One of Pakistan's best known Sufi musicians, Amjad Sabri, has been shot dead in the southern port city of Karachi, triggering an outpouring of grief over what police have described an "act of terror".
AhlulBayt News Agency - One of Pakistan's best known Sufi musicians, Amjad Sabri, has been shot dead in the southern port city of Karachi, triggering an outpouring of grief over what police have described an "act of terror".
Sabri was shot several times on Wednesday while driving in his car in the city's Liaqatabad area, when a motorcycle pulled up alongside the vehicle and the attackers opened fire, Pakistan's English language newspaper Dawn reported.
The 45-year-old singer is survived by wife and five children.
Sabri's brother, who was also in the vehicle, was wounded.
"Two riders used 30-bore pistols to shoot Sabri five times. The bullet to the head took the qawwal's life. The attackers took the Hassan Square route to escape," said Inspector General Mushtaq Mehar.
"It was a targeted killing and an act of terrorism," Muqaddas Haider, a senior police officer told AFP news agency, without naming possible suspects.
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister, condemned the singer's killing and ordered an investigation.
His killing was met with shock and condemnation. Neighbours congregated outside the singer's home to offer condolences to his relatives, while TV channels broadcast recordings of his music in tribute.
A splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing, saying Sabri's qawwalis were blasphemous.
Amjad Sabri was punished for being the country’s finest qawwal, known for his soul-stirring renditions of mystic poetry (praising Prophet Muhammad & Ahlul Bayt). He was killed for being someone who enthralled music aficionados with his brand of spirituality, mysticism and ecstasy for years.
Takfiri extremist elements have no stomach for the praise of Prophet Muhammad & Ahlul Bayt (PBUT). The same people join hands in 'Difa-e-Pakistan Council' patronized by the 'Establishment' who banned them earlier.
Militants mere existence after being banned, proclaims the mind-set that prevails in the Military and Civil institutions, as without their patronage no organization can exist.
'National Action Plan' became a joke when banned outfits came together under 'Difa-e-Pakistan Council'.
When connecting the dots, it can easily be established that State Patronized Militants killed Amjad Sabri for Praising Prophet Muhammad and Ahlul Bayt.
Fakhre Alam, the Chairman of the Sindh Board of Film Censors, claimed on Twitter that Sabri had earlier submitted an application for security, but the home department refused to follow up on it.
Amjad Sabri had submitted an application for protection as per his family but Home department did NOTHING...Shameful & disgusting
— Fakhr-e-Alam (@falamb3) June 22, 2016
Asghari Begum, Amjad Sabri's mother said that about six months ago three unknown assailants came to their residence and had burst open the front door. Amjad was not present, and they had left.
Sabri and his late father, Ghulam Farid Sabri, were well-known qawwali singers - a style of music rooted in Sufism, or Islamic mysticism - that is popular across South Asia with roots tracing back to the 13th century.
Sufi mosques and shrines have come under attack in recent years, including the 2010 bombing of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore that killed more than 40 people.
The Sabri legacy
Amjad Sabri was the nephew of qawwali icon Maqbool Sabri who passed away in 2011.
Maqbool Sabri along with his brother, the late Ghulam Farid Sabri, formed a formidable qawwali group in the mid-50s and became known for their soul-stirring renditions of arifana kalam (mystic poetry).
Maqbool’s nephew Amjad Sabri — who was tragically shot dead today in Karachi — was keeping the family tradition alive and was one of the most sought-after qawwals of the country.
Almost whatever the Sabri brothers sang became an instant hit. But some of their most memorable and famous qawwalis were Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Tajdar-i-Haram and Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa.
They were equally well-versed in compositions made in the Persian language and sang Nami Danam Che Manzil Bood with equal ease and facility. The brothers’ rendition of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s kalam was one of their marked areas of excellence.