10 Mar 2014

One Pound Fish singer in Pakistan loan charge

A banking court in Pakistan formally indicts One Pound Fish singer Muhammad Shahid Nazir for defaulting on a loan.

A private leasing company has accused Nazir and his brothers of failing to repay a 6.6m rupee (£39,272) loan on time and says a cheque for the amount owed also bounced, which is a crime in Pakistan.

He is currently on bail and has been summoned to appear in court in the Pakistani capital of Lahore on 9 April.

Nazir briefly became famous in Britain after his song One Pound Fish – which he sang as an east London market trader to attract customers to his stall – went viral on YouTube with 8 million hits.

He was signed by Warner Music in November 2012 and released the One Pound Fish as a single the following month. He was even touted as a possible outsider to steal the Christmas number one from under the nose of that year’s X-Factor winner James Arthur.

In the end the single reached number 29 in the official UK singles chart and number four in the UK dance chart in December of that year.

Showered with petals

However, within weeks of his chart success Nazir was deported from Britain after his student visa expired.

On his return to Pakistan, hundreds of people showed up at Lahore airport to shower him with rose petals. He then went onto adapt the song to promote phone services in TV and radio adverts.

In April he annouced he was writing election songs for the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif – the main opposition party in the country – ahead of the 11 May general election, although there appears to be little trace of it today.

Earlier today Nazir told the court that he had fulfilled the conditions of the loan set out by the leasing company and was willing to pay the money back.

The leasing company filed the suit against Rajpoot Goods Transport, jointly owned by Nazir and his two brothers.

It submitted that the transport company obtained a loan in 2007 but failed to pay back money owed.

It said a case was also registered in 2008 against the transport company’s owners after they failed to deposit initial instalments of the loan.

Nazir was arrested by police last year and later released after giving an undertaking to repay the loan but again defaulted.

The court had earlier issued an arrest warrant for Nazir after his failed to appear in court.

The warrant was later withdrawn following his assurance to observe court orders.