Revered Sufi singer assassinated in Pakistan

Thousands of people attended the funeral of slain qawwali singer Amjad Sabri in Karachi on June 23, the day after he was shot dead in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction. The 40-year-old Sabri, son of qawwali master Ghulam Farid Sabri, was heading to a TV station for a special Ramadan performance when two gunmen fired on his car. Qawwali is the traditional devotional music of Pakistan's Sufis, who are considered heretical by the Taliban. The Sabri family are members of the Chishti Sufi order. While the musical family has been revered since the Mughal empire, their tradition has come under growing attack in the increasingly conservative atmosphere of Pakistan. A blasphemy case was filed against Sabri last year after he mentioned members of the Prophet Muhammad's family in a song. The assassination was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban. There have been no arrests.

Journalist Amir Mateen tweeted his dismay at a familiar "pattern" of events: "Politicians cry; public huffs & puffs; then back to normal until next tragedy. Shame."  In 2010, the shrine for the Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi was targeted in a terror attack in Karachi; that same year, a major Sufi shrine in Lahore was targeted in a bombing that left 42 dead. Gunmen attacked a Sufi gathering in Karachi in 2014. Sufi shrines and mosques have been repeatedly targeted in the country's northwest. (BBC News, FirstPost, India, Dawn, Pakistan, Al Jazeera, June 23; BBC News, CNN, NYT, June 22)