The murder of qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri has sent shockwaves all through the country. Much loved for his devotional music, Sabri was on his way to a private TV channel in Karachi to perform in a Ramazan transmission when two masked men pumped several bullets into him, but spared the life of his friend sitting beside him on the passenger seat.
His family said he had no enemies. According to the police, it was an incident of targeted killing, the exact motive for which remains to be established. A splinter group of the TTP, however, claimed responsibility saying he was a ‘blasphemer’.
It may be recalled that a blasphemy case was registered in 2014 against a private TV channel for airing a programme in which Sabri had rendered a qawwali. The case though was not about something he sang, but against the show host and the person who gave an objectionable dramatic rendering on it.
It makes little sense therefore for anyone to single him out on grounds of alleged blasphemy. In any case, it is a matter of grave concern that people can feel free to kill and justify it too in the name of a religion of peace.
Who could have done it is the question on every mind. It happened just as Karachi seemed to have gotten rid of the bane of targeted killings rampant in the city until recently. And not without significance, only two days earlier, a son of the Sindh High Court Chief Justice was kidnapped.
Considering the high profile nature of both cases, it is obvious that whosoever is behind them wants to create an atmosphere of fear and despondency to destabilise Karachi – the nation’s commercial hub and its largest city.
Unfortunately, however, the MQM did not help the case when it tried to cast aspersions on its breakaway faction, Paksar Zameen Party, claiming Sabri had mentioned threats to his life for his refusal to perform at an event organised by Paksar Zameen.
Although, the party has denied it had scheduled any event, even otherwise the allegation does not hold much water. Sabri, a true artiste with no known quarrel with any political party, used to perform at all sorts of places.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also barked up the wrong tree when he ordered the provincial police chief to suspend the SHO and DSP of the area where Sabri was murdered. As he himself said, the incident is part of “an organised conspiracy to destabilise situation in the city”.
The CM needs to look at the bigger picture and do all that is necessary to defeat terrorists. And the federal government too has to fulfil its part of responsibilities.
It is not enough for the Interior Minister to seek a report from the concerned agencies and the Prime Minister to issue a statement directing them to nab the perpetrators. Those assigned the task surely must be working on it.
It is a moment for the federal government to answer for its own failure to fully implement the political consensus based National Action Plan. Mere expressions of concern will not do, determined action will.