Almost three months ahead of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) elections scheduled in October, candidates for the major groups have started campaigning in earnest.
Advocate Ahmed Awais of the Professional Group of Lawyers, who lost against Asma Jahangir in 2010 elections, is once again a candidate for president. Advocate Awais is working harder on the campaign this year.
The Professional Group is headed by Advocate Hamid Khan, senior vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. Rana Naeem Sarwar will run for the office of the vice president and Sohail Dar for secretary from the same group.
They will be running against Advocate Mian Israrul Haq of Asma Jahangir Group as the presidential candidate, Tahir Chaudhry for the post of the vice president and Raja Javed Iqbal for secretary.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Advocate Awais said he had started his campaign the day he was nominated by the group. He said he had visited various bars across the country to garner support.
Seeing that opponents are supported by the PPP, Advocate Awais hoped that PML-N, the Jamaat-i-Islami and PTI supporter would vote for him. Aaked if anti-PTI feeling in the PML-N will not work against him, he said he did not believe so.
“Firstly, bar elections are not about national politics. Secondly, I am not a very active PTI member myself,” he said. He said Advocates Abid Hasan Manto, Munir A Malik, Rasheed A Rizvi, Amir Alam Khan, Pir Kalim Khurshid, Justice (retired) Karamat Nazir Bhandari, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan and Naseer Bhutta were among his supporters. Advocate Iqbal, a candidate for secretary, said he had completed a tour across the country for his election campaign. Iqbal, formerly a staunch supporter of the Professional Group, had parted ways with the group after he was refused support for last year’s Lahore High Court Bar Association elections.
Iqbal told The Tribune that considering all SCBA voters were senior lawyers, he did not expect any of them to renege on their promises [of support]. “I am obtaining promises from them (voters) before my rival can,” he said.
Among those supporting Asma Jahangir group are members of the Pakistan Bar Council, Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Burhan Moazzam Malik, Akhtar Hussain, Senator Kazim Khan, SCBA President Yasin Azad and Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa.
Refuting Advocate Awais’s comment about Asma Jahangir group having PPP support, Iqbal said he had support of many PPP supporters but not an official endorsement of the party.
Votes, seats and polling stations
As many as 2,251 lawyers voted in the 2011 SCBA elections. There are four seats for vice president, one each for secretary, additional secretary and treasurer and 14 in the executive. A polling station each has been set up at Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Karachi, Bahawalpur, Peshawar, Abbotabad, Quetta and Sukkur.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.