Karachi: Pakistani police have arrested two people accused of killing one of the country’s best-known Sufi musicians, a provincial minister has said.
Amjad Sabri, a renowned qawwal or Sufi singer was shot dead by two gunmen riding a motorcycle in Karachi in June, triggering an outpouring of grief over what police described as an “act of terror”.
Syed Murad Ali Shah, chief minister of southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, said on Monday that police had arrested two militants suspected of involvement in Sabri’s murder.
“For the first time we are officially announcing … with conclusive proof that these very people were involved in Amjad Sabri’s murder,” Shah told reporters.
He said the suspects belonged to the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militant group – a faction of which claimed to have worked with Islamic State to attack a police academy in south-western Pakistan last month, killing 61 people, the deadliest assault on a security installation in the country’s history.
The suspects were also responsible for 28 terror attacks against army personnel, policemen and Shia Muslims, he added.
Sabri was a fixture on national television and regularly performed on a morning show during Ramadan, winning many admirers for his devotional music, humble lifestyle and charitable work.
Some observers have said that Sabri may have been murdered because he was a high-profile Sufi, a mystic Islamic order that believes in living saints, worships through music, and is viewed as heretical by some hardline groups including the Taliban.
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.