LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Saturday made history by electing a woman secretary for the first time since its inception way back in 1893.
Sabahat Rizvi bagged 4,310 votes against her two male rivals to become secretary of the LHCBA in the election held for the year 2023-24. This was her first election. She has association with the Independent group, also known as Asma Jahangir group, however, a majority of the lawyers supported her beyond groupings.
In another record of simultaneously making two women to represent it in the cabinet, the bar elected Rabbiya Bajwa as vice president.
Bajwa, who is a senior leader of the Hamid Khan-led Professional group, secured 3,590 votes against her five male rivals in the election. She was previously elected finance secretary of the bar in 2006.
The Professional group also notched the slot of the president in a massive victory as its Chaudhry Ishtiaq A Khan defeated Lehrasib Khan Gondal of the Independent group with a big margin.
Khan bagged 7,293 votes against 3,372 secured by Gondal.
Khan is a sitting member of the Pakistan Bar Council, a top regulatory body of the lawyers in the country, and a former president of the Lahore Bar Association. Being a member of the Insaf Lawyers Forum, he was supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
This is the third election of a bar association won by the Professional group in a row.
Earlier, the group notched the top slots of the Supreme Court Bar Association held in October last and the Lahore Bar Association in January this year.
It is believed that the current downfall of the Asma Jahangir group in the bar politics is the outcome of voting in favour of the elevation of junior judges to the Supreme Court by law minister Azam Nazir Tarar and the then attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali in the judicial commission.
Tarar is a senior leader of the Asma Jahangir group.
The bar had a consensus against the elevation of junior judges of the high courts to the Supreme Court.
However, some see a bad choice of the candidates as a reason behind the defeats saying the outgoing president of the LHCBA belongs to the Asma group.
Shahrukh Shahbaz Warraich was elected finance secretary of the LHCBA by getting 7,109 votes.
His rivals Amir Sohail Bosal and Adil Naeem Sheikh obtained 2,442 and 1,073 votes, respectively.
Other candidates who vied for the vice president were Iftikhar Ali Bhatti, Chaudhry Ahmad Khan Gondal, Abdul Rauf Bhatti, Mian Sardar Ali Gehlan and Waris Ali Saroya.
Qadir Bakhsh Chahal and Mian Muhammad Irfan contested for the office of the secretary.
As many as 10,776 out of 26,043 bar members cast their votes in the polling held on a biometric system. Chairman election board Chaudhry Imran Masood congratulated the legal fraternity on the conduct of a peaceful and transparent election.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2023