Famed Qawwal Amjad Sabri gunned down in Karachi

Amjad Sabri

KARACHI: Renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri was gunned down on Wednesday by unknown assailants in Karachi, police and hospital officials said.

Officials said two gunmen shot at the windscreen of Sabri’s car as it drove off a bridge in the congested Liaquatabad area, and a relative travelling with him was also injured.

Sabri was travelling with an associate when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on the white Honda Civic car.

“Two attackers riding a motorcycle intercepted his car and targeted Amjad Sabri, who was driving,” said Sindh police chief Allah Dino Khawaja.

According to police officials, Sabri was shot multiple times and succumbed to his wounds on his way to a local hospital.

“Amjad Sabri expired on the way to the hospital,” police surgeon Rohina Hasan said.

“Sabri suffered several bullet wounds. Five bullet shells have been recovered from the crime scene,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central Muqaddas Haider.

His associate, Saleem Sabri, was severely injured and also rushed to the hospital for medical treatment. Saleem Sabri’s relation to Amjad Sabri could not be confirmed.

According to reports, Sabri was heading for the studio of a private television channel along with Saleem Sabri to take part in an Iftar transmission when he was attacked.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Home Minister Suhail Anwar Siyal confirmed that the renowned Qawwal has been killed.

Amjad Sabri, 45, was one of South Asia’s most popular singers of the ‘qawwali’, Sufi devotional music that dates back more than 700 years.

Amjad Sabri was the son of renowned qawwal of the 1960’s, Ghulam Farid Sabri, and 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). Some of their most memorable and famous qawwalis include Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Tajdar-i-Haram and Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa.

Violence is common in Karachi despite a sharp decline in murders since the Pakistani Army launched a crackdown two years ago against suspected militants and violent criminals.

But a recent rise in targeted killings has once again raised questions marks on the effectiveness of the operation.

Sabri’s killing comes days after a lawyer, the son of Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was abducted outside a city supermarket in Karachi.

The motive for the kidnapping was not immediately clear, authorities said.

In May, gunmen shot dead prominent Pakistani rights activist Khurram Zaki, known for his outspoken stance against the Taliban, in the central part of the city.

In April last year, prominent activist Sabeen Mahmud was shot and killed while travelling in her car.

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