Laut Kar Main Na Jaoun Ga Khaali

I am trying to make sense of the tributes and heartfelt posts by fellow bloggers to Amjad Sabri but my mind is unable to assimilate them. I hunger for closure, anything that’d help me deal with this loss but there’s a constant thought lurking in my mind, that these tributes have been written too soon.

As someone growing up in a Pakistani household, the constant exposure to Amjad Sabri’s qawwalis was the norm. Their presence was as unconscious as breathing, one might say. A daily necessity for some, or played during the times of joyous moments; especially after a long period of turmoils. I was, or i should say, am from the latter part of the group.

Back in grade 9, we’d sit in corridors singing Bhar De Joli when there was nothing else to do. During some of my happiest moments, Tajdar-e-Haram used to be played on repeat all night long because sometimes that was the only way i felt connected to God.

It is unbelievable that someone with a voice so pure, a voice that resonated with so, so many souls across the world has been silenced in a matter of seconds. Imagine feeling so utterly devoid of emotion except hatred, and even then, a hatred so great that you’d consecutively shoot 3 bullets into someone’s head who was revered by so many.

It should be remembered that Amjad Sabri was accused of blasphemy back in 2014 for his qawwalis; specifically for ‘Ali Ke Saath Hai Zahra Ki Shaadi.’ The outcome was inevitable. You may call me a cynic but who has ever survived blasphemy charges in this country? TTP claimed responsibility for the attack in a matter of hours and yet we still have people like Imran Khan funding amounts like 300 million to Dar ul Haqqania which is notorious for churning out extremists.

They are saying that thousands are gathered at Amjad Sabri’s house, that streets of Karachi are reverberating with his qawwalis, that bazaars have loudspeakers playing them. A heartfelt tribute being paid as the nation mourns.

The problem is, I don’t know what to do with this grief of mine. And deep inside me I know that I’ll get over this despair, I’ll be immune to it as time passes until another tragedy strikes.

I keep thinking about the 80% of population who gives no thought about blasphemy or religious differences but who is forced to listen to only these concepts in Friday’s sermon and madrassahs. People who are systemically brainwashed until they are unable to see a person from different sect or views, as a human, just like them. Who are victims of the personal biases of mullahs and politicians alike. And I know then that nothing will change.

As long as we people joke about those who don’t judge or make assumptions as extensively as we do, claiming that such a crowd will even let Dajjal pass by, we create an environment where murder and hate crimes are acceptable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t stand with the criminals, or that we condemn their actions, they know that a safe space has been established, that the punishment will be significantly lighter than what they deserve.

So to those who are TTP and Blasphemy Law apologists, to those who kept silent when atrocities were carried out, or continued to make excuses for the unpardonable behavior and prejudices among us, remember that you are responsible for today’s tragedy and the ones which will be carried out in future.

We’ve paid a heavy price for our prejudices, let’s hope that Amjad Sabri lives long enough in our hearts to eventually persuade us in making a change in a society from where even blessings shy away.

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