LAHORE - About 11,000 members would exercise their vote power to elect representatives of legal fraternity in the annual elections of the Lahore Bar Association being held today.

There are total 19 candidates contesting elections this year. For the slot of president, a tough competition is expected between G A Khan Tariq and Chaudhry Ishtiaq. Chaudhry Saleem Ladhi, Qasim Aslam Hanjra, Adeeb Aslam Bhindar and Khurram Mir are contesting for the slot of secretary. For the slot of Vice-President, there are five candidates including Aziz A Bhatti, Muhammad Jahangir Bhatti, Labib Zafar Bajwa, Syed Asim Ali Shah and Ghulam Abbas Sahir Awan, for vice-president seat at Model Town courts.

Zamir Ahmad Jheedo and Syed Tafsir Haider Shah are contesting for the seat of vice president in Model Town. Rana Ahsan and Tahir Riaz Sehr are contesting for the seat of joint secretary while Syed Peer Faridul Haq and Ajmal Malik are in the race to takeover the office of finance secretary.

Both G A Khan Tariq and Chaudhry Ishtiaq are running their campaigns at the best level to grab maximum voters but Chaudhry Ishtiaq, who hailed from Professional Group of Hamid Khan, is considered as the early favourite.

He has the backing of PML-N lawyers wing, Mian Israrul Haq group, Ameer Alam Khan Group and majority of the young lawyers. The PTI lawyers’ wing and even some other voters who belong to Pakistan People Party are also backing him.

G A Khan Tariq, the Independent Group candidate, is enjoying the support of former president Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir, SCBA secretary Asif Cheema, former Punjab Governor Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa, and former federal minister Dr Khalid Ranjha, Azam Nazir Tarar advocate and many other small groups of lawyers.

The Independent Group, however, has defeated Hamid Khan’s Professional Group for last three years, but this time the situation is looking a little different as Mian Israrul Haq group, the strong group of the bar since 1965, has joined hands with Professional Group. The unity of two strong but separated groups is an alarming threat to the Independents now.

All the candidates except the presidential slot usually have no open political affiliation with any lawyers’ party and contest elections independently. But after elections, the winning candidates join hands with their like-minded groups in office.

Although, there are more than 26,000 voters registered with the district bar but about 11,000 voters will exercise their vote power in this election. The bar members had strongly supported the Pakistan Movement for a separate homeland for Muslims in the sub-continent.