Asma Jahangirs victory in a fight down to the wire has many implications. That the lawyers voted into office the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is yet another proof that not only the masses but also the educated people of Pakistan reject extremist and reactionary ideas. She won not only in Lahore and Karachi but also in Peshawar and Quetta which is yet another proof that enlightenment and moderation among the legal community are a near universal phenomenon. This is why whatever mendacious propaganda was conducted by some of her opponents failed to tip the balance against her. Her success would also help lift the countrys image abroad and foil attempts to paint it into a corner.
Asma Jahangir faces an uphill task. During the campaign she was portrayed by her opponents as President Zardaris candidate. She has to prove through her actions that she is an independent person while at the same time persuade both judiciary and executive to confine themselves to their respective turfs. The task would require her to bring into play all the acumen she possesses. The mandate given to the President SCBA requires the office holder to uphold the rule of law and the cause of justice and protect the interests of the legal profession as well as that of the public. While keeping the legal fraternity united, she will have to curb tendencies among sections of lawyers which do not conform to the rule of law. She would also have to pressure the government to reign in powerful elements in the establishment who are reported to be behind forced disappearances and custodial killings. That her victory has been hailed by the leaders of the PPP, PML-N and the PML-Q should strengthen her hands.
Asma Jahangir has only one year to make her mark as President SCBA. The commitment and energy that she possesses would lead many to hope that she would prove equal to the task.