KARACHI: Qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri was killed in a gun attack in Karachi on Wednesday. Sabri, who made qawwali popular, especially among the youth, came under an attack in Karachi’s Liaquatabad area when he was going to take part in Ramazan transmission of a private television along with another member of his music group. According to the police sources, Sabri, 45, was killed in a targeted attack. He was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. Sabri was shot multiple times. “It was a targeted killing and an act of terrorism. He suffered several bullet wounds. Five cartridges have been found at the crime scene,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (Central) Muqaddas Haider. His associate Saleem Sabri was severely injured and rushed to the hospital for medical treatment. Saleem was in a critical condition, a hospital source said. Saleem’s relation to Amjad Sabri could not be confirmed. Grisly mobile phone footage of the scene of the crime shot by an onlooker showed the singer’s head slumped on his right shoulder and a pool of blood on the ground by the driver’s side where he sat. Both front side windows were shattered and three bullet holes could be seen on the front screen. Ghulam Ahmed, an eye witness, told a news channel that he saw two motorcycle riding men fire shots at one side of the car. “Then they turned and fired four shots on the other side of the car.” Fakhre Alam, chairman of the Sindh Censor Board, claimed in a tweet that Sabri had earlier submitted an application for security, but the Sindh Home Department did not act on it. He tweeted: “Amjad Sabri had submitted an application for protection as per his family, but Home Department did NOTHING…Shameful & disgusting.” However, an official source said the Home Department had received no such request. The SSP Central also stated he was not aware of any such request. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah took notice of the incident and ordered the inspector general of the Sindh Police to submit a report on Sabri’s assassination. He suspended the Liaquatabad DSP as well as the SHO after the incident. Sindh Home Minister Suhail Anwar Siyal confirmed to the media that Sabri had been killed in an attack and ordered an investigation into the incident. Amjad Sabri was the son of renowned qawwal Ghulam Farid Sabri and nephew of qawwali icon Maqbool Sabri, who passed away in 2011. Maqbool Sabri and Ghulam Farid Sabri formed a formidable qawwali group in the mid-50s and became known for their soulful renditions of mystic poetry. Almost whatever the Sabri brothers sang became an instant hit. But some of their most memorable and famous qawwalis were Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Tajdar-i-Haram and Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa. They were equally well-versed in compositions made in the Persian language and sang Nami Danam Che Manzil Bood with equal ease and facility. The brothers’ rendition of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s kalam was one of their marked areas of excellence. Amjad Sabri was to born to the Sabri family on December 23, 1976, in Karachi. His funeral prayers will be offered at Furqania Masjid in Liaquatabad after Zuhr prayers on Thursday (today). He will be buried at the Paposhnagar Graveyard in Nazimabad. The national political leadership, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, vehemently condemned Sabri’s killing. Reacting to Sabri’s killing, Media Times CEO Shehryar Taseer said in his twitter message: “Great men always leave their mark on history. #AmjadSabri saab, thank you for the music. RIP.” Sabri was a ‘Qawwal’, or singer of ‘Qawwali’, which is a traditional form of Islamic devotional music that is popular across South Asia with roots tracing back to the 13th century. The music is closely associated with Sufism, a mystical sect of Islam that is viewed as heretical by hardline groups such as the Taliban. The Taliban and other Islamist groups have carried out major attacks on Sufi mosques and shrines in recent years, including the 2010 bombing of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore that killed more than 40 people. Sabri was a fixture on national television and regularly performed on a morning show during the ongoing holy month of Ramazan. 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 about the wedding of the daughter of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Sabri’s killing was met with shock and condemnation. Neighbours congregated outside the singer’s home to offer their condolences to his relatives, while TV channels broadcast recordings of his music in tribute. “Totally shocked to hear the news of @AmjadSabri. May Allah bless him with Jannah (heaven) for he praised Him & His Prophet beautifully all his life,” tweeted Ayaz Sadiq, the speaker of the National Assembly. “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 for the killing was not immediately clear, Arieb Azhar, another popular Sufi singer, said Sabri might have been targeted because of his religious 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 God, life and 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.