LAHORE: In a one-on-one contest, Syed Qalbe Hassan of the Independent group was elected on Thursday president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for the year 2019-20.

However, the slot of secretary was notched by Shamimur Rehman Malik of the Hamid Khan-led Professional group.

As per unofficial results, Mr Hassan secured 1,381 votes against 950 bagged by his rival Shoaib Shaheen of the Professional group.

Both candidates for the presidential slot were from Islamabad since the top slot this year was reserved for the federal capital as per rotation policy.

Mr Hassan of the Independent group [famously known as the late Asma Jahangir group] had the backing of PML-N Lawyers Forum, Peoples Lawyers Forum and PML-Q lawyers’ wing as well.

Pakistan Bar Council’s member Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Abid Saqi, former governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Ali Ahmad Kurd and Khalid Ranjha were among main supporters of Mr Hassan.

In his victory speech, Mr Hassan vowed to fulfil all promises he had made to lawyers and to serve the community irrespective of any political biases. He thanked the voters for giving him the mandate.

As the results were announced at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, supporters of the winning candidates burst into chants. They showered rose petals on the winners and danced to the beat of drums.

Mr Malik was elected secretary with 1,175 votes, while his rival Rana Shah­zad Farooq got 1,125.

Mr Malik was a repeater as he had lost his last year election against Azmatullah Chaudhry of the Indep­endent group.

Ghulam Murtaza Chau­dhry was elected vice president from Punjab, while counting on three more seats of vice presidents from other provinces and one seat each of additional secretary and finance secretary was in progress.

As many as 3,162 members exercised their right to vote in the polling held in all the four provinces. In Lahore, 981 cast their votes out of a total 1,299 members.

Polling stations were set up in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Lahore, Multan, Bahawal­pur, Islamabad and other cities.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Hamid Khan, retired Justice Nasira Iqbal and former provincial minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan were among the prominent members who cast their votes at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.

Police took strict security measures outside the SC registry for the polling process.

However, in the federal capital, the polling station was set up at the Islamabad High Court instead of the Supreme Court building due to security measures adopted in the red zone following the Azadi march led by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2019