|A Pakistani woman casts her vote at a polling station in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, Aug. 22, 2013. Voting started in Pakistan's by-elections on Thursday that will test the popularity of the ruling and opposition parties, officials said. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
ISLAMABAD, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Voting started in Pakistan's by- elections on Thursday that will test popularity of the ruling and opposition parties, officials said.
Elections are being held on 41 seats including 15 National Assembly seats and 26 Provincial Assemblies seats across the country.
These seats were vacated by those members who had won more than one seats in the May 11 elections and on those seats where candidates had been killed and disqualified over fake education degrees.
Nearly 500 candidates representing different political parties are in the run. Over 8 million people are eligible to cast votes.
The polling process began at 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p. m., without any break.
Troops have been deployed at some sensitive polling stations to ensure security, election commission officials said.
A total of 7,606 polling stations are established for the by- elections.
Unofficial results will be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan at the conclusion of counting Thursday night.
The Election Commission has imposed ban on keeping mobile phones at the time of polling votes in the by-elections. Presiding officers have been directed to ensure secrecy of vote.
The army commanding officers, deployed at the polling stations, have been given powers of First Class Magistrate to punish those who will create law and order problem.
TV channels and radio stations are airing live programs and holidays have been declared in areas where the elections are being held.