Islamabad - The polling for 45 Senate seats, including four newly-added seats in the upper house for minorities, was held in Pakistan Friday.
The voting took place in the four provincial assemblies - Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan - with each choosing 12 senators. All provinces reserve two seats for women, two for technocrats and one for minorities, Geo News reported.
Four senators for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and two for the Islamabad Capital Territory will be chosen by members of the National Assembly.
As many as 98 candidates were in the fray. The new senators will replace 50 outgoing senators who retire March 12 after completing a six-year term.
Counting of votes was under way Friday night, DawnNews reported.
According to unofficial results from Sindh, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led with seven seats, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) secured four and Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F) secured one seat.
Meanwhile, results from Punjab put the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) in the lead as it secured four seats so far, while the PPP bagged two seats.
Elections for 50 Senate seats are held after every three years, but this time 54 senators will be elected because four seats - one in each province - have been reserved for minorities under the 18th Amendment, according to the newspaper.
The Election Commission Thursday declared nine candidates as elected unopposed. Hence, polling is being held for 45 seats, including for four newly-added minorities seats in the upper house.
Eight candidates were in the run for seven general seats each in Sindh and Punjab.
In Balochistan, 19 candidates were in the run for seven general seats, nine for two women seats, eight for two technocrat seats and five for one seat for minorities.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 13 candidates contested for seven general seats, three for two women seats, six for two technocrat seats and two for one minorities' seat.
In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 11 candidates were in the run for four general seats.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that seats in the Senate elections were being "publicly auctioned".
Speaking to reporters outside the NA earlier Friday, he expressed his dismay at the use of money to influence the Senate elections, and suggested that the "bad fish" not only be expelled from parliament, but also thrown out of politics completely.