was part of the line-up that won the Pepsi Battle of the Bands held in 2002. While Nabeel was replaced with Haider Hashmi only a little while after the band rose to mainstream, his passion for music never ended. The guy a virtuoso in his own right has produced his solo work and also collaborated with other artists over the years.
Many people of the music community consider Adnan Afaq the very best guitar player in Pakistan. While he never rose to the mainstream the guy has still made his presence felt. With his unique blend of jazz and blues Adnan Afaq can shred circles around anyone. Interestingly he was part of a rock group known as Circle back in the 90’s alongside Tanseer Dar the vocalist for Karavan.
If you feel like we have missed out on some, please let us know in the comments.