Pak-sponsored former JK Bar President arrested for Babar Qadri murder

| Updated: 26 June, 2024 1:47 pm IST

SRINAGAR: A Senior Kashmiri Lawyer and former President of the Kashmir Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, was arrested on Tuesday for his involvement in the conspiracy to murder Advocate Babar Qadri.

Qayoom was detained following an investigation conducted by the State Investigation Agency (SIA). He had affiliations with the All Party Hurriyat Conference and Jamaat-e-Islami. Advocate Babar Qadri was assassinated at his residence in the Hawal area of the old city in September 2020.

In various speeches and social media posts, Qadri challenged the credibility and role of Mian Abdul Qayoom.

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In a video dated September 24, 2020, the day he was murdered, Advocate Babar Qadri claimed that Mian Abdul Qayoom employed terrorist threats to coerce his opponents into withdrawing from Bar Association elections.

During the investigation, Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom emerged as the prime suspect behind the murder conspiracy. He was subsequently taken to Jammu, where he will be presented before a designated court on Wednesday.

In January, the High Court relocated the case from Srinagar to Jammu, stating: “For a fair and impartial trial of a criminal case, it is crucial that the witnesses can testify in a free and non-hostile environment.” This order followed an application by the SIA, which cited the unwillingness of Srinagar-based lawyers to provide legal assistance due to the involvement of some influential local lawyers.

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In August 2022, police conducted searches at the houses of lawyers including Abdul Qayoom Dar also known as Mian Qayoom, Muzaffar Ahmad, and Manzoor Ahmad Dar in furtherance of the investigation of Advocate Babar Qadri’s murder case, seizing various digital devices, bank statements, and documents as part of the ongoing investigation.

Last September, the SIA announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to the resolution of Advocate Babar Qadri’s murder.

The police had implicated Saqib Manzoor, a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, in Advocate Babar Qadri’s killing. Manzoor was killed during a police encounter in Srinagar alongside another terrorist commander in 2022.

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High-ranking police sources informed The New Indian that Advocate Mian Qayoom seized 159 kanals of temple land at gunpoint through deceitful methods. Sources have also informed this reporter that Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom led the legal cell established and financed by Pakistan’s ISI.

Mian Abdul Qayoom, along with a team of lawyers, would advocate and secure favourable outcomes in cases involving entities linked to terrorism and secessionism since 1990, funded by ISI.

This group of lawyers, under his leadership, also ensured that no one represented the State, as government lawyers often resorted to mere tokenism rather than genuine advocacy due to fear of being targeted by terrorists directed by Advocate Qayoom.

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