Pakistan National Anthem approved on 4th August 1954

August 4, 2012 | By | Reply More

The Government of Pakistan approves the National Anthem, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla.

The Qaumī Tarāna, also known as Pāk Sarzamīn (lit. “The Pure Land”), is the national anthem of Pakistan. The words “Qaumi Tarana” in Urdu literally translate to “National Anthem”. Its music, composed by Ahmad G. Chagla in 1950, preceded its lyrics, which were written by Hafeez Jullundhri in 1952. Another feature of the anthem is that no verse in the three stanza lyrics is repeated.


In early 1948, A. R. Ghani from Transvaal, South Africa, offered two prizes of five thousand rupees each for the poet and composer of a new national anthem for the newly independent state of Pakistan. The prizes were announced through a government press advertisement published in June 1948. In December 1948, the Government of Pakistan established the National Anthem Committee (NAC), which was initially chaired by the Information Secretary, Sheikh Muhammad Ikram. The Committee members included several politicians, poets and musicians such as Abdur Rab Nishtar, Ahmad G. Chagla and Hafeez Jullundhri. The committee had some difficulty at first in finding suitable music and lyrics.

In 1950, the impending state visit of the Shah of Iran resulted in the Pakistani Government asking the NAC to submit an anthem without delay. The committee chairman, the Federal Minister for Education, Fazlur Rahman, asked several poets and composers to write lyrics but none of the submitted works were deemed suitable. The NAC also examined several different tunes and eventually selected the one presented by Chagla and submitted it for formal approval. Chagla produced the musical composition in collaboration with another committee member and assisted by the Pakistan Navy band.

The music of the anthem was composed by Chagla with lyrics written by Jullundhri. The music for the anthem had been composed in 1950 and had been used on several state occasions before being officially adopted in 1954. The three stanza composition is unique in a way that no part of the anthem repeats itself. The lyrics allude to a “Sacred Land” referring to Pakistan and a “Flag of the Crescent and Star” referring to the national flag. Unofficially, the anthem is sometimes referred to by its first line “Pāk sarzamīn shād bād” (Urdu: “Blessed be the sacred land”). The national anthem is played during any event involving the hoisting of the flag, for example Pakistan Day (March 23) and Independence Day (August 14).

The anthem without lyrics was performed for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and later for the National Anthem Committee on August 10, 1950. Although it was approved for playing during the visit of the Shah, official recognition was not given until August 1954. The anthem was also played during the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States. The NAC distributed records of the composed tune amongst prominent poets, who responded by writing and submitting several hundred songs for evaluation by the NAC. Eventually, the lyrics written by Jullundhri were approved and the new national anthem was first played properly on Radio Pakistan on August 13, 1954. Official approval was announced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on August 16, 1954. The composer Chagla had however died in 1953, before the new national anthem was officially adopted. In 1955 there was a performance of the national anthem involving eleven major singers of Pakistan including Ahmad Rushdi.


The music, composed by Ahmad G. Chagla in 1950, reflects his background in both eastern and western music. Twenty-one musical instruments and thirty-eight different tones are used to play the Qaumi Tarana, the duration of which is 80 seconds.


The Urdu lyrics, written by Hafeez Jullundhri in 1952, have commonality with Persian, making them understandable in both languages. No verse in the three stanza lyrics is repeated.

قومى ترانہ (Urdu)
:پاک سرزمین شاد باد
كشور حسين شاد باد
تو نشان عزم علیشان
! ارض پاکستان
مرکز یقین شاد باد
pāk sarzamīn shād bād
kishwar-e-hasīn shād bād
tū nishān-e`azm-e-`alīshān
markaz-e-yaqīn shād bād
Blessed be the sacred land
Happy be the bounteous realm
Thou symbol of high resolve
O Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be the centre of faith
:پاک سرزمین کا نظام
قوت اخوت عوام
قوم ، ملک ، سلطنت
! پائندہ تابندہ باد
شاد باد منزل مراد
pāk sarzamīn kā nizām
qaum, mulk, sultanat
pā’inda tābinda bād!
shād bād manzil-e-murād
The order of this sacred land
Is the might of the brotherhood of the people
May the nation, the country, and the state
Shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition

:پرچم ستارہ و هلال

رہبر ترقی و کمال
ترجمان ماضی شان حال
! جان استقبال
سایۂ خدائے ذوالجلال
parcham-e-sitāra-o hilāl
rahbar-e-taraqqī-o kamāl
tarjumān-e-māzī, shān-e-hāl
The flag of the crescent and star
Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Inspiration for our future!
Shadow of God, the Glorious and Mighty


* 1947 – The new state of Pakistan comes into being on 14 August
* 1950 – Musical composition for the Qaumi Tarana is composed by the Pakistani musical composer, Ahmad G. Chagla (running time: 80 seconds)
* 1952 – Verses written by the Pakistani poet, Hafeez Jullundhri, are selected from amongst 723 entries
* 1954 – Broadcast for the first time on Radio Pakistan on 13 August
* 1955 – Sung by 11 famous Pakistani singers including Ahmad Rushdi, Shamim Bano, Kokab Jehan, Rasheeda Begum, Najam Ara, Naseema Shaheen, Zwar Hussain, Akhtar Abbas, Ghulam Dastgir, Anwar Zaheer and Akhtar Wassi
* 1996 – Rendered in electric guitar for the first time by Pakistani rock band Junoon in their album Inquilaab
* 2009 – Rendered as an acoustic instrumental for the first time by Pakistani musician Jehangir Aziz Hayat
* 2011 – 5,857 people gathered in a stadium in Karachi at 12:05 a.m. on 14 August to sing the Qaumi Tarana and set a new world record for most people gathered to sing a national anthem

Controversial previous national anthem claim

For the first time in 2004, it was claimed by an Indian journalist that the first national anthem of Pakistan was written by Jagan Nath Azad, a Hindu poet from Lahore, on the personal request of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was alleged that Jinnah asked Azad to write the anthem on 11 August 1947 and that it was later approved by Jinnah as the official national anthem for the next year and a half.However, this claim is historically unsubstantiated, disputed and controversial. Many historians, including Dr. Safdar Mahmood and Aqeel Abbas Jafri, reject this claim and believe that Jagan Nath Azad neither met Jinnah nor wrote Pakistan’s first national anthem.The fact that there is no historical documentary record of any such claim prior to 2004 also makes this claim dubious and doubtful.

