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Gilgit-Baltistan’s prominent flutist and Shehnai player Imtiaz Karim passes away

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Imtiaz Karim flute player from Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan

Imtiaz Karim, one of Gilgit-Baltistan’s prominent flute and traditional Shehnai (Suranai in Burushaski) players, passes away due to cardiac arrest. He was the co-founder of Hunza Classical Group and regularly performed at local and international events. He also toured China and Australia to represent the folk music of Pakistan.

According to a local source, Imtiaz Karim was heading home from work on Wednesday evening when he collapsed. The reason for his death was declared a cardiac arrest. He was 40.

Many music lovers from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral are showing their grief over the sudden death of a musician who not only introduced bamboo flute into the music industry of this region but also trained numerous young people under his apprenticeship.

Ghazi Karim, bandmate and close friend of Imtiaz Karim, posted on his Facebook account that it is a black day for Hunza Classical Group.

Ishtiaq Karim, his brother, requested his fans and friends to pray for the departed soul.

Video: Imtiaz Karim performs at Hunza Cultural Festival

Imtiaz Karim was a regular artist to perform at Hunza Cultural Festival held often in Islamabad by Hunza Cultural Forum (HCF). His most recent appearance was in January 2017 where he performed along the traditional Domaki musicians and his bandmates of Hunza Classical Group.

He had played for numerous artists including Shahid Akhtar Qalandar, Khalid Abbas Hassanabadi, Sherbaz Khan, Rahim Ullah Rahim and Jabir Khan Jabir among others. He also released four instrumental albums with Hunza Classical Group.

Imtiaz Karim was an employee of Baltit Fort managed by Baltit Heritage Trust. He left behind a widow and two sons.

Imtiaz Karim was laid to rest at the Baltit Graveyard in his hometown of Karimabad.

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