IHC wants to know why Ali Siddiqui is being appointed as envoy to US


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday sought an explanation over Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s appointment as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States (US) from the cabinet division secretary, foreign secretary, and prime minister’s principal secretary.

The IHC issued notices on a petition challenging Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s appointment as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US.

A bench of the high court also put the attorney general on notice to ensure the filing of comments by the official respondents until the next hearing. The hearing was put off for two weeks.

The petition states that the process of the appointment of Siddiqui, the premier’s special assistant, to such an important post lacked merit.

The petitioner alleged that the federal authorities ignored experienced diplomats and made the appointment on the basis of favouritism and pleaded that the court should strike down Siddiqui’s appointment as US ambassador.

Earlier, a petition was also filed in Lahore High Court (LHC) against the appointment of Siddiqui, saying that the appointment has been made without consulting the federal cabinet.

The petition argued that the appointee doesn’t have the prerequisite experience to serve as an ambassador to the US, hence the court should immediately declare Siddiqui’s appointment as null and void.

Last month, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had approved the appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, son of prominent businessman Jahangir Siddiqui, as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States.

Ali has been serving Abbasi as a special assistant, advising the prime minister on economic and business matters.

Siddiqui is chairman of JS Bank Ltd and son of stockbroker-turned-banker Jahangir Siddiqui. He has previously been a director in Airblue — which is also connected to the prime minister’s family — Lucky Cement, Azgard Nine, and numerous other companies. In 2014, he was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

He will replace Aizaz Chaudhry in Washington, a career diplomat who previously served as a foreign secretary before being appointed the ambassador to the US.