Candidates for the Lahore High Court Bar Association elections 2013 are out to woo the voters these days.
As the date for the elections February 23 approaches, the candidates have started visiting the offices and residences of the voters. They are also requesting votes through SMS. The integral part of the campaign is distribution of their cards on LHC premises in the morning.
As many as 11 candidates are vying for four offices. Three candidates each are in the run for president, secretary and finance secretary. Two candidates are contesting for vice president.
Among presidential candidates, Syed Mohammad Shah is the candidate of the Hamid Khan group and Abid Saqi of the Asma Jahangir group.
Shafqat Mahmood Chohan is an independent. For vice president, Qayyum Tahir Chaudhry and Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar Nehang are in the field. Nehang is claiming the support of the Hamid Khan group and Chaudhry the support of Mian Israr, president of the SCBA.
Mian Shehzad Khadim Manday, Baleeghuzzaman and Chaudhry Latif Sarra are candidates for secretary.
Feroza Malik, Shabnam Aslam Nagi and Usman Sher Gondal are candidates for finance secretary.
The presidential candidates have to pay Rs130,000; candidates for VP and secretary Rs100,000 and candidates for finance secretary Rs60,000.
There are 18,895 eligible votes this year, substantially more than last year’s 15,682. The number of female members has increased to 1,209 from 1,087 last year. There are 11,027 life members.
LHCBA members do not pay the annual fees. The candidates pay their dues and drop receipts at their offices.
The election commission has announced that the polling would continue from 9am to 6pm with a break from 2pm to 3pm. Voters must show their CNICs and the identity card issued by the bar. Those found trying to cast fake votes would be fined Rs5,000. Candidate are not allowed to display stickers, banners or hoardings at the LHC compound, Fane Road, Turner Road, Mozang Road, Mauj Darya Road, GPO Chowk. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification. The candidates have to end the election campaign 24 hours ahead of the election. Candidates are not allowed to host meals for the voters except on the polling day. CCTV cameras and LEDs would be installed to ensure fairness.
Election Commissioner Advocate Waqar Hassan Meer told The Express Tribune although the CoC could not be enforced in letter and spirit during previous elections, he would try to strictly implement it this time.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2013.