Senior lawyer and noted human rights activist Asma Jahangir was elected the first female president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) following a neck-to-neck competition on Wednesday.
Official results would be announced on October 31. According to unofficial results, Asma received 957 of the total 2,026 SCBA votes from countrywide balloting, with the runner up, Ahmed Awais, bagging 929 votes. The candidate in the race, Akram Chaudhry received 127 votes.
Lahore, which is a traditional stronghold of the Professional Group, gave a lead of 10 votes to Asma over Awais. Asma’s panel almost completely outshone Awais’ side, as the second most important seat of the SCBA secretary also went to her group.
Talking to reporters Asma said it was not her victory alone, but that of enlightenment and moderation that was taking roots in the country. “It is a success of all the forces of enlightenment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Peshawar where I won the elections with a huge margin. Peshawar’s lawyers have cast their votes in favour of moderation and rejected orthodox thinking and narrow mindedness,” she said.
She said her group would intensify the prevailing tension between the judiciary and the executive, and do what was permitted by the law and the constitution. Asma thanked her supporters, including Ali Ahmed Kurd, Khawaja Sultan and Justice (r) Tariq Mehmood.
She later went to the Lahore High Court bar escorted by jubilant lawyers, who raised slogans against LHC Chief Justice Khwaja Sharif and the Hamid Khan group. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif felicitated Asma on her win.