By: Omer Zaheer Meer
I was recently honored to attend a historic event of the lawyers, by the lawyers, for the lawyers, rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of the community. The host Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Advocate, Chairman Professionals’ Social Network shared that it was the first time after 30 long years that two titans of legal community, the globally renowned Mr. Hamid Khan and widely acknowledged Mian Israr-Ul-Haq shared the same stage in such a high-profile event. When the two went on the stage holding hands the entire venue erupted with thunderous clapping.
The reconciliation between the two legends mentioned above is extremely important as the candidates of Mrs. Asma Jehangir group had been capitalizing on their division in the bar elections. Though the result is never fully certain in any election but with their alliance the fate of the upcoming bar elections seems all but sealed in favor of the candidates supported by the professionals of Mr. Hamid Khan’s group.
The importance of this event was evident from the huge attendance with hundreds of lawyers standing to attend the event till the end upon finding the seating filled-up. Undoubtedly it was one of the larger such gatherings that I have witnessed.
Lawyers are the most educated segment of any society. They’re “double graduates” which becomes more relevant in our country with an officially claimed literacy rate of just 57%. In the context of Pakistan whose founder Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a renowned and top lawyer of his time, this sheds light on the important role lawyers had and can play for the future of the country. Undoubtedly there are good and bad elements in every society and its sub-segments. However with increased awareness of rights and laws, lawyers had traditionally been at the fore front of the campaigns for the rule of law and the rights of the masses. The infamous and unprecedented lawyers’ movement has been a testament to that. It’s also worth noting that bars are one of the most if not the most democratic institutions in Pakistan where elections had been held regularly even during the martial-laws in the country. This is highly commendable considering the troubled history of democracy in Pakistan.
The dependence of an independent and increasingly assertive judiciary on the bars for necessary support to stand up to the tyrants or oppressive regimes make the bar elections extremely important, not just for the lawyers or judiciary but the country as a whole. With Lahore and Punjab High Court Bar elections approaching, lawyers across the electoral domains are gearing up to elect their representatives.
Professionals’ Social Network, a legal chamber as well as an NGO (one that is actually helping masses and especially legal professionals), organized a Hi-Tea on 19th December in the honor of Chaudhary Ishtiaq, the Presidential candidate for Lahore Bar Association (LBA). Among the eminent dignitaries were regal names of legal fraternity including Mr. Hamid Khan, Mian Israr-Ul-Haq, Mian Abdul Quddous, Mr. Syed Kaleem Ahmad Khurshid, Mr. Ahmad Awais, Rana Naeem Sarwar, Muhammad Aslam Zar, Mian Muhammad Aslam, Mr. Baber Waheed, Mr. Syed Muhammad Shah, Mr. Mansoor-ur-Rehman Afridi, Chaudhary Abdul Wahid, Chaudhary Tanvir Akhtar, Mian Khalid Habib Elahi, Mr. Tassawar Hussain Quraishi and Mr. Shafqat Mehmood Chohan, the presidential candidate for Lahore High-Court Bar Association, also graced the occasion.
The event started with beautiful recitation of Holy Quran by Hafiz AbuBakr Awan Advocate who also did “dua” in the end. Muhammad Akbar Advocate’s exquisite “Naat” touched everyone. Rai Salahuddin Kharal Advocate performed the duties of stage secretary delightfully.
Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Advocate in his welcome address thanked the guests of honor, eminent dignitaries, the bar members and media representatives attending the event. He highlighted the historic moment of having both Mr. Hamid Khan and Mian Israr-ul-Haq on the same stage and pointed out that they both share the invaluable qualities of an impeccable character and unflinching financial integrity. He rightly said that their contributions to the legal profession will be written in golden letters. Addressing the elements trying to snub the independent judiciary he warned them that the above mentioned leaders of lawyers’ movement have not retired and lawyers are ready to face them under their command. The hall roared with the sound of claps.
Mr. Ishtiaq Chaudhary Advocate thanked the host and the attendees for supporting his candidature. He presented his manifesto which was lauded by the attendees and promised that whatever the result maybe he will work for the betterment of the legal community. He mentioned his previous contributions and committed to continue with the same essence. His address ended with applause by everyone.
Next Mian Israr-Ul-Haq was welcomed with a standing ovation. He also thanked everyone, then proceeded to praise Mr. Hamid Khan and appreciated the host. Referring to the character, work and reputation of Mr. Ishtiaq Chaudhary, he claimed that he was indeed the best candidate for the LBA. His address was praised and lauded by a highly motivated gathering.
This led to the address of Mr. Hamid Khan who was welcomed with a round of applause with everyone on their feet. His address was regularly greeted with thundering accolades. Thanking the host he appreciated the wonderful gathering. Stating that the lawyers’ movement was for a purpose and lawyers will not shy away from any sacrifices for strengthening the judiciary. He stressed that the institutions are supreme. He praised the work and candidature of Chaudhary Ishtiaq as well as the efforts of Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Advocate and others for running an effective campaign.
Mian Khalid Habib Elahi, advocate Supreme Court then delivered a note of thanks appreciating everyone who attended. Everyone who worked for the success of the event was thanked. Mr. Umair Khan Niazi and his team including Mr. Shahdab Jafri, Mr. Anis Ali Hashmi, Mr. Gohar Nawaz Sindhu, Mrs. Zainab Lodhi and Ms. Zehrish Fatima were specially named and thanked.
This was followed by sumptuous refreshments served individually to everyone. This was impressive as there was no rush, pushing or spilling of food but a calm, content and disciplined environment. If only these traits can become a regular feature of our natural character than with the resources and talent on our disposal, our nation can rise to unprecedented heights of glory.
The writer is a leading economist who is also a qualified chartered accountant, financial analyst and anti-money laundering expert. He can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer or firstname.lastname@example.org