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Popular Pakistani Sufi singer shot dead in ‘act of terror’: Police

Gorkha Post

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One of Pakistan’s popular Sufi musician has been shot dead by unknown assailants riding a motorcycle in Karachi, triggering an outpouring of grief over what police described as an “act of terror”.

Amjad Sabri, 45, was travelling by car from his home in the city’s eastern Korangi area to a television studio, when a motorcycle pulled up alongside the vehicle and the attackers opened fire, Farooq Sanjarani, a police officer said.

Sabri was hit by five bullets and was declared dead at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital while a companion, named as a relative, Saleem Sabri, was in critical condition, a hospital source added.

“It was a targeted killing and an act of terrorism,” Muqaddas Haider, a senior police officer said, without naming possible suspects.

Grisly mobile phone footage of the scene of the crime shot by an onlooker showed the singer’s head slumped on his right shoulder and a pool of blood on the ground by the driver’s side where he sat.

Sabri was a “Qawwal”, or singer of Qawwali, which is a traditional form of Islamic devotional music that is popular across South Asia with roots tracing back to the 13th century.

The music is closely associated with Sufism, a mystical sect of Islam that is viewed as heretical by hardline groups such as the Taliban.

The Taliban and other Islamist groups have carried out major attacks on Sufi mosques and shrines in recent years, including the 2010 bombing of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore that killed more than 40 people.

Bullet holes in the windscreen of a car driven by Amjad Sabri.

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AFP

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South Korea to announce joint military drill plan with US before April

Thompson Reuters

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SEOUL — South Korea and the United States will announce plans before April for a postponed joint military drill, South Korea’s defense minister said on Tuesday.

Seoul and Washington had agreed to postpone the regular joint military exercise until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics being hosted in South Korea, which end on March 18.

After the decision to delay the joint exercise, North Korea agreed to hold the first official talks with South Korea in more than two years and send athletes to the Winter Games, easing a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Asked when the two countries will hold the postponed drill, Song Young-moo told parliament he and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, would make an announcement between March 18 and the start of April.

“The exercise was postponed according to the spirit of the Olympics,” Song said. “We have agreed to uphold the basis until after the Paralympics…and not to confirm nor deny anything regarding what we would do after that until we announce it”.

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Song added inter-Korean talks had not come about as a direct result of the postponed drill.

But North Korea has warned it would not sit idle if the United States and South Korea push ahead with the postponed military exercises.

North Korea denounces the drills as preparations to invade it, and it has at times conducted missile tests or taken other aggressive action in response.

The South Korean and US militaries usually hold military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle in March and April, which can involve as many as 17,000 US troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said talks to stage the postponed military drill were moving forward.

“I am aware negotiations are moving towards a direction where the drills will be held,” Cho said in a separate parliamentary session on Tuesday, without elaborating.

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