LAHORE Sept 17 (TNS): The polling for much-hyped NA-120 by-election has on Sunday started and voters have started casting their votes, which had fallen vacant after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28.It is the first time in Pakistan that biometric verification machines have been installed at 39 polling stations.
At least 44 candidates, including Begum Kulsoom Nawaz of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Dr Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Faisal Mir of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), are contesting the election.
A close contest is expected between Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid.
There are 321,786 registered voters in the constituency who will exercise their right to vote today. The Election Commission of Pakistan has set up 220 polling stations for the voters.
Election campaign for the by-poll ended at midnight falling between Friday and Saturday.
Army personnel will guard polling stations throughout Saturday night.
Presiding officers were also given ballot papers and other relevant material on Saturday.
Strict security measures were in place at the Election Commission of Punjab offices. No one, apart from presiding officers are allowed inside the building.
The ECP has also decided to test and use biometric polling machines during the by-polls, a first in the country.
The ECP said 100 biometric polling machines have been installed at 39 polling stations and 110 people have been deployed to operate them.
The ballot papers for the upcoming by-election were printed from September 10 onwards, also under the supervision of the Army.
It is pertinent to mention here that the seat fell vacant after Supreme Court (SC) disqualified Nawaz Sharif over Panama Leaks case on July 28.