Islamabad: All eyes are on senate elections as polling for 37 vacant seats of the upper house has begun.
According to details, the polling will start at the Parliament House Islamabad and the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 09:00 am and will continue till 5:00 pm without any interval.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), sixty candidates are contesting on general seats, thirty-one on women, twenty on Technocrat/Ulema seats while ten candidates are in the field on non-Muslims seats.
Moreover, fifty-two senators in the house of 104 are set to retire on 11th of this month on completion of their six-year term.
A tough encounter is expected in National Assembly for the Islamabad seat where joint candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Yusuf Raza Gilani are contesting against ruling party candidate Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
The top electoral body directed all the Chief Secretaries and the Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to ensure presence of every member of National or Provincial Assembly in its custody, at their designated polling stations for casting their votes.
It is pertinent to mention here that this year's senate polls were marred by controversies over the method of polling with government supporting the idea of open ballot senate elections, while opposition parties rejecting it.
On December 23, 2020, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government filed a reference in Supreme Court (SC), signed by President Arif Alvi, seeking guidance of the apex court over the matter of holding senate elections by open ballot.
On Monday, the apex court announced that Senate polls cannot be held through open ballot under Article 226 of the Constitution. A day later, the election commission also said that this year's election would be "conducted as provided in the Constitution and law as per past practice".