Yasin Azad

President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA)

Yasin Azad

Yasin Azad has been elected as President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for the year 2011-12. Azad received 940 votes while his opponent Justice (r) Rashid Rizvi bagged 858 votes.
The PPP and Asma Jahangir-backed candidate Muhammad Yasin Azad has won the seat of president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for the year 2011-2012 by defeating Professional Group’s candidate Rashid A Razvi with a margin of 93 votes.

As per unofficial results, Azad secured 954 votes while his opponent Razvi bagged 861 votes. Out of nine polling stations across the country, Azad won in six including Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, and Quetta. Razvi stood winner from Abbottabad, Islamabad/ Rawal-pindi and Karachi only.

In Lahore, Azad got 457 votes and Razvi obtained 422 votes. In Islamabad, Azad secured 138 votes while Razvi received 147 votes. In Karachi, Azad and Razvi got 102 and 122 votes, respectively. They secured 68 and 45 in Peshawar, 12 and 23 in Abbottabad, 25 and 2 in Hyderabad, 35 and 18 in Bahawalpur, 57 and 49 in Multan, 59 and 33 in Quetta. It is for the second consecutive year that Professional Group, led by Hamid Khan, faced defeat for the covet slot of SCBA’s president. Last year, Asma Jahangir beat Ahmad Awais.

The result proved all predictions wrongs. Independent observers were of the view that Razvi would win with ease as things were different from last year’s elections. They said in Asma’s election four former presidents of SCBA – Munir A Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan, Justice (R) Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmad Kurd – were staunch supporters of her. But this year, Aitzaz and Malik were supporting Razvi while the other two former presidents stayed away from whole election activities.

The result also made it clear that a candidate could not woo the voters by only claiming that he is a hero of lawyers’ movement. Azad won the election despite all allegations that he was being supported by PCO judges and Babar Awan was using state resources to entice the voters. As a sitting member of Pakistan Bar Council, Azad had the support of 12 members out of total 22. Prominent among them were Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Maqsood Buttar, Ramzan Chaudhry and Ashraf Wahla.

Popularity of Professional Group, which was the strongest group in bar politics particularly during lawyers’ movement, has started to decline. Last year, the group also tasted defeat in the Lahore Bar Association election once Asma notched the SCBA top slot.

However, Asghar Ali Gill had saved the group from total disaster by winning president’s seat of LHC Bar Association. Now it would be much harder for Hamid Khan and his group to revive glory days of group because the PPP had strong roots in lawyers’ community epically after the tactics employed by Babar Awan.

As result was announced at Lahore polling station, supporters of Azad burst into cheers. They started shouting slogans and dancing to drumbeat. Outgoing SCBA President Asma Jahangir was prominent among them. Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazeer Tarar, and Ramazan Chaudhry also showed enthusiasm.

Prominent lawyers visited the Lahore Registry to cast their votes, however, presiding officer barred Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood Khan to exercise his right to vote, saying he was holding a constitutional post and could not cast vote unless he relinquishes that office.

In his victory speech, Azad said his victory had proved that lawyers of the country were with him. He dismissed the allegations that government machinery was used to secure victory for him. He thanked Asma Jahangir and said he would not compromise on principles. “I am thankful to you for the support you have rendered to me,” he said and added that he was not affiliated with any political party except Tehrik-e-Istiqlal. He said he belonged to lawyers’ community and they were his party.

On the issue of PCO judges, Asma Jahangir said they were members of the bar. She said opponent group criticised them for securing support of PCO judges but surprisingly they (Professional Group) also invited a PCO judge – Zulfiqar Bokhari – on the stage for Rizvi’s campaign. She said such double standard should be shunned.

According to unofficial counting, Aslam Zar has been elected as secretary of the SCBA. Imran Parveen Baloch of the Professional Group has become the vice president of SCAB on Punjab seat.

Sardar Abdul Hameed Khan and Fayyaz Ahmad Rana have won the seats of additional secretary and finance secretary, respectively. They both belonged to Professional Group which had also secured vice president seat of Khyber Pakhthunkhwa. Returning officer Afrasiab Khan Chaudhry will announce official result on November 2.

Meanwhile, various political and bar leaders have congratulated Yasin Azad on his election as the SCBA president. Those felicitating him include President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Law Minister Maula Bakhsh Chandio, former law minister Senator Babar Awan, PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Latif Afridi, ex-senator and Member Balochistan Bar Council Kamran Murtaza, ex-senior vice-president SCBA Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry, Member Pakistan Bar Council Muhammad Ramzan Chaudhry and former Sindh Education Minister and ex-judge of the Sindh High Court Dr Qazi Khalid Ali.

In their separate messages, they said the victory of Yasin Azad was a manifestation of the confidence reposed by the country’s legal fraternity and lawyers in the professional and leadership abilities of Yasin Azad.

Yasin Azad Pictures

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