Renowned ‘qawwal’ shot dead in Karachi

Amjad Sabri ... victim
Updated 23 June 2016
0

Renowned ‘qawwal’ shot dead in Karachi

KARACHI: One of Pakistan’s best known Sufi musicians was shot dead by unknown assailants on a motorcycle in Karachi on Wednesday, triggering an outpouring of grief over what police described as an “act of terror.”

Amjad Sabri, aged around 45, was traveling by car with a companion in the city’s Liaqatabad area, when a motorcycle pulled up alongside the vehicle and the attackers opened fire, Farooq Sanjarani, a police officer told AFP.
Sabri was hit by five bullets and was declared dead at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital while his companion, named as a relative, Saleem Sabri, was in critical condition, a hospital source added.
“It was a targeted killing and an act of terrorism,” Muqaddas Haider, another senior police officer said, without naming possible suspects.
Sabri was a ‘Qawwal’, or singer of ‘Qawwali’, that is popular across South Asia with roots tracing back to the 13th century. The music is closely associated with Sufism.
The Taliban and other militant groups have carried out major attacks on Sufi sites and shrines in recent years, including the 2010 bombing in Lahore that killed more than 40 people.
Sabri, the son of another legendary Qawwali singer, Ghulam Farid Sabri who died in 1994, was a fixture on national television and regularly performed on a morning show during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan.
In May 2014 he was asked by a court to respond to blasphemy charges following the airing of a controversial song-and-dance routine that was set to a Qawwali piece. His killing was met with shock and condemnation by many.
“Totally shocked to hear the news of @AmjadSabri. May Allah bless him with heaven,” tweeted Ayaz Sadiq, the speaker of Pakistan’s Parliament.
“Shocked and saddened by news of the killing of Amjad Sabri, not just a crime but an attack on our culture and heritage,” added Mustafa Qadri, a human rights researcher at Amnesty International.
While the motive behind the killing was not immediately clear, Arieb Azhar, another popular Sufi singer, told AFP he believed Sabri may have been targeted because of his views.
“Our own dear Amjad Sabri, son of Ghulam Farid Sabri and nephew of Maqbool Sabri, the renowned Sabri brothers, was a true lover of all that’s good,” he said.
“His mission of love has tragically been cut short by those who spread hate in the world, and is a great loss for all the divided people of our country,” he added.
Karachi, a city of 20 million and Pakistan’s economic hub, is frequently hit by religious, political and ethnic violence.
Paramilitary forces began a sweeping crackdown on militants in the city in 2013, which has led to a substantial drop in overall levels of violence.


Official count shows Widodo reelected as Indonesian leader

Updated 36 min 44 sec ago
0

Official count shows Widodo reelected as Indonesian leader

  • Widodo’s challenger for a second time, former general Prabowo Subianto, has refused to accept defeat and declared himself the winner last month
  • Police this month have arrested 31 Islamic militants they say planned to set off bombs during expected street protests against the election result
JAKARTA, Indonesia: The official count from last month’s Indonesian presidential election shows President Joko Widodo won 55.5% of the vote, the Election Commission said Tuesday, securing him a second term.
The formal result from the April 17 election was almost the same as the preliminary “quick count” results drawn from a sample of polling stations on election day.
Widodo’s challenger for a second time, former general Prabowo Subianto, has refused to accept defeat and declared himself the winner last month.
Thousands of police and soldiers are on high alert in the capital Jakarta, anticipating protests from Subianto’s supporters.
Subianto has alleged massive election fraud in the world’s third-largest democracy but hasn’t provided any credible evidence. Votes are counted publicly and the commission posts the tabulation form from each polling station on its website, allowing for independent verification.
Counting was completed just before midnight and the Election Commission announced the results early Tuesday before official witnesses from both campaigns.
“We reject the results of the presidential election,” said Azis Subekti, one of the witnesses for Subianto. “This refusal is a moral responsibility for us to not give up the fight against injustice, fraud, arbitrariness, lies, and any actions that will harm democracy.”
Under Indonesia’s election law, Subianto can dispute the results at the Constitutional Court.
He and members of his campaign team have said they will mobilize “people power” for days of street protests rather than appeal to the court because they don’t believe it will provide justice.
In a video released after results were announced, Subianto again refused to concede defeat but called on supporters to refrain from violence.
Police this month have arrested 31 Islamic militants they say planned to set off bombs during expected street protests against the election result.