He began his music career from Vital Signs. Then he formed a new group called Junoon. He has performed for the United Nations General Assembly four times. Composed and sang the title song of The Movie of Jinnah.
He has written a book “Rock n Roll Jihad” and made documentaries.
We recently talked to him about his life. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
The News Tribe: You remained attached with two top music bands of Pakistan. Why did you leave them?
Salman Ahmad: It is my duty to do my best as an artist. Whether I do it alone or in a team should not matter much.
TNT: Patriotism is prominent in your music. What is the reason behind that?
SA: Pakistan is the country which helped me realise my dreams. This is a land of opportunity for those who want to discover their khudi. I am fortunate to have been born to parents who instilled love of this country in my personality.
TNT: Why do you support good ties with India?
SA: The world is facing various challenges today such as poverty, scarcity of water, AIDS and global warming. To face these challenges, nations need to cooperate with each other. That is why I support good ties with India. The continuation of antagonistic relations with India can be harmful for Pakistan.
TNT: Why do you participate actively in only the campaigns against AIDS?
SA: Because it is a disease which can be controlled by creating awareness. Poverty is a major reason for its growth. I have always tried to use art and culture to resolve world problems. I have got an opportunity through UN and I can now do this on a large scale.
TNT: Is it true that you are going to perform with Madonna?
SA: I like to work with others. I liked working with Melissa Etheridge and Wycleaf Jean. I also enjoyed myself while performing at the Nobel prize ceremony. I amg going to work with A R Rehman in the near future. I haven’t got the opportunity to scrutinize the project you are talking about. Let’s see what happens.
TNT: Why did you shift to New York? You are so patriotic.
SA: Artists are the ambassadors of their nations. Wherever I live, my mind and my heart remain here in Pakistan. I don’t sit down after achieving success. I keep finding challenges as regars film and music. Living in New York does not affect my patriotism.
TNT: When and where did you meet Samina? Does she help you in your career?
SA: I saw her in a wedding. She was 18 then. I was in King Edward Medical College and she was in Allama Iqbal Medical College. Marrying a doctor helped me in that I managed to give a lot of time to music. We launched Salman and Samina Wellness Initiative. We are working on a number of projects together to curb extremism and terrorism in Pakistan.
TNT: Why did you name your book ‘Rock n Roll Jihad’? It created a controversy.
SA: Rock n Roll is the expression of my extremism. Jihad to me is the name of achieving one’s goals. I want to bring the American and Pakistani civilisations closer. Unfortunately, the concept of Jihad was used by Osama Bin Laden and those people who want to prove Islam a conservative religion. We have to help not only the Western world but also the Muslim socities in such a situation. Jihad means making efforts. We must use skills given to us by Allah for the betterment of the world nad peace. To me, this is the real Jihad.
TNT: What is Pakistan to you?
SA: Pakistan is my cultural identity. I want this country to emerge as a peaceful, liberal and democratic state in the world.