SCBA polls today


The annual election of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is being held today (Saturday) and Rasheed A Rizvi and Yasin Azad have intensified their efforts to gain the slot of president. Significance of the SCBA election has increased after the lawyers’ movement, after which the legal community emerged as a strong pressure group in Pakistani politics, inviting the intervention of political parties in the SCBA election.
Lawyers predict a tough contest between Rizvi and Azad, as both candidates command good reputation within the legal fraternity. Both belong to Sindh per the rotation policy for the bar’s top slot. However, every year Lahore remains a hub of election activities, as 70 percent of the SCBA members are enrolled in Punjab. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is backing Azad, with People’s Lawyers Forum Chairman Sardar Latif Khosa and Senator Babar Awan actively campaigning for their candidate.
The government is trying to elect a president who does not give it tough time in the future. It has been learnt that more than 100 PCO judges, who were removed by July 31, 2009 judgment of the apex court, are campaigning for Yasin Azad. On the other hand, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is backing Rizvi, who is presidential candidate of the Hamid Khan group. PML-N leader and MNA Naseer Ahmad Bhutta also announced his support for the Hamid Khan group under the banner of PML-N Lawyers Forum, led by Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan.
The Hamid Khan-led Professional Group is known as pro-lawyers’ movement, as renowned lawyers associated with the group have already announced to form the All Lawyers and Civil Society Coordination Council for resuming the movement against the government for non-implementation of the apex court’s verdicts. Talking to Pakistan Today, Rizvi alleged that the government was using its influence in the bar election by using various methods like appointment of law officers. He said Punjab Governor Latif Khosa was using his official power in the upcoming election and he also visited Peshawar and Karachi for the campaign.
Rizvi contended that most of senior PPP lawyers like Aitzaz Ahsan and Shah Khawar were supporting him for the SCBA presidency due to his long struggle in the lawyers’ movement. Ten candidates are vying for four seats of vice presidents -one for each province. The contest for VP Punjab will be between Imrana Baloch, Khadim Husain and Nadeem Malik. The annual preparations have led to lavish dinner parties, corner meeting and mega get-togethers of black coats at five star hotels, concluding with fiery speeches on Friday, the last day for election campaign, which has so far cost the rivals Rs 10 million each.