LAHORE - Decisions of Lahore High Court and the Pakistan Bar Council on Friday finally cleared the way for holding fresh presidential by-election in LHC Bar Association, ending months-long controversy over the office that started with MA Shahid Siddiquis elevation as judge of the Supreme Court. Polling would be held on Saturday (today) as per schedule announced by the Punjab Bar Council under its supervision. 8,440 eligible voters will elect their president for the third time in space of four months. Though elections were 24 hours away on Friday, both the rival groups were seemed more interested in fighting legal battle rather to woo their voters. Nasira had challenged Pakistan Bar Councils jurisdiction in LHC while Munawar Gondal has approached PBC to stop elections. But both forums did not stop the process of elections as LHC turned down Nasira Iqbals plea to stop Pakistan Bar Council from adjudicating upon elections issue while PBC declined Munawar Gondals request to suspend Punjab Bar Councils order to hold fresh election. LHC in its order observed that elections would only ascertain the will of the Bar members and at this belated stage any interference in elections would be inappropriate. The court is confident that PBC will never act in defiance of LHCs finding, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed observed. PBCs three-member appellate committee at Islamabad had permitted to hold Bar election with the condition that the winner would continue to hold office subject to final outcome of pending appeal. Munawar Gondal had challenged Punjab Bar Councils decision in PBC to hold fresh elections on July 11. Three candidates are vying for the top slot. However, a nail-biting contest is expected between Nasira Iqbal mainly supported by Hamid Khan and Shahid Bilal Khan backed by Khosa Group. Rana Saeed is the third candidate in the run. Nasira, a former judge of the Lahore High Court, had remained a part and parcel of lawyers movement for restoration of independent judges. Former presidents of the Bar including Saeed Ansari, Justice (r) Amir Alam Khan, Hamid Khan, Ahmed Awais and others are backing her. She has also got the support of former judges of the Lahore High Court. She was 'elected as Bar President in controversial election held on June 6. Shahid Bilal Hassan is a sitting member of Punjab Bar Council. He was also the member of a disciplinary committee that entertained Gondals plea against Nasiras election and declared to hold fresh election. He has also served as secretary Lahore Bar Association and enjoying Khosa group support besides many anti-Hamid Khan elements in the Bar. Both the candidates made their all-out efforts to woo the voters amid uncertainty about election. The independent analysts say though Hamid Khans Professional group still pocketed a huge support in the Bar, Bilal is no minnow to election arena as he has got sizeable support in Lahore Bar Association, the place from where he started his Bar politics. Member Punjab Bar Council Ziaud Din Ansari has been appointed chairman election board. He has announced that poling will start at 9:00 am and would continue till 5:00 pm with one-hour lunch interval from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Only those voters would be eligible to cast vote who had been eligible for February 28 polls in which Justice MA Shahid Siddiqui was elected as president. Till that time, LHCBA seemed to be united but the situation changed quickly following Siddqiuis elevation as judge of the Supreme Court after restoration of the deposed judges. Vice President Munawar Gondal assumed the office of president as per the Bar rules. The lawyers community receiving appreciations from all walks of life for launching a successful movement, soon indulged itself in game of power politics. The Bar was visibly divided into two rival groups with start of an unending controversy over presidents office. One group was supporting Gondal while other was calling upon holding of fresh elections. Gondal declined to bow down before his opponents demand to announce fresh elections while rivals were adamant not to accept him as president. Their stubbornness led the Bar to the verge of collapse as scene of scuffles and brawls had become a routine matter in the Bar. The black-coats were seen humiliating each other in these scuffles. Finally, the opponent group forcibly threw him out of office and held self-arranged election in which they declared Nasira as winner. PAT to protest against price-hike, loadshedding tomorrow The Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) will take out a protest march against loadshedding, hike in POL and food items prices from Nasir Bagh to Masjid-e-Shuhada on Sunday. The activists of PAT, Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ), Women League, Youth Force from across the province will participate in the protest.