LAHORE: Up to 13,508 lawyers will vote today to elect the next president, vice president, secretary and finance secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). Fourteen candidates are running for the four posts.
Four candidates are standing for election as bar president, but the main contest will be between Asghar Ali Gill and Rai Bashir. Gill is the candidate of the Professional Group of Lawyers, which is headed by Hamid Khan. Former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) presidents Munir A Malik and Aitzaz Ahsan, Advocate Akram Sheikh, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood, former LHCBA president Ahmed Awais, Advocate Hafiz Abdul Rehman Insari, Kaleem Ahmed Khursheed, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) member Burhan Muazzam Malik, CM Sarwar, current LHCBA president Mian Abdul Qudoos, LHCBA secretary Babar Murtaza, and LHCBA finance secretary Sajid Hanif, are also supporting Gill. He has served as member and vice chairman of the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) and as president of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA).
Bashir is the candidate of the Friends’ Alliance. He has the support of SCBA president Asma Jahangir, PBC members Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Ramazan Chaudhry and Maqsood Buttar, PbBC vice chairman Lehrasib Gondal and Zahid Hussain Bukhari. He has previously served as vice president and secretary of the LBA. He ran for election to the PbBC and lost in 1999.
He is currently a member of the PbBC and the Judicial Commission. He is also chairman of the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Lawyers Forum.
M Shahid Rana and Chaudhry Muazzam Iqbal Gill are also running for president but are not thought to be serious challengers. Their campaigns are limited to stickers and visiting cards. The latter has run for election, unsuccessfully, in each of the last six years. Ijaz Gorchha, Rai Muhammad Tufail Kharal, Muhammad Aslam Behleem and Mian Jahangir are running for LHCBA vice president. Sardar Akbar Ali Dogar, Arshad Malik Awan, Chaudhry Shafqat Qadeer and Anila Cheema are hoping to become the next LHCBA secretary.
Dogar and Awan are expected to run each other close for the post. Chaudhry Munawar Iqbal and Mian Azam face off for the finance secretary seat. Advocate Orangzeb Mirza is chairman of the 19-member election board. According to the LHCBA code of conduct, eight polling booths will be set up for voters. Five booths were set up in the previous elections.
Polling will start at 9am and end at 5 pm, with a one-hour break from 1 pm to 2 pm. Voters must present their original PBC, PbBC, SCBA or LHCBA card to vote. No voter will be allowed to keep their mobile phone switched on while going to cast their vote. No candidate will be allowed to seek votes from the voters standing in the queue for the polling booth.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.