ISLAMABAD - Though there are three candidates for the slot of President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) but the real contest is between Amanullah Kanrani and Kamran Murtaza. Rab Nawaz Raja is the third candidate for SCBA presidentship.

Legal experts have the opinion that this annual election will be significant for resolving Balochistan issues as both the candidates in their campaign have announced that after winning the election, schedule today (Thursday) would highlight Balochistan matters at every forum. It has been noticed that after lawyers' movement, it would be first election of SCBA, in which there is no divide of lawyers on the basis of pro-judges and anti-judges, therefore, major political parties were not taking keen interest in the election's campaign.

Likewise, PPP lawyers are divided in this SCBA election as People's Lawyers Forum (PLF) Chairman Sardar Latif Khosa is supporting Amanullah Kanrani for president slot but most of other PPP lawyers, including Shafi Muhammad Chandio, Amjad Iqbal Quraishi, Shafqat Abbasi etc are backing Kamran Murtaza. Senator Kamran Murtaza,  is affiliated with JUI-F. He has the support of Independent Lawyers Group, which is led by former SCBA presidents Asma Jahangir, Yasin Azad and Pakistan Bar Council vice Chairman Qulb-i- Hassan.

On the other hand, Senator Amanullah Kanrani, who in the past, has been affiliated with Nawab Akbar Bugti party has the backing of Hamid Khan Group. One lawyer say that though Kamran Murtaza is favourite for the slot but Kanrani had got support from several key members of Independent Group including former Attorney General for Pakistan Malik Qayyum, Dr Khalid Ranjha, Muneer Kakar.

It is to be noted that Vice President from Sindh Muhammad Sadiq Hidayatullah and Vice President from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Sardar Hussain, Raja Muqsit Nawaz Khan for the seat of Additional Secretary, while Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan for Secretary Finance SCBAP have been elected as unopposed. These all candidates are affiliated with Independent Group, led by Asma Jahangir.There are also three candidates for the elections of Secretary SCBAP seat, including Asif Mehmood Cheema, Azmat Ullah Chaudhry and Muhammad Aslam Pervez Mian.

As far as vice presidents are concerned, there are two candidates from Punjab Rana Naeem Sarwar and Shah Abbas Iqbal Mian, from Balochistan Abdullah Kakar and Jahanzaib Khan Jadoon, Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa Syed Sardar Hussain and Sindh Muhammad Sadiq Hidayatullah. Over 2,200 members of the Supreme Court Bar Association also have to elect member executive committees of all the four provinces. This time 10 candidates from Punjab for the executive committee Punjab are in the run, four each from Sindh and KPK, while five from Balochistan.  According to the rules of the SCBAP, two candidates each would be elected from the four provinces while 6 would come on merit, bringing a total number of 14 elected candidates for the executive committee.

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: 2,720 eligible voters will exercise their right of votes on Thursday (today) to elect new office bearers of the SCBA. Under the rotation policy President will be elected from Balochistan this year. Lahore will once again play an important role in the outcome of Thursday’s result as a major chunk of voters belongs to the City and all candidates have worked relentlessly to woo the voters. About 1172 eligible voters are registered.

Kanrani enjoys the support of Professional Group led by Hamid Khan and former Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa.

Khosa’s support to Kanrani is being considered as a major development in political circles of the bar as he had always backed a candidate contesting against Hamid Khan’s candidate. Sources say Khosa has close relationship with Kanrani.

Former Presidents of SCBA Yasin Azad, Asma Jahangir, Latif Afridi are supporting Presidential candidate Kamran Murtaza.

The incumbent SCBA President Mian Israrul Haq is also with Murtaza.

Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Syed Qalb-e-Hassan and members Ahsan Bhoon and Azam Nazir Tarar are also backing Murtaza.

Muhammad Sadiq Hidayatullah from Sindh and Sardar Hussain from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been elected Vice Presidents unopposed. Also, Raja Muqsit Nawaz Khan for the seat of Additional Secretary, and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan for the position of Secretary Finance have also been elected unopposed.

Three candidates – Asif Mehmood Cheema, Azmatullah Chaudhry and Muhammad Aslam Pervez Mian – will be vying for the slot of Secretary. As far as the positions of Vice Presidents are concerned, there are two candidates from Punjab Rana Naeem Sarwar and Shah Abbas Iqbal Mian, two from Balochistan Abdullah Kakar and Jahanzaib Khan Jadoon, Sardar Hussain from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Muhammad Sadiq Hidayatullah from Sindh.

This time 10 candidates from Punjab, for the Executive Committee Punjab, are in the run, four each from Sindh and KPK, and five from Balochistan. Ten polling stations have been established in different cities including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.