LAHORE - Amjad Sabri who was shot dead by unknown assassins yesterday was born on December 23, 1976, to a household known for qawwali. He was the son of Ghulam Fareed Sabri and nephew of Maqbool Sabri. Maqbool and Ghulam Fareed formed the duo of the Sabri brothers who became international icons.

Amjad Sabri presented the work of his father and uncle in a new style, which helped the younger generation connect to qawwali, something which had not happened earlier. ‘Tajdar-e-Haram’, ‘Mera Koyi Nahi Hey Teray Siwa’, ‘Bhar Do Jholi’, ‘Karam Mangta Hoon’, ‘Phir Dikha De Haram’, ‘Savere Savere’, ‘Balaghal Ula Be Kamale Hi’, ‘Ban Gayi Baat’ and ‘Jis Ne Madine Jana’ were some of the works of the renowned Sabri family, which were presented in a more different and unique way by Amjad Sabri.

His evergreen Qawali ‘Bhar Do Jholi’ was illegally adopted by Adnan Sami in the Salman Khan flick ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. The move was not liked by Amjad Sabri and he vowed to sue the filmmakers.

His killing yesterday left the whole country in a state of shock. Politicians from all parties came forward to strongly condemn the heinous act. Social media was flooded with intense condemnation of the murder and many questioned the state’s failure to protect its citizens. The music industry people not only in Pakistan but also from India expressed their sentiments on this sad incident.

The Nation talked to singers and artistes who knew him personally. Abida Perveen, the iconic sufi singer, said, “I am in a state of shock on hearing the news. A man who only recited ‘Kalam’ of Allah and the Prophet has been killed. What is happening in Pakistan? There was no one before him and no one can replace him ever. He belonged to a very big ‘gharana’ and always spreading the message of Allah and Prophet through his beautiful voice. His house had a different feel to it. Even the neighbours used to hear his riazat which spread peace in the area.”

Nadeem Salamat, Masood Salamat and Muhammad Ayub of Bakhshi Javed Salamat group condemned the attack and said, “We had a beautiful bond with Amjad Sabri. He has been killed for no reason. He was an innocent man. Allah had blessed him with good health and no one could imagine that he would die this way.”

Zulfikar Jabbar Khan, also known as Zulfi, said, “It’s a very sad day for us. We have lost an icon who was promoting peace and love through music. I don’t know what is happening and why it is happening in Pakistan. We should discard hatred and love should be the only message to be disseminated. I am very sad today.”

Sadaan Pirzada, co-founder of Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, expressed his strong resentment over Amjad Sabri’s death, “He was heading the legacy of the family and was at his prime time when he was killed. It’s very shocking for me. We can’t keep quiet about it. We have to be more vocal in condemning the act.”

Gohar Mumtaz, musician and actor, said it was not a moment of grief only for showbiz fraternity but also for the whole nation. “Amjad’s death is a huge loss for the subcontinent, sufi-music and for all the qawaals. I would request the government to take care of the Sabri family. May Allah rest his soul in peace and give strength to the bereaved family to bear the loss.”

Rock star Salman Ahmed said, “I was playing cricket two days ago with my friend and colleague Amjad Sabri. I am shocked that his voice has been silenced.”

Singer Hadiqa Kiyani said he was a pillar of Qawwals in Pakistan. He was a man of refined habits and always had a smile on his face. I met him a few times and last time I met him in Pakistan Idol where he helped me with my pronunciation for a Qawali. We have lost a legend today. All my prayers are for his family.”

Singer Ali Zafar said it was shocking and heart-breaking. “I don’t have words to express my grief. I hope his murderers will be brought to justice. I remember meeting him at the PSL match.”

Husnain Javed, a classical singer said, “What I can say is so sad, he was close to me. We performed together once, I was playing harmonium. No one is safe here; only corrupt people are safe. Artist is always an ambassador of the country, but it is unfortunate that artists in Pakistan are not safe.”

Singer and actor Junaid Khan termed it an irreparable loss and a dark day in Pakistan’s history. “These ‘terrorists’ should be killed now regardless of any party backup. The government should do every possible thing to support his wife and kids.”

Singer-turned actor Farhan Saeed said it was a heartbreaking incident. “Pakistan has no law and order. Today we have lost a man who was very jolly, having a smiling face. We should openly protest against this madness until it stops. It’s a very sad day for us.”

Tasneem and Imran Peerzada said, “A voice of peace has been silenced. Today we have lost a legacy carrying his family’s name forward. It’s beyond our comprehension why he was killed. He was a noble man with an enchanting voice and surely will be missed in all times to come.”

Actor Ahsan Khan said, “It’s one of the saddest incidents for me; they have killed a wonderful human being. I met him often. He was the sweetest person. He was very young. The nation should get together and fight back. It’s not about religion or sect; rather it’s about creating anarchy in the state. He was known not only in Pakistan but also in the subcontinent.”

The media is buzzing with this news, and the sad part is that just this morning in a Sehri transmission he recited his last naat which heard the entire audience and staff with tears in their eyes.