Death of a soft Image of Pakistan


By Raza Ruman

( Death of iconic sufi singer Amjad Sabri is a death of Pakistan’s soft image.The whole nation cried his death as it did in Peshawar APS and Lahore Gulshan-e-Iqbal attacks.

It is being said the stirring baritone of Amjad Sabri, one of this country’s most renowned qawwals and an iconic cultural symbol, has been stilled forever. With him died a glorious intergenerational heritage of devotional music that embodied the benign inclusivity of Sufism.

And the manner of his death on Wednesday afternoon struck another grievous blow at the already fragile sense of security in Karachi.

Attacked in his car by two gunmen on a motorbike as he drove with a friend in one of the most crowded areas of the metropolis, Amjad Sabri was killed instantly in the hail of bullets aimed at him.

Although a splinter group of the banned TTP has claimed responsibility, police are still trying to establish the perpetrators’ identity and their motive.

Dawn writes that over the past year in particular, law-enforcement agencies have claimed comprehensive success in tackling serious crime in Pakistan’s largest city since the operation to restore law and order in Karachi began in late 2013.

There is, no doubt, a considerable degree of truth to this: statistics show that terrorism is down by 80pc and targeted killings by around 50pc in the metropolis. However, any sense of complacency on this score has been shattered by the events of the last few days.

On Tuesday, just 48 hours before Amjad Sabri’s murder, the Sindh High Court chief justice’s son Awais Ali Shah was kidnapped in broad daylight in an upscale, high-security Karachi locality.

Last week, an Ahmadi doctor was shot dead in his clinic, the second member of the community to have been killed within a month. It is pertinent, however, to point out that even when the threat of terrorism, targeted killings and extortion seemed to have somewhat receded in Karachi, the runaway levels of street crime in the city mean that a perpetual sense of insecurity prevails among its residents.

According to official data, street crime, especially mobile theft and motorcycle snatching, increased sharply in the first 10 days of Ramazan and claimed four lives.

Even though the TTP’s claim — whose veracity is difficult to establish — did include the allegation of ‘blasphemy’, it is worth asking where the law and order operation in Karachi is going wrong.

Successfully tackling militancy involves across-the-board, even-handed action against criminals of all shades.

Have the law-enforcement authorities taken their eye off the ball by focusing too selectively on a certain category of criminals? Such an approach could well have emboldened other outlaw elements in the city — specifically religious extremist groups, or sleeper cells of such groups — who are once again exploiting the space they have found to carry out their agenda.

Nevertheless, the spirit of this complex, tumultuous city endures – and it showed its resilience in the thousands who turned out to say farewell to the maestro of qawwali, yet another bright light snuffed out in the killing fields of Karachi.

The nation asks the government not to spare Sabri’s killers and take of his children too. Pak Destiny

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