In what could be described as an upset, Advocate Shahzad Shaukat of the Independent Group-Ahsan Bhoon Group, also known as Asma Jahangir Group, was elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for the year 2023-24 in polls held on Tuesday. According to provisional results, Shaukat defeated Mian Abdul Quddus of the Hamid Khan-led Professional Group in a one-on-one contest with a big margin of 457 votes. Shaukat bagged 1,700 votes while his rival obtained 1,243. The candidate for secretary-general, Ali Imran Syed, managed to win the race by clinching 1,445 votes, while his rival Salman Syed mustered 1,373. The final results will be announced on Nov 3. 

Mian Abdul Quddus bagged one vote from Bannu. In Lahore, Shaukat defeated Mian Abdul Quddus with a big margin after he bagged 611 votes while his rival obtained 462. The other candidates of the Asma Jahangir Group were also leading in other cities. The result on the remaining seats was awaited till the filing of this report as counting continued.Both presidential candidates were from Lahore since the top slot this year was reserved for Punjab province as per the rotation policy. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is the ally of the Independent Group besides the Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam. Umar Hayat Sindhu and Sardar Shahbaz Ali Khan of the Professional Group were elected vice president and additional secretary respectively on the Punjab seat. Addressing the lawyers after his victory, Shaukat vowed to support every move to uphold the rule of law in the country. He regretted that becoming a party to every political case before the courts was against the stature of the Supreme Court Bar Association. The president-elect said the SCBA would play its role in the enforcement of fundamental rights and resolve the issues of lawyers. Former president SCBA Ahsan Bhoon and former federal law minister Azam Nazir Tarar described the election as a contest between the mafia and professional lawyers. The professional and democratic lawyers have won this election, they said and pledged to address the issues being confronted by the lawyers across the country.Likewise, the Asma Jahangir Group swept the Multan and Bahawalpur SCBA elections. Shahzad Shaukat, the presidential candidate, and Ali Imran Syed, won as the general secretary. The polling station was set up in the Multan Bench of the Lahore High Court. The total number of voters on the Multan bench was 243 while a total of 179 votes were cast. For the election, a tough competition was witnessed between the Independent Group and Professional Lawyers Group. Shehzad Shaukat won from Multan after he received 98 votes, while his rival candidate Mian Abdul Quddus managed to secure 81 votes. Similarly, Ali Imran Syed won the seat of general secretary after securing 89 votes while his opponent Salman Mansoor got 81 votes. Similarly, Umar Hayat Sindhu won the seat of Vice President of Punjab. He received 125 votes while his opponent Aleem Baig managed 49 votes. In the case of Bahawalpur, the result was announced by the presiding officer and LHC Bahawalpur Bench Bar Association president Abdul Basit Khan. Shahzad Shaukat won from Bahawalpur by getting 63 votes while Mian Abdul Quddus bagged the second position with 30 votes. Salman Mansoor, a candidate for the general secretary office, managed 48 votes and was declared successful for the general secretary’s seat. Ali Imran Syed secured 42 votes from Bahawalpur.

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