Amjad Sabri’s name is synonymous to ‘Qawwali’ in Pakistan. Whenever one would think of attending a qawwali, it automatically meant ‘Sabri night.’ These nights had a culture of their own. In my life, it meant making a grand plan with my friends, wearing white shalwar kameez (I don’t know why but shalwar kameez, specially white, became a thing) car-pooling with someone on the way back home as it would get late, reaching the venue early to get good seats, screaming along whenever Sabri sang ‘Bhar do jholi‘!
It brings tears to my eyes that those nights are a thing of the past now. What makes it even more sad is that his death is unfair and untimely. Therefore the sadness of losing him has become even greater in magnitude.
There is not a single person who can say anything bad about him. Sabri was a really kind soul and just exuded positivity. He had the most infectious smile, that would come across his face while performing, when the audience would go crazy shouting and singing along with him. It made him happy to make us happy. I can’t imagine who would do this to him, to his family, to us.
In times of pain, Pakistanis like to make themselves feel better by saying things like “XYZ might not be with us anymore but their spirit will never die!” or “We are so resilient. We will not give up!” or “The killers might have killed XYZ but they will never kill our unity/love/positivity” but these sentences seem so empty now. Like an overplayed chorus of a song that nobody listens to anymore. What does it mean at the end of the day, that we know we will lose more stars, more legends in this dreadful manner, and we can’t do one thing to change it. The politicians will use this opportunity to push their own agendas, the media is going to worry about who runs the news first or gets more ratings/clicks/retweets.
I dream for a day where people can stop using other people’s tragedy for their own personal gain. I dream for a day where art and culture isn’t silenced like this. I dream for a day where there is more love and tolerance. I dream for a day where everyone could be a little bit like Amjad Sabri, the kind, peaceful soul who brought only happiness and love into everyone’s lives.
People all across Pakistan are crying for this loss. Rest in peace Amjad Sabri; no one will ever be able to take your place.
No words. This is extremely sad, disturbing and unacceptable specially since he had submitted an application for his protection! #AmjadSabri
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) June 22, 2016
Just heard that legendary Qawal Amjad Sabri has passed away in target killing. Just can't believe it.
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) June 22, 2016
Amjad Sabri singing Bhar Do Jholi. Murdered today by those who think the world is better without this great voice. https://t.co/TsrMNBKZiY
— Kamila Shamsie (@kamilashamsie) June 22, 2016
— Ali Gul Pir (@Aligulpir) June 22, 2016