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Gunmen kill Pakistani Sufi singer in Karachi

22 June 2016 18:34

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Gunmen have killed an acclaimed Pakistani Sufi singer in his vehicle in the country’s largest and most populous metropolitan city of Karachi.

Additional Inspector General Mushtaq Mehar said the gunmen on a motorcycle fired shots at the car transporting 45-year-old Amjad Sabri and a companion in Liaquatabad area of the city on Wednesday afternoon.

Sabri was hit by five bullets and was declared dead upon arrival at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. His companion, named as a relative, Saleem Sabri, is in critical condition at the medical facility.

Ghulam Ahmed, an eyewitness, said he saw two motorcycle riding men firing shots at one side of the car.

“Then they turned and fired four shots on the other side of the car,” he said.

“It was a targeted killing and an act of terrorism,” said Muqaddas Haider, a senior police officer.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack, and called for relevant authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sabri and his late father, Ghulam Farid Sabri, were well-known singers of qawwali, which is a popular style of music rooted in Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, across South Asia with roots dating back to the 13th century.

Takfiri extremists reject Sufi traditions, and hardline militant groups such as the Taliban have targeted the followers of the sect in the past.

On July 1, 2010, two bombers blew themselves up at the Sufi Data Durbar Complex in Lahore. At least 50 people died and 200 others were injured in the attack.

Chairman of Sindh Censor Board, Fakhre Alam, wrote on his Twitter page that Sabri had earlier submitted an application for security, but the home department did not take it into consideration.

Karachi is home to numerous ethnic groups and has been hit by clashes between rival ethnic and political factions in the past two and a half decades. Sectarian, political and ethnic violence in Karachi has claimed the lives of hundreds of people over that time.

On Tuesday, gunmen killed a member of the Ahmadi religious minority. The son of a provincial judge was also abducted in a separate attack.

No group or person has yet claimed responsibility for the acts of violence, but pro-Taliban militant groups have been blamed for such attacks in the past.

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