LAHORE (Staff Report) – Barrister Syed Ali Zafar backed by Asma Jahangir became the Supreme Court of Pakistan president with 1,182 votes.
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His rival Pir Kaleem Shah of the Hamid Khan Group got 906 votes. On the other hand, Asad Manzoor Butt of the Hamid Khan Group was elected the SCBA secretary general.
Syed Ali Zafar, the nominee of the Independent group led by Asma Jahangir is leading the Supreme Ccourt Bar Association (SCBA) elections 2015-16, according to unofficial reports
Counting is underway while one to one contest is witnessed between both the contenders.
Both professional and independent groups fielded their candidates to achieve maximum support from the members of the bar.
Pir Kaleem Khursheed has been nominated as presidential candidate from the Professional group led by Hamid Khan while Syed Ali Zafar is a nominee of the Independent group led by Asma Jahangir.
As per the rotation policy, the president of the SCBA will be from Punjab. There are total 2,697. 436 voters are from Karachi/Sindh, 392 from Islamabad/Rawalpindi, 256 from KPK province, 170 from Baluchistan province, 185 from Multan, and 84 from Bahawalpur.
Pir Kaleem Khursheed has a long career in the bar’s politics. He has been president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association and member of Punjab Bar Council. He is also a sitting member of Pakistan Bar council.
Professional group’s secretary Shamimur Rehman Malik said that small groups of bar, lawyers’ factions of PML-N, PTI and JUI would support Khursheed. He said that he was hopeful about his victory in the election.
On other hand, Syed Ali Zafar is new in the bar politics and contesting his first election of any bar. SM Zafar, his father is considered a big name in the legal fraternity and will helpful for him to notch the victory.
Independent group’s Aftab Ahmad Bajwa and Asad Manzoor Butt of Professional group are vying for the slot of secretary. Butt is known for his affiliation with Jamat-i-Islami. Bakhtiar Ali Sial and Tabinda Islam are running from vice president from Punjab seat.
As both groups are hopeful for their victory, neutral observers predict that Independent group may retain its victory on president’s slot this year. They also see strong position of Professional group on secretary’s slot. The Independent group has been notching the top slot of the SCBA for the last five years.
Caste loyalties have always been an important factor in the bar politics. A major group Jatt caste led by a senior lawyer Ashraf Wahla is supporting Independent group like many previous years.
Whereas one group of Arain clan has been backing Professional group under the leadership of Mian Israrul Haq for many years and another group of the same caste led by Justice (r) Malik Qayum is supporting the other side.