The United States expressed sorrow over the killing of renowned Qawwali singer Amjad Sabri in Karachi.
“I would say we express our sympathies with the people of Pakistan as they mourn the senseless murder of a Qawwali singer, Amjad Sabri,” State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters during a daily press briefing in Washington.
He said: “Such acts violate the fundamental freedoms of expression and religion and belief. The arts have long been a forum for new ideas for fighting against intolerance. And again, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the people of Pakistan.”
Thousands of Pakistanis on Thursday thronged the streets of Karachi to attend the funeral of one of the country’s best-known Sufi musicians.
The funeral prayers for Amjad Sabri, which were held on the city’s major Ibn-e-Sina thoroughfare, brought together large numbers of people including men and women, with many praising his devotional music, humble lifestyle and charitable work.
He was shot dead by two gunmen riding a motorcycle on Wednesday as he drove his car to a TV studio where he was due to perform for a Ramzan show. Another male relative, Saleem Sabri, was critically injured in the attack.
Senior police official Muqaddas Haider called the killing an “act of terror” without naming possible suspects.
Dozens of police and paramilitary Rangers on Thursday guarded the funeral procession winding its way down the road, as a sea of mourners, some wearing black armbands, others in coloured turbans that signified their sects, surrounded the ambulance carrying Sabri’s body.
Many crowded to touch the ambulance, a gesture of reverence for the deceased.
Shops and businesses in the Liaquatabad and Nazimabad areas shut down for the day.