According to Radio Pakistan, his real name was Muhammad Aurangzeb but he adopted Qateel Shifai as his pen name.
"Qateel" was his "takhallus" and "Shifai" was in honour of his ustaad Hakim Mohammed `Shifa' whom he considered his mentor. His first ghazal was published in the Lahore weekly `Star', edited by Qamar Jalalabadi.
In 1946, he was called to Lahore by Nazir Ahmed to work as the assistant editor of the monthly `Adab-e-Latif', a literary magazine published since 1936.
He won numerous awards as a lyricist. Many of his poem collections were published, one amongst them being "Mutriba" which got him the highest literature award in Pakistan.
Over 2,500 songs for Pakistani and Indian films were published. His poetry was also translated into various languages including Hindi, Gujarati, English, Russian and Chinese.
Qateel Shifai received the `Pride of Performance Award' in 1994 for his contribution to literature by the Government of Pakistan in recognition of his literary work.
He died on July 11, 2001 in Lahore.