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Renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri shot dead in Karachi

By Salis bin Perwaiz
June 23, 2016

Targeted by two motorcyclists; dies before reaching hospital; nation in shock; President, PM, others condemn Sabri’s murder; MQM announces three-day mourning

KARACHI: A pall of gloom descended over the country after gunmen shot dead acclaimed Qawwali singer Amjad Sabri in the Liaquatabad area on Wednesday afternoon.

The gruesome murder of 40-year-old Sabri occurred two days after the abduction of Owais Ali Shah, the son of Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, by masked men in Clifton, raising a question mark on the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi.

Sabri, son of the late Ghulam Fareed Sabri, himself a legendary Qawwal, a relative Saleem Sabri and a Ziauddin Hospital nurse Marium, 20, who was passing by, were injured when two men riding a motorcycle fired shots at the windscreen of his car in the Sharifabad police remit near Liaquatabad No 10. Sabri, a resident of Liaquatabad, was driving off the Liaquatabad bridge and was about to turn towards Hassan Square to go to a private TV channel when the attack happened.

After being called to the scene, police took the victims to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), where Sabri was Muqadas Haider of District Central while talking to The News. He said the terrorists were wearing masks and were in pants and shirts. They first attacked the vehicle from the left side and later randomly fired at the windscreen. Sabri suffered four bullet wounds, including two to his head.

The attackers used a 30-bore pistol in the offence and spent bullet shells were seized from the crime scene and sent to the forensic division for examination. SSP Haider said police were in the process of collecting CCTV footage, which, he said, could be helpful to carry out the investigations. After the shooting, police talked to some witnesses about at the attackers, who escaped towards Hassan Square and vanished.

The SSP said it was too early to confirm the involvement of any group behind the attack. He suspected that the attackers might have followed Sabri from home. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah took notice of the killing of Sabri and ordered suspension of the station house officer (SHO) and the Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Liaquatabad Division. He sought a report from the superintendent of police.

In a statement, Shah said that he smelt a conspiracy behind the recent incidents. He said that under a pre-planned conspiracy a law and order situation was being created in the city but “I will not allow this conspiracy to succeed and the conspirators and terrorists will be crushed with iron hands”.

The chief minister was attending the budget session in the Sindh Assembly when he was informed about the terrorist incident. He left the session immediately and went to his chamber from where he contacted DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar and IGP AD Khawaja and issued them directives to arrest the culprits.

Shah said that within three days another serious incident had taken place. On June 20, Advocate Owais Shah, son of the chief justice of the Sindh High Court, was kidnapped at gunpoint in broad daylight from outside a supermarket in Clifton. He announced a Rs10 million reward for information leading to the safe recovery of Owais Shah or the arrest of his kidnappers. 

“I am announcing a Rs10m reward for the person(s) who give information of the place where Owais Shah has been kept or give clues for his recovery or arrest of the culprits,” the chief minister said while talking to the IGP.

Commenting on the murder of Sabri, he said: “This is very serious and cannot be tolerated.” He directed the IGP to immediately suspend SHO Sharifabad Farooq Sanjrani and DSP Liaquatabad Aminr Rehman and to call explanation from the SSP Central.

Latter, IGP Khawaja called on the chief minister and briefed him on both the incidents. He told him that his team was working hard to work out the case of Sabri. He said some suspects had been arrested and CCTV footage was being collected.

The Chief Minister, in a message to the family of Amjad Sabri, expressed his profound grief and said he was a valuable asset to Pakistan. No singer or qawwal would be able to fill his vacuum, he said. Shah prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in the eternal peace and grant courage to the aggrieved family to bear this irreparable loss.

In a statement, the Rangers spokesman said that after Iftar, a meeting was held at the Rangers Headquarters under the chairmanship of DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar. The meeting was attended by Rangers commanders and other officers.

The meeting discussed in length the recently reported target killings and other terrorism incidents in the city and took some important decisions in this regard. It was decided that strict and comprehensive action would be taken against terrorist and militant wings to protect the life and property of the citizens.

  Agencies add: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced three days mourning over the murder of Amjad Sabri. In a statement, the MQM said that black flags would be hoisted on homes to mourn the death of Amjad Sabri.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PTI chairman Imran Khan, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Quaid-e-Millet-e-Jafriya Agha Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi and other leaders condemned the killing of Amjad Sabri and expressed sympathy with his family.

They prayed Almighty Allah to rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss with equanimity.