SARGODHA/GUJRANWALA/BHALWAL-The annual elections of Gujranwala and Sargodha district bar associations (DBAs) were postponed due to clashes between the contesters' groups here on Saturday.

Turbulence started even in the beginning of the polling at Sargodha district courts. Later, it was decided that the DBA elections will be held on January 20, 2018. The situation remained critical the whole day which disturbed the polling process.

The DBA elections could not be held due to protest of one group of lawyers. Later the decision was made by the Election Board to start polling at 12pm again but it could not continue because of interruption. Punjab Bar Council Member Faiz Warraich reached there to negotiation for conciliation between the lawyers' groups. After long talks, they decided to hold the elections on 20th of January.

Meanwhile District Bar Election Committee Chairman Mian Shahid Nazir filed an application with the Cantt police station to register a case against 40 lawyers including three former presidents of District Bar Association (DBA) Sargodha. Applicant Mian Shahid Nazir said in the application that he had been appointed as chairman of DBA election board. He added that when he came at the polling station with polling material including ballot papers, stamps, voters lists and stationery, presidential candidate Malik Shafqat Abbas Awan, Hamad Haroon Cheema, ex-PRESIDENTS Syed Taiab Sherazi, Khudadad Kalyar, Shamas Naveed Cheema, Mian Qadeer Jalip and other 40 lawyers stormed into the polling station and snatched whole polling material and set it on fire. He added that they took out the polling staff from the polling station.

He said that those lawyers shouted slogans against Pakistan Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council and also gave threats of direful consequences. On the other hand, Cantt police sources said that officers had been intimated about the application and action would be taken following the orders of their high-ups.

Likewise, Gujranwala DBA elections were also postponed due to clash between two lawyers groups. It was reported that when poling started, one group raised the objection that some unauthorised persons were present in the poling station. Over the issue, the polling process remained stopped for about three hours. After negotiations, the voting started again but soon after two lawyers group started protest against each other and exchanged harsh words. While seeing the situation, the election commission announced the postponement of elections.

The elections of Bhalwal Tehsil Bar Association were held. According to results, Tariq Haral Advocate was announced successful for president slot after securing 210 votes, beating his rival Tahir Khalil Gondol who obtained 60 votes. Imran Rana was declared the winner of general secretary seat with 149 votes. His rival Afzal Advocate secured 122 votes.

The candidates for the seats of vice president, finance secretary, library secretary etc. were elected unopposed. The voters took no interest in the elections due to prior deal of two main groups. Liaquat bhalwana Advocate said that such deals were detrimental to the bar's democratic values. Total turnover of votes was 271 out of more than 300 votes.