LAHORE – About 18,895 voters would decide the fate of 11 candidates eying for four seats of Lahore High Court Bar Association in its annual election for year 2013-14 today (Saturday). All candidates have tried hard to ensure victory by having corner meetings, giving luncheons, pledging their unconditional support in case of victory, and visiting door to door to the candidates. There are three candidates for each slot, president, secretary and secretary finance while two candidates are contesting for the vice president slot. However bar pundits predict victory of presidential candidate Abid Saqi, candidate of Asma Jahangir group of lawyers. Saqi had already enjoyed the office of the LHCBA secretary in 1999. He is being supported by members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Ramzan Chaudhry, Syed Kalbe Hassan and Burhan Moazam Malik, incumbent presidents of the SCBA Mian Israr, LHCBA Shehram Sarwar and Lahore Bar Association Nauman Qureshi. Other supporters of Saqi include Kazim Khan, SM Zafar, Ashraf Wahla, Zaman Qureshi, Malik Saeed Hassan, Khalid Ranjha, Akram Qureshi and Jahangir A Jhojha. Being affiliated to the Pakistan People’s Party, Saqi is also enjoying the backing of the Peoples Lawyers’ Forum (PLF), led by former governor Latif Khosa. Another group of the PLF, led by former law minister Babar Awan, is also supporting Saqi.Syed Muhammad Shah is the candidate of Hamid Khan-led Professional Group. Shafqat Mahmood Chohan is also vying for the top slot as independent candidates. Shah is enjoying the support of PBC members Pir Kalim Khurshid, Amin Javed, Maqsood Buttar and Mian Abdul Quddus, former presidents of the LHCBA Nasira Javed Iqbal, Justice (r) Fakharunisa Khokhar, Ahmad Awais and Asghar Ali Gill, former LHCBA secretary Rabbiya Bajwa, Khwaja Tariq Sohail, and Zulfiqar Bokhari. Shah is the former president of LBA. The third candidate, Chohan, though has no affiliation with the traditional groups, is claiming to have good position. He is contesting the election for second time as he had stood runner-up in the last election of the bar. Besides a big name of bar politics Amir Alam Khan, many other prominent figures are backing him. Some members of the Punjab Bar Council have also announced their support for Chohan. Ghulam Sarwar Nihang and Qayyum Tahir Chaudhry are vying for the slot of vice-president. Mian Shahzad Manday, Balighuz Zaman Siddiqui and Latif Sarra are in run for the slot of secretary. Former LHCBA secretary Rana Asadullah Khan, former LBA president Rana Zia Abdul Rehman and PBC Executive Committee Chairman Burhan Moazam Malik are main supporters of Manday. Siddiqui is son of former advocate general Punjab Aftab Iqbal. Feroza Malik, Shabnam Aslam and Usman Sher Gondal are contesting for the slot of finance-secretary.According to the election commissioner, the polling would start at 9am and would continue till 6pm with one hour break during 2pm to 3pm. The presidential candidates have to pay Rs1300000 candidates for VP and Secretary pay Rs100000 while the candidates for the slot of finance secretary deposits Rs60000 to participate in the elections. Voter members of the LHCBA this year are 18895, which was 15682 last year. Number of defaulter members of the bar is 3574 which was 4622 last year. Number of female members of the LHCBA is increased to 1209 from 1087 last year. Among all members of the LHCBA, 11027 are life members while 11442 have regular membership and they have to pay their renewal charges every year. 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 23-Feb-2013 here.