Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is seeking a new five-year term in uniform on Saturday in a key poll which the opposition has threatened to boycott to rob the General's expected victory of any credibility.
Supported by the ruling PML-Q, Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, is projected to win the approval of the national and provincial assemblies which constitute the electoral college.
A day before the poll, the Supreme Court hearing petitions against Musharraf's candidature said the election can go ahead as scheduled but the result should not be announced till it decides on the matter.
The polling for the presidential election will be held simultaneously at Parliament House in Islamabad and the provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, North West Frontier Province and Balochistan. The electoral college will vote under the secret ballot system.
Special sessions of Parliament and the provincial assemblies have been convened for the polling, which will be done between 10 am and 3 pm.
Chief Election Commissioner Qazi Mohammad Farooq, who will preside over the session at Parliament House, can extend the polling time under special powers delegated to him.
There was tight security at the Parliament House, with every person entering the premises being checked by security personnel deployed in the area.
Ex-Premier Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan People's Party (PPP) candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Wajiihuddin Ahmed, a former Supreme Court lawyer who has been nominated by the lawyers' community, are challenging Musharraf in the poll. Fahim was fielded by PPP despite the party having power- sharing talks with Musharraf's representatives.