LAHORE - The Independent Group of Asma Jahangir on Tuesday notched up top slots of president and secretary in annual elections of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for year 2017-18.

Pir Kaleem Khursheed was elected president and Safdar Hussain Tarar secretary. Khursheed bagged 1,145 and defeated Hafiz Abdur Rehman, his rival from Hamid Khan’s Professional Group. Rehman secured 1,062 votes. Tarar of Independent Group bagged 1,098 votes, while his rival Mian Aslam of Professional Group could get only 638 votes.

Polling was held at 11 polling stations in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbotabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sukkhur and Hyderabad.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, former chief justice of LHC Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, former governors Khawaja Tariq Rahim, Shahid Hamid and Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, retired justice Malik Qayum, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Asma Jahangir, Hamid Khan and Aitzaz Ahsan were among the prominent who cast their votes at the Lahore registry.

As supporters of Khursheed came to know about victory of their candidate through unofficial result announcement, they took him on their shoulders, garlanded him and danced to the drumbeats. Asma Jahangir also graced the occasion. Her supporters chanted slogans and vowed to work for welfare of the legal fraternity.

However, a very close contest was seen between the presidential candidates, as the winning candidate marked victory with a narrow margin of only 83 votes.

For the slot of vice president in Punjab, Qamar Zaman Qureshi was declared successful. He secured 1,159 votes, while his rival Malik Imtiaz got 886 votes.

The Professional Group had won the bar election last year. This time, 2,989 voters exercised their right to vote to elect the new leadership. As many as 1,287 voters cast their vote in Lahore, 479 in Sindh, 460 in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, 286 in KP, 204 in Multan, 182 in Balochistan, and 91 in Bahawalpur.

Strict security arrangement had been made on the occasion and members of the bars were not allowed entry without body search. The polling booths were monitored through cameras.

Addressing his supporters, newly-elected president Khursheed said he would fulfill the promises he made to lawyers and protect their rights. He said he would continue to struggle for supremacy of law and the Constitution.