Sunday December 05, 2021

Coronavirus pandemic: PHC moved for postponement of bar elections

June 09, 2020

PESHAWAR: A writ petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday to seek the postponement of the elections of all the district bar associations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Peshawar High Court Bar Association in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The elections are scheduled for June 13 and July 4 this year, respectively. Petitioner Khalid Hamid, a lawyer and candidate for the post of general secretary Peshawar Bar Association, said in his petition that the confirmed cases of Covid-19 had reached 100,000 in Pakistan and the virus was still threat to millions of people in the country.

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council had announced the elections for all bar associations and Peshawar High Court. The elections of all district bar association were due in March this year but were postponed due to the virus threat in the province.

However, he added, the executive committee of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council rescheduled the elections of district bar association for June 13 and that of Peshawar High Court Bar Association for July 4, this year and directed all the elections board and candidates to ensure the polling on these dates. In his writ petition, the petitioner has warned that if a single Covid-19 positive patient among the lawyers or paralegal staff visited the elections/court premises, it might infect the whole crowd who would gather to cast vote in these elections.

Even if the elections are held, he believed, it would neither be a democratic process, nor would the winners be acceptable to a majority of the lawyers since the voting turnout is expected to be extremely low.

Therefore, he said, the court is requested to declare the elections of the bar association throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as being against the directives of the government and hazardous to the lives of lawyer community.

The court was requested to prohibit the respective bodies from holding the bar elections due to Covid-19 pandemic and direct the bodies to make arrangements for caretaker set-up.

The petitioner said the election proceeding of bar association throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may be suspended till the final decision of this writ petition. Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel will represent the petitioner in this case.