Ali Jahangir Siddiqui appointed ambassador-at-large for investment

June 14, 2019

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Siddiqui will hold the position "in an honorary capacity": Foreign ministry — JS Bank archives/File
Siddiqui will hold the position "in an honorary capacity": Foreign ministry — JS Bank archives/File

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced the appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as ambassador-at-large for investment "in an honorary capacity".

An ambassador-at-large is given special duties and not appointed to a particular country.

It is pertinent to mention here that Siddiqui's appointment as Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States in the previous government had been met with severe criticism from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which was in the opposition at the time.

It had been argued at the time that Siddiqui did not have any prior experience regarding diplomatic missions and alleged that he had accountability cases pending against him.

Last year, Siddiqui had been summoned by the National Accountability Bureau in a case allegedly pertaining to him being the director of investment firm Azgard Nine Ltd, while it “siphoned off funds amounting to 23.758 million euros in 2008 for the purchase of an Italian company, Monte Bello SRL, using a foreign company, Fairytal SRL, Sweden, which resulted in a loss to the company and its shareholders.”

According to NAB, a foreign company, Fairtal SRL, Sweden, was used for the deal, which suffered losses along with its shareholders. There are also allegations that the shares of a company named Agritech Limited were sold to various financial and government institutions at a price higher than the market rate to settle loan defaults. This resulted in a loss of Rs40 billion to various financial and government institutions.

In 2016, a Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) report said that prices of Azgard Nine group’s shares were artificially increased from Rs24 to Rs70, and payments were also made to an unidentified party.