Islamabad [Pakistan], March 3 (ANI): Polling for 37 seats of Pakistan's Senate came to a close on Wednesday and counting of votes is currently underway in the elections in which a total of 78 candidates contested from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad.
According to Dawn, the first Senator hopeful to be declared a winner on a general seat was independent candidate Abdul Qadir from Balochistan, according to unofficial and unverified results.
Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F and Muhammad Qasim of the BNP were also declared winners on general seats from Balochistan.
Meanwhile, polling is still underway in the provincial assemblies, where the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has allowed lawmakers already inside the legislatures to cast their votes.
Out of 78 candidates, 14 are from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), 13 from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), two from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), two from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), 11 from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and one from Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). In addition to this, three candidates will be contesting as independents.
The first vote in the National Assembly was cast by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Shafiq Arain while the second one was cast by federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Dawn reported.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser and Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif are among those who have cast their votes for the elections of Pakistan's Upper House.
The polling began at 9 am today and will continue till 5 pm without any break. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) staff reached the Parliament House in Islamabad early morning on Wednesday to initiate proceedings of the elections.
The polls are being held after a long-drawn open ballot controversy, after President Arif Alvi had signed the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to pave the way for Senate elections to be held via an "open and identifiable ballot".
The controversy kept the ruling and opposition in a war of words and a legal battle before the Supreme Court on Monday announced that the polls for the Upper House of Parliament will be held through secret ballot, according to Article 226 of the Constitution.
While the ruling PTI's numerical strength in the Senate is expected to almost double from the existing 14 seats, the fiercest contest is expected between former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is contesting as a joint candidate of the 11-party opposition alliance - Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser to PM Imran Khan on Finance, Dawn reported. (ANI)