Pakistanis are mourning one of the country’s most famous singers, Amjad Sabri, who was shot dead in Karachi by militants on Wednesday. Sabri performed Qawwali devotional music from the Sufi tradition, an Islamic practice opposed by religious extremists.
He died after two gunmen fired on his car in the Liaqatabad area, an attack claimed by the Taliban.
Ahead of his funeral, mourners have gathered outside his home in Karachi. People from all walks of life, including known sportsmen, actors and singers, showed up to pay their final respects. There have also been demonstrations overnight in Lahore and Islamabad, condemning such violence. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the singer will be immensely missed.
Amjad Sabri continued a family tradition of performing Qawwali music. Sufism, a tolerant, mystical practice of Islam, has millions of followers in Pakistan but is opposed by extremists.
The Taliban, who view Sufism as heretical, have been blamed for previous assaults on targets linked to Sufi Islam.But there have been no such attacks in the past couple of years. A blasphemy case was filed against Sabri last year after he mentioned members of the Prophet Muhammad’s family in a song. It is not known if the shooting is related to that incident.