Rumours, uncertainty and controversies surrounding the much-hyped Senate elections will finally come to rest as polling on 37 vacant seats of the Upper House is going to be held today at the Parliament House in Islamabad and the three provincial assemblies. In Punjab all the 11 candidates returned unopposed following an understanding between the rival political parties, however this model could not be replicated elsewhere in the country. Polling will be held on two Senate seats in the federal capital, 11 in Sindh and 12 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In total, 70 candidates are in the run for the Upper House. In the federal capital, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of PTI and Yousaf Raza Gilani of PPP are vying for the general seat whilst for the woman seat, Fozia Arshad of PTI and Farzana Kausar of PML-N are in the field. Twenty-five candidates are in run from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 26 from Balochistan and 17 from Sindh. The competition between Gilani and Shaikh has acquired great significance because of the party position in the National Assembly where the ruling alliance has a majority of just 20 votes. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers spent another busy day at the Parliament House on Tuesday to muster support for Hafeez Shaikh. On the other hand, the opposition parties are also confident that they will clinch the general seat from the federal capital, which they say will be a huge set back to the ruling party and a sign of no-trust on the government. As part of canvassing, the PPP leadership also approached Syed Ali Nawaz Shah, MNA from Mirpurkhas, who won the NA-218 seat in 2018 election as an independent candidate defeating the PPP and PTI candidates. Syed Ali Nawaz Shah has assured to vote for Gilani. Agencies add: Special Assistant to Chief Minister for Information Kamran Bagash on Tuesday said that two independent MPAs and one Pakistan Muslim League-Q member of Khyber Pakhtunkwa Assembly have announced unconditional support for PTI candidates in the Senate election. MPA Faisal Zaman, independent candidate from PK-42, Haripur; PML-Q parliamentary leader in Khyber Pakhtunkwa Assembly Mufti Obaid ur Rehman and Ihtisham Javed, MPA elected from PK 95, DI Khan, have pledged to vote for PTI candidates in the Senate elections. The ECP said on Tuesday that voting during the Senate polls will be held as ‘per past practice’. The ECP issued a statement sharing minutes of its meeting that took place after the Supreme Court’s opinion on the presidential reference seeking the Senate polls through an open ballot. It decided that due to time constraint, the Senate election scheduled for March 3 will be conducted as provided in the constitution and law as per past practice. “The commission deliberated on the order/opinion of the Supreme Court passed today in Presidential Reference No. 1/2020 and decided to implement it in letter and spirit,” the ECP’s statement read. It added that the commission is taking all possible steps and measures to fulfil its constitutional duty to check that corrupt practices in the Senate elections are guarded against. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said he is surprised to see the ECP’s decision to delay reforms to ensure transparent polls until the elections. Taking his astonishment to Twitter, the federal minister said that the commission has acknowledged the importance of using technology to prevent vote buying and selling and corruption in the Senate elections. But it is astonishing that the ECP is delaying these reforms until the next elections, he added. “The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan gives a different opinion, but both the institutions are respectable for us,” he maintained. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that ECP has taken the decision regarding Senate polls in the light of Supreme Court’s (SC) opinion as per the Constitution. While reacting to the ECP’s decision of holding the elections as per past practice, she said that the fake leaders should now start preparations to go back to their homes.