LAHORE: The stage is set for the annual election of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) for 2021-22 today (Saturday) with the candidates of the two main rival groups – Professional and Independent – in the run for the slot of president.

Maqsood Buttar of the Hamid Khan-led Professional Group is trying his luck for the second time since last year he had lost the election against outgoing president Tahir Nasarullah Warraich.

This year, he faces Sardar Akbar Ali Dogar of the Independent Group, better known as the late Asma Jahangir Group. Dogar is a former secretary of the LHCBA and Buttar has been elected as a member of the Pakistan Bar Council in the past.

The lawyers’ wings of the PPP, PTI and Jamat-i-Islami have announced support for Buttar while PML-N is backing Dogar.

Interestingly, Insaf Lawyers Forum’s president Barrister Ali Zafar is affiliated with the Independent Group and the leaders of the Professional Group claim that the PTI’s legal wing is fully supporting Mr Buttar. Zafar remained unavailable for his comments; however, Professional Group’s senior member Chaudhry Ishtiaq A Khan confirmed the support of the ruling party’s lawyers’ wing.

Sardar Latif Khosa faction of the Peoples Lawyers Forum is canvassing for Buttar and another faction of the forum, led by Abid Saqi, also a senior leader of the Independent Group, is supporting Dogar.

The PML-N Lawyers’ Forum, under its chairman Naseer Ahmad Bhutta, has been supporting the candidates of the late Asma Jahangir’s group for many years. However, a faction of lawyers, headed by Rana Asadullah Khan, brother of the PML-N leader Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, supports the Professional Group.

Three candidates, Ashraf Jalal, Sohail Shafiq and Mudassir Maghiana, are vying for the slot of vice president. Akhtar Padda and Khwaja Mohsin Abbas are contesting for secretary while Falak Naz Gill, Rana Wasim Yousaf Khan and Faisal Tauqir Sial are candidates for the finance secretary.

As many as 21,667 eligible voters would exercise their right to vote in the polling on the biometric system from 9am to 5pm.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2021

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