I stopped paying attention to mainstream music in Pakistan a couple of years back, none of it appeals to me anymore to be honest. But hey, I came across a post yesterday that listed the seven ‘best’ guitarists of Pakistan. Nice to see nothing has changed, the usual suspects are on the list – Amir Zaki, Meekal Hasan, Salman Ahmed etc. I won’t comment on where these guys stand, but I will be listing down some guitarists from Pakistan who have been ignored, nobody has ever heard them or you probably don’t care about the kind of music they play.

Before you read on, please bear in mind that I am merely a listener who has found these guitarists at the top of their game. They are in no particular order and range from back in the 90s to the present. Also I will not be writing much about them, their music speaks for how awesome they are.

Adnan Afaq: This guy is a legend. He played in Arsh, the super group whose members weren’t really famous till after they relaunched their careers – Shehzad Mughal, Tanseer Dar et al.


Last I heard, Afaq – who is also known as Adnan Vai – was teaching at NAPA in Karachi. This solo (o hey, Khalid Khan is on stage too) is as honest as it gets:


Nabeel Nihal Chishty: You can’t talk about Pakistani guitarists without mentioning Nabeel, one of the core members of the original Aaroh lineup. The band won Pepsi Battle of the Bands way back in 2002, and with good reason too. They were also spearheading the commercial rock scene in Pakistan, which went full blown once Jal came up with Aadat. Here is a solo track:


Omar Sultan: I was introduced to Omar’s work when he joined Dusk and played on the Eastern Assault split with Distrust. He has also played in H2O (I’m not sure if this was just a one-off project) with Khalid Khan’s brother, Hassan.

This solo will melt your face:


Waqas Ahmed: From Kain to Orion to Odyssey, Waqas is probably one of the greatest guitarists this country has ever seen. I kid you not. I’m just going to post a bunch of links so that you can see just how damn good he is.


Odyssey – Odyssey Pt.1: A Coming Of Age

Saad Akhter Ali: Making his debut with the melodic death/thrash band Communal Grave, Saad went on to form the one man Reckoning Storm. You can hear power metal, symphonic metal, Malmsteen, Castlevania OST in his music.


Umair Nadeem: This kid was around 16 (I think) when he released the Project Berklee track. Jaw dropping. Also played with Overload recently.