ISLAMABAD  - A rift within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's local chapter has widened over the party's likely decision to award ticket to one of the close aides to Imran Khan for National Assembly's constituency NA-53 for July 25 elections.

A number of local leaders of PTI's Islamabad chapter had launched a protest at party's different forums and on the social media against party's decision to award party ticket to Amir Kayani, PTI North Punjab President, for NA-53 while ignoring the local leader Ilyas Meharban. The NA-53 constituency is one of the three constituencies of the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Meharban was sure to get the ticket for the constituency as he in the last 2013 general election had secured 57,383 votes against the winner candidate, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry who had clinched 94,106 votes on a ticket of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

According to sources in the PTI, the party leadership has unofficially told  Meharban about the decision and he has launched his protest with the leadership.

Meharban has been involved in active politics in NA-53 (Old NA-49) during the last five years and has been running the party office there. He had also participated actively in the first ever local bodies’ elections in Islamabad.

On the other hand, PTI critics argue that Kayani has never been involved in politics at the grassroots level and his only qualification was being among the close aides to PTI chief Imran Khan.

Meharban told The Nation that he was not in a position to comment on the issue and waiting for the formal decision.

PTI's Central Media Department head Iftikhar Durrani said that the final announcement about the award of tickets for Islamabad and the rest of the country would be made on June 8 and there was no final decision in this connection.

According to the PTI sources, the party has finalized names for party tickets for all three constituencies of Islamabad including Raja Khurram Nawaz for NA-52, Amir Kayani for NA-53 and Asad Umar for NA-54.