In an act of senseless ‘target killing’ one of Pakistan’s most beloved cultural icons was shot dead in Karachi early this morning. Amjad Sabri was driving through one of the city’s most densely populated areas when two armed gunmen on a motorcycle intercepted his vehicle and shot him. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. A descendent of the Sabri tradition of qawali singing, Amjad Sabri, was responsible for making the esoteric South Asian Sufi singing tradition more mainstream and popular with the masses. He had filed for protection fearing for his life, a request that was denied by the home department, as per some news reports. His last media outing was the morning of his death when he appeared and recited a kalaam at the Sehri transmission of a local Pakistani channel. The news of his death has shocked the nation and the Pakistani diaspora alike. Gun violence, muggings and unrest are rife in Pakistan’s largest metropolis, however the city is also the centre for most of the country’s entertainment and mass media productivity. Qawali, is a singing tradition unique to the South Asian culture where a group of singers recite Sufi kalaam (Mystic poetry) set to music and claps. It is an energetic and soul-stirring performance that seeks to connect the listeners with the divine. Some of the most popular qawali sung by the Sabri’s include Bhar Do Jholi, Tajdar e Haram and Mera Koi Nahi Hae Tere Siva.  

About The Author