What the PPPPs Asma Jahangir victory means

October 28, 2010

In one of the most contested elections of our time, Asma Jehangir has brought dirty politics where it doesn’t belong–in the Bar Association. Asma Jehangir has won the elections for the Lahore Bar Association. This is seen as a great victory for the left in Pakistan. Asma Jehangir is a Civil Rights Activist and great believer in Secularism.

The victory was achieved by infusion a lot of money into the elections by unnamed NGOs and forces that are working behind the scenes. There were a total of 2,226 eligible voters for the election, which took place on October 27.  Ikram Chaudhry and Ahmed Awais are the other candidates who are contesting the polls against Asma.

The PPPP has backed Asma Jahangir in supporting the Anti-Iftikhar Chaudhry coalition of Musharraf and PPPP forces all of whom hate the current judiciary. The elections will portend a front against the tenure of Chaudhry Iftikhar Chaudhry’s independent judiciary.

Bal Thackery with Asma Jahangir: Ms Asma Jahangir in full Hindu mahasabah Saffron regalia meets Shiv Shena’s Mr. Bal Thackeray, the most avid Anti-Pakistan Islamphobic bigot in the world. Imagine a Jewish Israeli sitting with a Nazi in full Nazi uniform. If this sort of “consorting with the enemy” happened in America–the American would be boycotted for life and hounded off the air–and possibly sent to prison. Gitmo is full of people who did less. Asma Jahangir is a darling of the Delhi establishment. She visits Bharat often. To show her “Hindu” credentials she dressed up in saffron Red to meet one of the most virulent mahasabah Hindus who is actually wanted for murder of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Pakistan. Mis Jahangir speaks ill about Pakistan on foreign shores, all under the guise of liberal secularist humanism. Of course she has double standards. She never criticizes Bharat. She is part and parcel of the “Blame Pakistan First” crowd.

It is astonishing that Ms. Jahangir took the support of the Pro-Musharraf forces and the forces aligned with the PPPP. A team of independent Lawyers led by PTI’s Hamid Khan has now be defeated.

Asma Jehangir on Wednesday won the election for the office of President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) here at Peshawar and Abbottabad with a clear margin.

According to results here, Asma Jehangir grabbed 47 votes against his close rival Ahmed Owais (33) and Akram Chaudhry (18) in Peshawar.
Likewise, Asma Jehangir also bagged 17 votes, Ahmed Owais (11) and Akram Chaudhry (2) in Abbottabad.

The election of Ms. Jahangir proves how much the so called “elections” in Lahore were influenced by foreign forces.

The judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitutional Ordinance of Pervez Musharraf are also canvassing for her. Federal law officers, including deputy attorneys and standing councils and PPP-affiliated lawyers, are also making all-out efforts to secure victory for her.

The presence of Federal Law Minister Babar Awan, a close aide of President Asif Zardari, in Lahore has also raised many eyebrows in the legal community. They believe that the minister has come to Lahore to make “arrangements” for Asma’s election.

Three former presidents of the SCBA and prominent names of lawyers’ movement are supporting Asma. They include Ali Ahmad Kurd, Munir A Malik and Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmood.

Interestingly, all these three had won the top slot from the platform of Professional Group, led by Hamid Khan

With the crucial Supreme Court Bar Association,  old cronies of former president Pervez Musharraf are pinning strong hopes on candidate Asma Jahangir to bundle out the loyalists of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry by winning the election.

Asma, who had earlier fought for the restoration of the judges, has now become a strong critic of the Supreme Court, more in line with the position taken by President Zardari and his PPP government, The News reported.

Though she presents herself as an independent candidate, the government’s overt and covert support to her candidature has served her badly because of its own unending confrontation with the judiciary, the paper said.

The judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitutional Ordinance (PCO) of Pervez Musharraf are also canvassing for her. The presence of Federal Law Minister Babar Awan, a close aide of President Asif Zardari, in Lahore has also raised many eyebrows in the legal community, who believe that the minister has come there to make “arrangements” for Asma’s election, it added.

Though Asma had earlier supported the lawyers’ movement and the restoration of judges, she changed her stance soon after the formation of the PPP government and became a harsh critic of the Supreme Court, and has been making some anti-judiciary statements especially in response to its December 16, 2009 judgment, which not only declared Musharraf’s November 3 emergency as illegal and unconstitutional but also sent the Dogar court judges home.

While the lawyers are taking a serious note of the shift in her stand, interestingly, Iqbal Haider, who had worked with her in the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, is openly labeling her as the government-backed candidate.

On the other hand, the second candidate for the position of SCBA President- Ahmad Awais- has always appreciated the apex court judgments in all his statements, which have gone well with the lawyers, the media and the civil society in general, the paper said.

Apart from them, the PCO judges, former attorney general and pro-Musharraf lawyers are backing Asma against Ahmad Awais, a candidate of Professional Group led by Hamid Khan. These elements want to settle their scores with the SC.

At the top of the list of her supporters is PPP Senator Sardar Latif Khosa, who has also faced strong admonition from the SC on the allegations of corruption.

