Islamabad: Voting for the by-polls for Pakistan’s 11 National and 24 Provincial Assemblies were underway on Sunday, with more than 300 candidates in the fray. Over five million registered voters – about 2.3 million women and almost 2.7 million men – will exercise their right to vote. Overseas Pakistanis will also cast their ballot for the first time in these by-polls, reports Geo Tv.
Polling across 7,489 polling stations, of which 1,727 have been declared “highly sensitive”, began at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m.
Seats up for grabs comprise 11 from National Assembly, 11 from Punjab Assembly, nine from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and two each from Sindh and Balochistan.
In Lahore’s NA-131 constituency, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate Khawaja Saad Rafique is facing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Humayun Akhtar.
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is PML-N’s candidate from NA-124. His opponent in the constituency is Ghulam Mohiuddin of the PTI. In Karachi’s NA-243 constituency, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) is expected to give tough competition to the PTI.
Over 9.9 million ballot papers have been printed for the by-elections and handed over to presiding officers of all polling stations.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has constituted 27 monitoring teams to observe the by-polls who will also examine the distribution of polling equipment and training of the polling staff.