Govt should decide in Ali Jehangir’s case: IHC

Published: October 11, 2018
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PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court disposed of a petition, challenging Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s appointment as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, saying that the case did not fall under its jurisdiction and the incumbent government should decide on the matter.

IHC’s Justice Athar Minallah remarked that such appointments were made by prime ministers and the court could not direct either the prime minister or parliament in such cases.

Since, he said, a new government had replaced the previous one which had appointed Siddiqui as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, it should decide about this matter.

The petition was filed by Shahzad Siddiqui Alvi through his counsel Chaudhry Hasan Murtaza Mann.

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It requested the court to declare the appointment a “violation of law, equity, justice, fairness and public policy”.

The petitioner pointed out that Siddiqui was Jehangir Siddiqui’s son and, therefore, part of the JS Group which had been implicated in a “number of criminal investigations”.

According to him, the JS Group had been found involved in the Azgard Nine shares price manipulation that resulted in the stock market meltdown in 2008.

Siddiqui, the petition stated, had also been found to be involved in the matter through his front-men and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had traced the money back to him in this fraud.

Subsequently, he said, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had also filed a complaint in a court.
Siddiqui, the petition stated, was also the president of the JS Bank and according to SECP’s investigation into Azgard Nine fraud, JS Bank was one of the accused.

Moreover, the counsel said, extraordinary cash withdrawals were made during the same stock market fraud, adding that some of these withdrawals were made by people ostensibly living in slum areas of Karachi, including Orangi Town and Keamari.

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These cash withdrawals “are potential cases for money laundering and anti-terrorist financing probe”.

On March 15 this year, NAB served a notice on Ali Jehangir, asking him to appear at its Lahore office, accusing him of causing a loss of Rs40 billion to the national exchequer through embezzlement.
NAB also accused him of syphoning funds amounting to 23.758million euros in 2008 for buying an Italian company, Monte Bello SRL, using a foreign company, Fairytal SRL Sweden, causing loss to the company and shareholders.

NAB, the petition stated, had recommended placing Ali Jehangir’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Terming Jehangir’s appointment as the special assistant to the prime minister in violation of rules, the petition stated that his appointment as the ambassador to the US was “illegal, unlawful and mala fide”.

Justice Minallah remarked that the petition has become infructuous to the extent to special assistant to the PM and as far as his appointment was concerned, the government should take a decision.

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