Former judge Ahsan Bhoon had betrayed the lawyers by quitting the the LHCBA’s president slot during their movement for restoration of the judiciary. He had accepted judgeship during the Musharraf’s rule. He was removed through the SC’s July 31 judgment, along with other PCO judges. The remaining PCO judges, including Akram Qureshi, Ramzan Ch, Irfan Qadir, Anwarul Haq Punnhu, Zulifqar Bokhari and Zafarul Haq, are wooing voters for Asma Jahangir. Irfan Qadir was later appointed NAB prosecutor general but was removed in the light of the SC’s decision.

Next on the list of her supporters is Mansoorur Rehman Afridi, a former president of the Lahore Bar Association. He was the first person who had invited Pervez Musharraf to a reception at a hotel.

Rana Ijaz Ahmad had enjoyed the slot of provincial law minister during Pervez Musharraf’s set-up. Rana has extended his support to Asma.

Malik Qayyum was appointed attorney general by Pervez Musharraf. The Supreme Court in its judgment on the National Reconciliation Ordinance had strongly criticised him, because he had withdrawn the Swiss cases against President Asif Zardari without having any authority to do so. He is also backing Asma. Asma Jahangir had supported the lawyers’ movement and restoration of judges but she changed her stance soon after the formation of the PPP government and became a harsh critic of the Supreme Court. The lawyers are also taking a serious note of the shift in her stand.

Interestingly, Iqbal Haider, who had worked with Asma in the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, is openly labeling her as the government-backed candidate.

Other prominent supporters of Ms Jahangir include, Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Senator Kazim Khan, Justice (retd) Sabihuddin, Abid Hassan Minto, SM Masood, Azam Nazir Tarar (former secretary LHCBA), Shehram Sarwar (ex-secretary LHCBA), Malik Saeed Hassan, Rana Ijaz Ahmad, Mian Israrul Haq (former president LHCBA), former judge Ramzan Chaudhry who was appointed during Musharraf’s era and removed by the SC, are also quite active in wooing voters for Asma. Moreover, Ali Zafar, son of PML-Q Senator SM Zafar, is also a supporter of Asma.

On the other hand, Ahmad Awais, a former president of Lahore High Court Bar Association, enjoys backing of a large number of voters and the track record of Professional Group showed that it had been consecutively winning the SCBA’s top slot for four years.

Awais had been in the forefront of the lawyers’ movement for an independent judiciary and for ouster of Pervez Musharraf. He was the first man among the legal community who had raised voice for Musharraf’s trial under Article 6 of the Constitution. He is also a close relative of former head of ISI Gen (Retd) Hameed Gul.

The supporters of Awais include former presidents of LHCBA like Justice (retd) Ch Arif, Anwar Kamal, Justice (retd) Karamat Nazir Bhandari, Saeed Ahmad Ansari, Justice (retd) Ameer Alam Khan, Kaleem Ahmad Khurshid, Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal, incumbent LHCBA President Mian Abdul Qaddus and Justice (Retd) Rasheed Rizvi, president of Sindh Bar Association.

Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique has announced support for Awais. Justice (retd) Fakharun-Nisa Khokhar, who was elected MNA on the PPP ticket on reserved seats, is backing Ahmad Awais, going against the party guidelines.

A prominent name of the lawyers’ movement Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad from Karachi and incumbent president of Balochistan High Court Baz Kakar are also backing Awais.

Former president SCBA Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan has kept himself at distance from the bar politics. He had gone abroad and would not return till the polling day. However, Hamid Khan’s group is claiming his support. Lahore has gained significant importance in the polls, as almost half of the eligible voters are registered here. The city is considered to be a strong hub of the Professional Group. The total number of eligible voters is 2126, including 1,018 voters registered in Lahore.

Four candidates are in the field for the seat of secretary, including Sohail Dar, Malik Munsif Awan, Qamar Zaman Qureshi and Rana Farman Ali Sabir.

Twelve candidates are vying for one seat each of vice president for all four provinces. They include Jahanzaib Jadoon and Mohsin Javed for Balochistan, Malik Manzoor Hussain and Arif Khan for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Hameed Talib Rana, Abdul Sadiq Chaudhry, Malik Imtiaz Mahl and Zubair Khalid for the Punjab, while KA Wahab, Shafaat Hussain, Shamsuddin Khalid Ahmed Ansari and Syed Jamil Ahmed are contesting for Sindh seat.

Saliheen Moghal and Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta are contesting for one seat of additional secretary. Sanaullah Zahid has already been elected unopposed as finance secretary of the SCBA. Hopes are high among the old cronies of Musharraf about the win of Asma Jahangir, who is also enjoying the blessings from Islamabad to break the four-year-long hegemony of the Professional Group led by Hamid Khan in the Supreme Court Bar Association

The ephemeral victory of Ms. Jahangir has brought to light the blatent interference from foreign forces into the bar of Pakistan. The fight has just begun. Ms. Jahangir will face very stiff opposition from galvanized forces who have already begun to prepare for the next elections. Agencies, The News, Tribue, Sify etc.


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