Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi

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Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi
Attaullah Khan Esakhailvi.JPG
Background information
Birth nameAttaullah Khan Niazi
Born (1951-08-19) 19 August 1951 (age 68)
Mianwali, Punjab, Pakistan
OriginPunjab, Pakistan
Years active1971 – 2019

Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi (Urdu عطااللہ خان عیسی خیلوی) ;(19 August 1951; surname also translated as Esa Khailvi) also known as 'Lala' (which means "elder brother" in Pashto) is a Pakistani award-winning musician from Isakhel, Mianwali, Punjab.[1] He was thrown out of his house for wanting to become a singer, against his father's wishes. The only opportunity seemed to him was to follow his passion during his father's Hajj. He is traditionally considered a Saraiki artist, but his music albums are in both Saraiki and Urdu.He was taught a lot of Punjabi Qalaam by the late Aadha Khan Gunjial who introduced him to a few of his greatest hits.

Attaullah's hits include Qameez Teri Kaali, Idhar Zindagi ka Janaza, Raatan, We Bol Sanwal, Ishq Main Hum Tumain Kya Batayain, Theva Mundri tha Theva, Woh Bahar Ka Zamana, Mahi Wasey Mera and Aaaj Kala Jora Pa. Listen to Attaullah's greatest hits

The Government of Pakistan awarded him the Sitara-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 and he also got the Pride of Performance Award in 1991.

In 2011 he appeared in Coke Studio (season 4) and sang 2 songs Ni Oothaan Waale and Pyaar Naal. In September 2017 he appeared in Coke Studio (season 10) second time and sang Sab Maya Hai with his traditional loving sound.

A dedicated Fans Club is made for him by the name of Attaullah Fans Club. It contains his personal as well as albums information.

Early life[edit]

Esakhelvi was born in Esa Kheil, Mianwali, Punjab Province, Pakistan as Attaullah Khan Niazi. Niazi is a populous Pashtun tribe based in extreme north-west Punjab province of Pakistan and eastern regions of Afghanistan. Attaullah developed an interest in music as a child, but music was strictly forbidden in his home.[2][3] Despite the restriction on music in his home, Attaullah secretly sought to learn more about music.[2] His school teacher taught him Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh songs and told him never to stop singing. Attaullah tried to explain his passion for music to his parents and convince them to let him sing, but they forbade him to continue singing.[2] Disillusioned, Attaullah left home when he was 18 years old.[2] He traveled extensively within Pakistan and supported himself by working from Mianwali. He is most popular in rural areas of Pakistan and some other countries in world.

Musical career[edit]

Esakhelvi continued his training after leaving his parents' home and often recorded himself on cassette tapes that he later distributed.[2]

In 1972, Esakhelvi was invited to perform on Radio Pakistan, Bahawalpur. That same year, he performed in a concert in Mianwali.[4] Esakhelvi performed on the television show Neelam Ghar in 1973.

He was invited by a company in Faisalabad to record folk songs in their studio, and recorded four albums in one recording session.[2] The albums were released at the end of 1977 and became national bestsellers.[2]

In 1980, Esakhelvi performed in the United Kingdom for the first time. It was also his first concert abroad. His albums were eventually released in UK under various labels, including Hi-tech, OSA and Moviebox.

He has performed Na`at and Kalaam of famous Sufi poets, such as Mian Muhammad Bakhsh's Saiful Maluk and Bulleh Shah's Keey Bay Dardan Sang Yaree.He also sang song of Sadiq (a famous saraiki poet).

Popularity in India[edit]

Attaullah Khan visited India during 2014. The Times of India wrote: "TNN | Apr 17, 2014, 12.00 AM IST: A Sufi concert, Ibaadat, organized in association with Navbharat Times, was recently held at Purana Quila in the capital. Pakistani folk singer Attaullah Khan performed for the first time in Delhi at this event. Khan sang his Achha Sila Diya Tune Mere Pyaar Ka, and other Pakistani Sufi hits for the audience. The concert was organized by the AAS group, an NGO which works to spread awareness about cervical cancer among women and ways to prevent it, and this concert was organized to spread that message."[5] Attaullah Khan had gained a lot of popularity in India during the 1990s. There were stories about his failed love which were doing rounds. While these were all fake, many people in India had taken them to be true. These added to his popularity and at one point of time, he had become almost a cult figure.

Personal life[edit]

Attaullah Khan is from district Mianwali and his hometown is Esakhel. He received his early education from Esakhel. He is traditionally considered as a Saraiki artist.

Attaullah relocated to Lahore after becoming a professional musician performing in Saraiki, Urdu and English. He has been married four times and has four children. His daughter Laraib Atta is a professional VFX artist who has worked for several Hollywood films.[6][7] His son Sanwal Esakhelvi is also pursuing a career in music,[8] while yet another son, Bilawal, is an actor and director based in London,[9] apart from also being a musician.[10]


He is considered a folk icon in his home country and considered as one of the most popular singers in its history. The constant companion of Pakistani truck drivers is the lilting tunes of Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi. This Mianwali-born vocalist with his swashbuckler moustache, kameez shalwar and shawl on one shoulder became the poster boy for traditional Pakistani music.[8]

Singing in Saraiki, that dominates western and southern Punjab, his searing impassioned songs caught on like wildfire almost from the moment he recorded his first session for Radio Pakistan Bahawalpur in the mid 1970s. For years, Esakhelvi reigned supreme and unchallenged, in a universe that existed parallel to the cultured music salons of the elite.[11]

The Government of Pakistan awarded him the Pride of Performance Award in 1991. He was also awarded Sitara e Imtiaz on 23 March 2019.[12]

He has recorded more than 50,000 songs in seven languages.[8] He has received a lifetime achievement award from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and had his name entered in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1994 for the highest number of audio albums released.[13]


Year Album Artist Music director Label
1992 Bedardi Se Pyar Attaullah Khan T-Series]]


Attaullah has his own band which travels with him. Members of the band include:

The musicians in Attaullah's band have performed with him since the 1970s, in Pakistan, United States of America, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, India, Italy, Australia, Oman, New Zealand, Hong Kong and UAE.


  1. ^ "Atta Ullah Eesakhelvi and the Cassette Revolution". Pakistaniat. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 25 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Coke Studio Journey continues with Episode 3!". Ink Magazine. 22 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi - Biography, Career, Songs List, Legacy". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ Abdullah, Rana. "Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi – A Pakistani Legend life History". The News Track. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Pakistani folk singer Attaullah Khan performed during a Sufi concert at Purana Quila in Delhi - Times of India".
  6. ^ "I hope to work on projects in Pakistan, says Hollywood VFX artist Laraib Atta". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Pakistani visual effects prodigy making waves in Hollywood". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi on what makes him the common man's artist - The Express Tribune". 6 April 2016.
  9. ^ Spotlight (23 April 2018), "I feel the pressure every time I look at the keyboard or the harmonium: Sanwal Esakhelvi", HumTV. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  10. ^ Bilawal Atta's profile on Star Now
  11. ^ Rabe, Nate. "Between hair salons and Coke Studio, Pakistani singer Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi conquers all".
  12. ^ Pak Watan (4 April 2019), Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi Pakistani singer Awarded Sitara e Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 | Pak Watan, retrieved 4 April 2019
  13. ^ "Guinness world record holder Attaullah Esakhelvi turns 65".

Pride of Performance for Arts