Mian Abdul Qayoom

The prominent advocate of Jammu and Kashmir, Mian Abdul Qayoom was re-elected as President of Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) on Thursday. He was re-elected unopposed. The results of the polls for the Bar executive body were declared by its election commission chairman A R Kang on Thursday evening soon after the counting of votes concluded at Sadder Court Complex Moominabad in Srinagar.

Elected for first time in 1986 as HCBA president, advocate Qayoom has been re-elected 20 times since (including Thursday’s re-election), except the time he was jailed or did not contest the elections.

In 2017, advocate Qayoom defeated advocate N A Ronga by a margin of 222 votes. Qayoom got 464 out of total 722 votes polled while Ronga bagged 242 votes. Sixteen votes were declared rejected.

Qayoom was also summoned by NIA to New Delhi in alleged funding case in September 2017.

After summoning Qayoom to Delhi by NIA, lawyers across Kashmir valley suspended the court work for several days to protest against a notice.

On September 16, after questioning Mian Qayoom for two days in New Delhi, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had given him clean chit.

Polling for this year’s election was held for four posts. For the position of vice president, advocate Aijaz Ahmad Bedar defeated his rival Mushtaq Ahmad Dar by a margin of 268 votes. Bedar secured 539 while Bhat got 271 votes. Thirteen votes were declared rejected.

For the post of General Secretary, Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Bhat defeated G N Shaheen by a margin of 116 votes. Bhat bagged 464 votes while Shaheen secured 348. Fifteen votes were declared rejected.

For the post of Joint Secretary, Adil Asmi defeated his rival candidates Ajaz Ahmad Dar and Bilal Ahmad Bhat. Asmi defeated his closest rival, Bilal, by 78 votes. Asmi bagged 366 votes, Bilal 288, and Ajaz 162. 15 votes were declared rejected. “My utmost priority would be to strive for taking this ongoing freedom movement to its logical end and we will do whatever it takes,” Qayoom told a gathering of lawyers. “We will do everything for achieving it. Whether it is to hold conferences, protest on streets, file petitions in courts, visit jails to meet detainees and under trials, to visit places where human rights violations take place.”

Qayoom was arrested under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (JKPSA) of 1978 on July 7 and July 18, 2010, respectively. Soon after detention, Qayoom was taken to Hiranagar Jail in Jammu. On July 20 that year, a hearing took place in which a request was put forward for his transfer from Hiranagar Jail to Srinagar Central Jail, but the request was denied. Qayoom is often accused of political activities in support of secession within his role in the Bar Association. On April 22, 1995, two unidentified men opened fire on Qayoom leaving him seriously injured. No investigation has been ordered into this incident..

–Tahir Bhat


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