Farid Sabri. Fatiha.
Sabri was a beloved Qawwal or Sufi singer known throughout Pakistan, India, and
Bangladesh, as well as the South Asian Muslim diaspora.
motorcyclists murdered him in his car with a companion in Karachi on 22 June.
Amjad Sabri was driving to a television studio for a celebration of Iftar, the
end of the daily Ramadan fast, when the attack occurred.
targeted men died.
leaves a wife and five children.
He was the
son of the most famous Qawwal, Ghulam Farid Sabri who, with his brother Maqbool
Sabri, revived the sacred Qawwali genre, performing at Britain's WOMAD Festival
and New York's Carnegie Hall in the 1970s.
an intensely spiritual and loving form of devotion to Allah and the prophets,
in verse with musical accompaniment.
It is a
centuries-old form of devotion based on the meditative and metaphysical Sufi
tradition within Islam.
Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Taliban took responsibility for the crime.
fundamentalist terror group denounced Amjad Sabri as a 'blasphemer', supposedly
because the singer praised Muhammad, which the Taliban and other adherents of
the Deobandi sect label idol-worship.
cited in a blasphemy case involving Geo TV in Islamabad's High Court in 2014.
assailants in last week's assassination escaped but the murders seem of a piece
with a wave of extremist – and some claim Wahhabi – inspired aggression against
Sufi shrines in south Asia culminating in the 2010 bombing of the Data Durbar
shrine in Lahore when 45 worshippers died.
Durbar monument includes the tomb of the eleventh-century Sufi mystic Abul
Hassan Ali Hajveri, known as Data Ganj Baksh, or 'the giver of spiritual
of Pakistani Muslims turned out for the funeral of Amjad Sabri after gathering
at his home to console his survivors.
Anwar Siyal, home minister of Sindh province in southeast Pakistan, which
includes Karachi, offered a reward of 5 million Indian rupees (£55,000 or
USD75,000) for information leading to the arrest of the killers.
Saturday (25 June), Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah doubled the provincial
budget outlay in the case, providing 10 million rupees to the family of Amjad
Sabri for support of his widow and education of his children.
day, the Pakistan Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) leaked to the media the
apparent arrest of five suspects in the case.
detained individual, whom they did not name, is reported to be a member of the
Muttahida Qaumi Movement [MQM].
originates among Muslim refugees from India and has dominated politics in
Sabri's death, the MQM had condemned the murder and ordered a three-day
mourning period for the singer.
Sunday, Aoun Sahi, writing in the Los Angeles Times, quoted Ali Raj, a friend
of the dead singer, who declared, '"In a society like ours where sectarian
lines and groupings are so clearly defined, Amjad Sabri lived life on his own
terms. He was a devoted Sufi singer, passionate about where he was coming from
and what he believed in."'