LAHORE: For the first time, elections for the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) have been confined to just three main positions as all candidates contesting on other seats have been elected unopposed.
The vice-president slot of the Model Town courts has also been decided, sparking criticism from the lawyers over the decision of the Pakistan Bar Council and election commissioner for allowing two candidates to serve alternate six-month terms each.
While polls have been held on joint secretary, finance secretary, library secretary seats since 2014, this year the election will be only held on a president seat, two seats of vice-president and secretary for LBA.
But interestingly enough, this time the Model Town VP seat has already been decided. On joint secretary seat Alia Atif Khan has been elected unopposed, Shahid Ali Bhatti was elected unopposed as finance secretary while Samina Tufail Malik was elected unopposed on the auditor seat.
The Pakistan Bar Council had declared that Mian Muhammad Naeem Hasan Watto will hold the VP’s slot for first six months while Hassamuddin Khan Bisirya will be VP for the next six months. Some lawyers also moved requisitions in LBA opposing the decision of the PBC of announcing unopposed winning candidates. They said that the decision was tantamount to depriving the lawyers of their right of vote.
Lawyers are preparing writ petitions to file in the Lahore High Court against the decision of PBC pleading that the election commission should distribute powers in the remaining seats to save lawyers’ time.Some pamphlets were also witnessed at different walls of the court premises in which the election commission was strongly criticised and declared this election as pre-poll rigging.
The unopposed elected candidates told The Express Tribune that no other contestant had submitted nomination papers against them so they were elected unopposed. Advocate Shahid Ali Bhatti who was also elected unopposed on finance secretary seat said that no one had submitted documents to contest election against him so he was elected unopposed.
Election commission chairman Waqar Hassan Mir said that when no one would submit nomination papers against a candidate then the single candidate who has submitted papers would be elected unopposed.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2017.
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