LAHORE - The stage is set for annual election of the Lahore High Court Bar Association today for year 2017-18.

As many as 21481 eligible voters would exercise their right to vote to elect new leadership of the bar. This year, for the first time in the bar’s history, the election board has decided to hold polling through both biometric and manual ways.

Around 13,000 members have got them registered with biometric system. Total 14 candidates would try their luck on four different slots. Among them, four candidates including Azar Latif Khan, Ch Zulfiqar Ali, Sardar Khurram Latif Khan Khosa and Muhammad Ramzan Sohl Ch are contesting for the slot of president.

Muhammad Ramzan Ch has been fielded by Independent group of Asma Jahangir while Chaudhary Zulfiqar Ali is the candidate of Hamid Khan’s professional group. Two other candidates including Azar Latif Khan and Sardar Khurram Latif Khan Khosa have the support of PPP but the PPP is said to be divided over the support of these two candidates.

Tough contest is expected between Chaudhary Zulfiqar Ali of Hamid Khan’s professional group and Muhammad Ramzan Ch of Independent group, because the former had once been elected as president of Lahore Bar Association while the latter will eventually have the support of PPP.

For the slot of vice-president, Ch Muhammad Saleem and Rashid Lodhi are the candidates. Both are repeaters but Lodhi’s position is said to be strong because of the support of young lawyers.

Five candidates including Hassan Iqbal Warraich, Aamir Saeed Raan, Irfan Nasir Cheema, Malik Zahid Aslam Awan and Mian Muzaffar Hussain are contesting for the seat of Secretary. The contest is expected among four candidates due to the race-based votes.

For the office of Finance Secretary, there are total three candidates including Intizar Kalyar, Hafiz Allah Yar Sipra and Zaheer Butt.

Punjab rangers will provide security to the bar members on the election day. The lhcba has also decided to suspend the membership of those lawyers who would not cooperate with the security officials regarding their identification and security search.