One of Pakistan's most prominent Sufi singers, Amjad Sabri, was gunned down yesterday in his car in Karachi. Two men on a motorcycle approached his car while he was en-route to a television studio and sprayed it with bullets. Sabri died on the way to hospital.
A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing Sabri of being a blasphemer.
Sabri, 45, was a singer of qawwali songs, traditional Sufi music. According to the New York Times, in 2014 Sabri was accused of blasphemy after singing a song referring to the founder of Islam, Mohammed.
This is the second religiously-motivated murder in Karachi in a week. On Monday evening, a member of the Ahmadi community, Dr. Abdul Khaleeq, was murdered in his clinic in what is believed to be a targeted killing on the basis of his faith.
The Ahmadi community is regarded as heretical by most mainstream Sunni Muslims and scholars.
Pakistan implements a blasphemy law which carries the death penalty for those who insult Muhammed. Extremist groups frequently carry out targeted killings of individuals accused of blasphemy as well as those who oppose the blasphemy law.
In March 2016, Pakistan executed Mumtaz Qadri had murdered his boss, the governor of Punjab, for calling for a public discussion on the blasphemy law. Thousands of people took to the streets in support of Qadri, and Islamist extremists around the world grieved over his death, calling him a "martyr."