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Facing charges of embezzlement: Ali Siddiqui will take charge as Pakistan’s envoy to US in June

WASHINGTON -UNS : Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, facing charges of embezzlement, will take charge as Pakistan’s envoy to the United States in the first week of June, outgoing envoy Aizaz Chaudhry stated.

Pakistan’s incumbent ambassador in Washington, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry stated in a news briefing on Wednesday that the agreement for the new ambassador has been received by the Pakistan embassy, on Tuesday, which will subsequently lead to his appointment for the post.

The United States Department of State has also approved the appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as new ambassador of Pakistan to the US.

“I served my country with honour and dignity and I am ready to leave now” Aizaz said.

Aizaz’s ambassadorial period in the US spans over 14 months and he is going to retire on May 29 from his services. Instead of a six-week mandatory period for an ambassador to wind up engagements, Aizaz has requested for only three weeks for himself.

Who is Ali Jahangir Siddiqui?
On March 8, the government appointed Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, prime minister’s special assistant, as Pakistan’s new ambassador to the United States.

In August 2017, Siddiqui was appointed as a special assistant to the premier with the status of a state minister. He is the son of the famous banker and businessman, Jahangir Siddiqui.

The new envoy holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University, US. Ali Jahangir has served as a director in Airblue, Lucky Cement, Azgard Nine along with several other companies. In 2014, he was honoured as a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum.

He also holds some public sector experience after he served as a member of the Privatisation Commission, a member of the Private Sector Advisory Board of the Planning Commission, a member of the Sindh Board of Investment, and as a member of the Community Development Board of the Government of Sindh.

Embezzlement cases against new ambassador
Ali Jahangir is facing National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) charges for selling shares to government institutions above the asking price and causing investors Rs 40 billion worth of losses.
As per the NAB’s notice, Siddiqui is being charged for withdrawing funds in 2008 worth €23.758 million to purchase an Italian company which resulted in heavy losses to the shareholders and Azgard Nine Ltd.

Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in a report revealed that in 2016, Azgard Nine Ltd artificially increased its shares’ price to Rs 70 from Rs 24 in bad faith.

The Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court have received two separate petitions contending 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.

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