LAHORE - The role of legal fraternity as the guard of judiciary against the expected executive onslaught on it, has taken the centre stage in campaign for the Supreme Court Bar Association election scheduled for October 27, for the year 2010-11. The possibility aired by some private TV channels about government withdrawing the notification issued on March 16, 2009, to restore the judges, and the SCs immediate notice and check on it, has lime-lighted the lawyers importance once again to stand up for the judiciary and play a role to defend it even with more vigour than the one they showed when former President Pervez Musharraf brought in November 3, 2007 PCO and sacked around 60 judges of the superior judiciary in a single stroke. The candidates in the SCBA election are going with the sentiments and aspirations of the voters in their campaigning. The main contest as it ever happens in the election at this level of Bar, is for the slot of the president and the tempo and momentum of the campaign for this office, is intense and vital, given the fact, this time round, the Punjab, taking its turn in rotation after Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, is going to give president to the SBCA. Of the total 2,126 votes, the number of voters in the Punjab is 1,608, with Lahore leading them all with 1,018 votes. As such the main focus and hub of candidates campaigning is Lahore, although they are also taking others stations seriously to woo the voters in their favour. Three candidates namely Asma Jahangir, Ahmad Awais and M Ikram Chaudhry are all big names racing for the presidential slot this time. The first two are Lahore-based and the third Rawalpindi. They all played sheet anchor role in their own style and position to stand up against Musharraf and to speak for the deposed judges which today stand restored and are again grappling with an unsavoury situation created by the possible withdrawal of notification of their restoration amid hearing of the important cases before the SC, the one among them seeking implementation of the NRO decision. Ahmad Awais, a rightist, has been fielded as candidate by the strong Hamid Khan Group, which led the struggle against Pervez Musharraf after March 9, 2007 step of sacking CJP Iftikhar Ch and remained in the fore later on when lawyers struggle became countrywide with the support of civil society and pulled many big names into its folds. Hamid Khan group, since its opposition to Pervez Musharrafs referendum in April 2002, has become a brand name for winning the bar elections. Former President of the Lahore High Court Association, who had also announced to hold Musharrafs mock trial under high treason charges, Ahmad Awais, has a large circle of friends and supporters. Asma Jahangir, is an internationally known personality not only for her profession but human rights activity. For contesting elections she quit the office of the Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which holds worldwide recognition for monitoring implementation of the civil rights in Pakistan especially relating to women and children. Leftist in her views, Asma is being supported by Khawaja Sultan Ahmad Group, Munir Malik, Justice Tariq Mahmood Group and other heavyweights. She and her supporters had largely contributed to lawyers movement against Pervez Musharraf. Ikram Ch if the former Vice-President Supreme Court Bar has been vocal against Pervez Musharraf. Ikram like the other two, commands a lot of respect in the community. Some quarters say, he may prove a dark horse but others say, he can dent the position of other two by winning over a part of their voters to his side hence making the fight more close and interesting. As the D-day is getting nearer, the fight for the presidential slot is becoming tougher and closer seemingly between Ahmad Awais and Asma Jahangir. Meanwhile, speaking at a reception hosted by Khwaja Sultan Ahmad in her honour, Asma Jahangir vowed to continue efforts for the welfare of the community without compromising on their rights and principles. She said over the last four decades she has been struggling for the rights of the lawyers and in future she would continue her efforts. She said she wanted every institution working impartially within its sphere so that the country got stability.