According to this claim, Jagan Nath Azad is alleged to have said:

“The National anthem was written by me in five days time. It was too short time for me but I tried to do full justice to it keeping in mind the road map charted by Jinnah sahib for modern Pakistan. The national anthem was sent to Jinnah sahib who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan radio, Karachi (which was the capital of Pakistan then). Meanwhile the situation in both east and west Punjab was becoming worse with every passing day and the same set of friends told me in September 1947 that even they would not be able to provide protection to me and that it would be better for me to migrate to India. I decided to migrate to this side. The song written by me continued to be the national anthem for one and a half years.”

However, this claim is unsubstantiated as Radio Pakistan recordings and international broadcasting services of the time, such as the BBC, have no such records in their archives nor is there any evidence that this version of the anthem was ever played on Radio Pakistan. The claim seems dubious as Radio Pakistan, Karachi, was established in 1948 and did not exist in 1947. At independence, Pakistan only had three radio stations at Dhaka (established in 1939), Lahore (1937) and Peshawar (1936). Another argument given against this claim is that Azad’s alleged statement was taken at face value on the claim of an Indian journalist in 2004. The claim is also discredited since Azad himself did not make any such claim in any of his published works. If Azad had written Pakistan’s first national anthem, he would have mentioned it somewhere in his published works, which he did not. A website created by Azad’s son also claims that Azad was given the Presidential Iqbal Award by Pakistan in 1979 but the records from the Pakistan government do not authenticate this claim. Azad’s son has also been unable to produce any documentary evidence to substantiate such a claim. Azad himself never claimed to have received any award from Pakistan during his lifetime.

:اے سرزمین پاک
ذرے ترے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
تندی حاسداں پہ ہے غالب تیرا سواک
دامن وہ سل گیا ہے جو تھا مدتوں سے چاک
اے سرزمین پاک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak
Tundi-e-hasdan pe ghalib hai tera swaak
Daman wo sil gaya hai jo tha mudaton se chaak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
O, Land of the Pure
The grains of your soil are glowing today
Brighter than the stars and the galaxies
Awe-struck is the enemy by your will-power
Open wounds are sewn, we’ve found a cure
O, Land of the Pure…
:اب اپنے عزم کو ہے نیا راستہ پسند
اپنا وطن ہے آج زمانے میں سر بلند
پہنچا سکے گا اس کو نہ کوئی بھی اب گزند
اپنا علم ہے چاند ستاروں سے بھی بلند
اب ہم کو دیکھتے ہیں عطارد ہوں یا سماک
اے سرزمین پاک
Ab apne azm ko hai naya rasta pasand
Apna watan hai aaj zamane main sar buland
Pohncha sake ga is ko na koi bhi ab gazand
Apna alm a hai chand sitaron se bhi buland
Ab ham ko dekhtey hain atarad hon ya samaak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
New paths of progress, we resolve to tread
Proudly, our nation stands with a high head
Our flag is aflutter above the moon and the stars
As planets look up to us be it Mercury or Mars
No harm will now come from anywhere, for sure
O, Land of the Pure…
:اترا ہے امتحان میں وطن آج کامیاب
اب حریت کی زلف نہیں محو پیچ و تاب
دولت ہے اپنے ملک کی بے حد و بے حساب
ہوں گے ہم آپ ملک کی دولت سے فیض یاب
مغرب سے ہم کو خوف نہ مشرق سے ہم کو باک
اے سرزمین پاک
Utra hai imtehan main watan aaj kamyab
Ab huriat ki zulf nahin mahiv-e-paich-o-taab
Daulat hai apne mulk ki be had-o-be hisaab
Hon ge ham aap mulk ki daulat se faiz yab
Maghrib se hum ko khauf na mashriq se hum ko baak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
The nation has tasted success at last
Now freedom struggle is a thing of the past
The wealth of our country knows no bounds
For us are its benefits and bounty all around
Of East and West, we have no fear
O, Land of the Pure…
:اپنے وطن کا آج بدلنے لگا نظام
اپنے وطن میں آج نہیں ہے کوئی غلام
اپنا وطن ہے راہ ترقی پہ تیز گام
آزاد، بامراد، جوان بخت شاد کام
اب عطر بیز ہیں جو ہوائیں تھیں زہر ناک
اے سرزمین پاک
Apne watan ka aaj badalne laga nizam
apne watan main aaj nahin hai koi ghulam
apna watan hai rah-e-taraqi pe tez gam
azad, bamurad jawan bakht shad kaam
ab itr bez hain jo hawain thin zehr naak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
Change has become the order of the day
No-one is a slave in the nation today
On the road to progress, we’re swiftly going along
Independent and fortunate, happy as a song
Gloomy winds are gone, sweet freedom’s in the air
O, Land of the Pure…
:ذرے تیرے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
اے سرزمین پاک
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak!
The grains of your soil are glowing today
Brighter than the stars and the galaxies
O, Land of the Pure…

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