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Arguments sought on petition against Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s appointment

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday sought arguments on a petition challenging the probable appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as Pakistani envoy to the United States.

Justice Athar Minallah, who headed a single bench, was hearing the petition filed by Shahzad Siddiqui Alvi, who requested the court to declare Siddiqui’s nomination for the post as illegal and unconstitutional.

Siddiqui, who is prime minister’s special assistant, has been designated as Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington.

The judge observed that the appointment of a diplomat is a policy matter and doesn’t fall within the domain of the court. When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t raise any objection on his appointment, what objections the court could have, he asked.

Justice Minallah said as per amicus curiae neither career diplomats nor the petitioner himself would be affected by such an appointment.

The petitioner’s counsel, however, insisted that the respondent was not eligible to be appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US. He said as per policy 80 per cent professional diplomats and 20 per cent non-career diplomats are posted as ambassadors to important stations.

Besides, the lawyer said the envoy-designate is facing a NAB inquiry and therefore could not be appointed to such an important position and that the anti-graft watchdog had already asked the relevant authorities for placing his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The bench directed the lawyer to satisfy it as to under what law Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s nomination is illegal.

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