LAHORE As many as 2,126 members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) from all over the country, will vote Wednesday (today) to elect their body for the year 2010-11 in a situation marked by a tension between the executive and the judiciary over the implementation of important decisions of the SC which has also lent extraordinary significance to the SCBA elections this time. That is the reason a close contest is expected particularly for the office of president of the bar. Unlike the past, the lawyers who led the legal fraternity during the last two-year long historic battle for the independence of judiciary, stand divided this time on pro-judiciary and pro-govt basis and so is the case with the bar associations and the bar councils. This line is founded on what the experts say, the judicial pressure on the executive for acting upon NRO and other cases as well as for putting the system on track purging it of the evils of the powerful elites, while the other side repelling the same as interference in the govts affairs. An added interest and involvement of the ruling party and the liberal grants to the bar and huge spending on campaign is another important feature of the bar elections this time. The reported executive proclivity towards withdrawing the notification whereof judges were restored on March 16, 2009 and knee jerk strong reaction both at the public and the judicial level to that will summarize the present sensitive nature of ties between the judiciary and the executive and the current elections of the bar is being evaluated in this background. Given the situation experts say that one group wants to keep the spirit of lawyers movement alive to defend the independent judiciary against the executive defiance, while the other, to make the judiciary defensive against the executive authority. This all has made the contest not only important but also a crucial one, particularly when Punjab, the largest province commanding strength of 1608 voters in its four stations, has the turn to enjoy presidentship of the bar this time. For important slot of the President of the bars, the virtual straight fight is expected between Ahmad Awais and Asma Jahangir, while Ch Ikram, an Islamabad-based lawyer and former vice president SCBA, is also in the run. Both the main contestants are enjoying the support of bigwigs of the community while leaders of the movement divided between them. Pakistan Bar Council presently led by the PPP Senator Kazim Khan and President Lahore Bar Association are supporting Asma Jahangir while outgoing president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Qazi Anwar and Lahore High Court Bar Association President and other office-bearers are with Ahmad Awais. Same way, movements leaders namely Ali Ahmad Kurd, Justice (r) Tariq Mahmood, Munir A Malik, Fakharuddin G Ibrahim are with Asma Jahangir who mainly represents Khwaja Sultan Ahmad and Ch Ashraf Wahla group. In Punjab, she is also being supported by the judges removed by the present judiciary as infected by PCO. Peoples Lawyers Forum is also backing Asma Jahangir, an internationally fame lady for her human rights activity and HR cases. Progressive and liberal minded Asma is enjoying the support of lawyers stalwarts. She is carrying the agenda of lawyers welfare and dispels the impression that she is a government candidate but one put in the field by the lawyers with a consensus. Ahmad Awais, former President LHCBA and rightist, has been fielded by Hamid Khan group, which right from Musharraf referendum in April 2002 till today has been in a struggle. He is also being supported by movement leaders Rashid Rizvi, Bar Muhammad Kakar and AS Salam, Aamer Raza Khan and others. Hamid Khan group spearheaded the movement against Musharraf when he was calling the shots on every matter and later, came out with others, to stand by Chief Justice Ifitkhar Muhammad Chaudhry when Musharraf sacked him unceremoniously on March 9, 2007. Hamid Khan group by virtue of its strict stand for pro-independent judiciary, is critical of the government overtures towards the SC decisions. Ahmad Awais said in a chat that he stands for the independent judiciary as such he would not let the lawyers struggle go waste. He said the authoritative position of the judiciary could sustain when its decisions were implemented. He dispelled the impression that he represented the judges and said, he stood for rule of law. He named the big names like Amir Alam Khan, KN Bhandari and PML(N) as supporting him in the election. For the second key post of Secretary office, Qamar Zaman Qureshi, Sohail Dar, Rana Farman Ali Sabir and Mansab Awan are in the run. They all belong to Lahore and has been associated with the lawyers movement one way or the other. Unofficial result of the election would be announced in the evening Wednesday (today).