LAHORE, Feb 23: Asma Jahangir-led Independent Group’s Abid Saqi was elected President of the Lahore High Court Bar Association in its annual election for year 2013-14 held on Saturday.
The victory of Saqi was already being anticipated as a majority of the lawyers’ groups were supporting him against his main opponent Syed Muhammad Shah of Professional Group led by Hamid Khan.
However, independent candidate Shafqat Mahmood Chohan again came up with an impressive performance and stood runner up like the previous year.
This is the third consecutive victory of the Independent Group during the recently held elections of different bars. Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore Bar Association polls were already won by the group during current year’s polls.
Though Saqi had a long history of affiliation with the PPP, PML-N faction of lawyers also supported him in the election. His main supporters included Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Syed Kalbe Hasan, Ramzan Chaudhry, Burhan Moazam Malik, (all members of Pakistan Bar Council), sitting presidents of SCBA Mian Israrul Haq, LHCBA’s Shehram Sarwar and LBA’s Nauman Qureshi.
Saqi swept poll by securing 3357 votes while Chohan bagged 2783 and Shah 2194, announced Javed Iqbal Raja, the bar’s election board chairman. Fourth candidate for the president’s slot Sajjad Bhatti obtained 30 votes.
In a one-on-one contest, Ghulam Sarwar Nihang was elected vice president with 4988 votes against his opponent Qayum Tahir Chaudhry’s 3269 votes.
Balighuz Zaman Siddiqui was elected secretary by bagging 3472 votes while other candidates for the slot Mian Shahzad Manday secured 2804 and Latif Sra got 2050.
Usman Sher Gondal claimed the slot of finance secretary. He bagged 5548 votes while his two women rivals Shabnam Nagi got 1392 and Feroza Malik obtained 1228 votes.
The turnout remained low due to the daylong rain in the city. About 44 per cent turnout was recorded as 8391 members exercised their right out of a total 18895.
In a brief media talk, Asma Jahangir said it was the victory of whole legal fraternity. She said by electing Saqi the lawyers maintained that they supported democracy in the country.