The internet sensation One Pound Fish returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistan on Thursday, vowing to take his signature tune to France and the United States.
Hundreds showed up at Lahore airport to honour Muhammad Shahid Nazir, who scaled the British music charts with One Pound Fish, which he originally composed to entice shoppers at the East London market where he worked.
The song became a YouTube hit after someone filmed Nazir singing it at the market and Warner Music signed him up for a record deal in the hope of getting the coveted Christmas number one spot in the charts.
Nazir said he spent no time writing the song - it came to him in a flash after his boss urged him to do something to encourage customers to cough up a pound for a fish.
"This song is gift of God to me," the father of four told reporters at the airport.
Around 250 people, including local politicians, met him at the airport, showering him with rose petals and chanting "Long live One Pound Fish", while TV networks interrupted coverage of the fifth anniversary of the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination to show his return live.
Nazir, from the small Punjab town of Pattoki, said he was confident of a bright future in the music industry.
"I will go to France in two weeks to release this song and then will go back to London," he said, adding that he also planned to release the track in the US.
And he promised not to abandon the unlikely source of his stardom. "I will adopt music as a profession now, but I can never forget my fish stall," he said. - AFP