KARACHI: Renowned Pakistani musician Salman Ahmed has taken a strong stance to defend Coke Studio’s rendition of Sayonee.

“With 3.3 million views in 5 days, Sayonee is the fastest climbing song of Coke Studio Season 10, yet for some strange reason, it has been unjustifiably attacked for ruining the original. Some of the criticism is honest but a lot of it has nothing to do with music,” said the singer.

The Junoon guitarist stated that when he composed the original Sayonee along with Allama Iqbal’s Khudi in 1997, it was banned, ridiculed and attacked by disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government for ruining the legacy of Sufism. Despite all the racket, it still became a classic.

Commenting on the criticism towards Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Salman Ahmed asked what sin had Rahat committed by honoring a classic Junoon song in his voice that had been sung by over almost a hundred artists in the past 20 years including Sonu Nigam, Euphoria, Usha Uthap, young singers on SA RE GA MA in India, by Chinese, Japanese & Western people; also some people have even named their daughters after this song.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Pakistani Legend. He and I are the only Pakistani artists who have been invited to perform at the UN General Assembly in New York and the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

In addition, I started my music career performing with Rahat, his father Farrukh and the great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In fact, Junoon’s sound was heavily influenced by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,” he added.

Ahmed said that the people should try their level best to highlight the culture of the country.

“The whole Coke Studio band and tech team led by Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia comprises of over 75 hardworking men and women, have put months of hard work in making Season 10 a success. All of them also feel puzzled why one song has been attacked viciously. Frankly, I’m confused as well,” he commented.

He further said, “God exalts those who remember the Shaheeds. We honor Junaid Jamshed, Amir Zaki & Amjad Sabri with our music.

He also mentioned that we all should learn to celebrate music, not make it a reason to metamorphosize hate, division and negativity.