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Michael Jackson Made his Mark in Pakistan

Pakistani fans of Michael Jackson say they are shocked and saddened by the news of his sudden death. Jackson, who was often described as the most popular musician in the world, made his mark here in Pakistan, too.

Michael Jackson's death led many of Pakistan's local television channels Friday morning, knocking the near constant coverage of the military campaign against Taliban militants off the top of the news lineup, if only for a few hours.

At Illusions CD shop in downtown Islamabad, employee Irfan says, even today, years after the height of Jackson's career, people still come to buy his music.

"It's very popular," said Irfan. "Every single person knows Michael Jackson's name. He's very popular. Still, people like [him]. He's the legend."

Another employee, Haris, says he does not feel strongly about Jackson's death, although he loved listening to his music during his childhood.

"I don't feel that much, because he had dropped out of the music scene a lot," he said. "He was trying to make a comeback, from what I heard. But I hadn't heard any of his songs in the past couple of years."

In a nearby outdoor café, 21-year-old Maryam Malik sat with a friend in the scorching heat. She described herself as a "big time" fan of Jackson's music.

"We are really sad that he is no more with us," said Malik. "Many pop singers, like all our pop singers, they have some kind of influence and they, to some extent, have followed his ideas and compositions, and so it's a big time loss."

Rakae Jamil, a musicologist with the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts in Lahore, says there is no doubt that Michael Jackson influenced the pop scene in Pakistan.

"You can find elements of his music in some of the pop songs in Pakistan, whether it concerns rhythmic structures or even melodies," said Jamil. "You know, there's a lot of adrenlin rushed, adrelin-pumped songs such as 'Beat It,' such as 'Bad,' - mostly tracks from the 1980s. Basically, Michael Jackson's music probably went beyond his music videos, and that's why it connected with people over here."

Jamil also says Jackson's talent as a singer, dancer, songwriter was so unique that it transcends time and will continue to inspire Pakistani pop artists.