ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Monday directed the federation to submit its reply and stance till Tuesday (today) in a writ petition challenging appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US.

Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition and deferred further hearing after issuing the direction to the Centre to submit reply until Tuesday (today).

During the hearing, a deputy attorney general contended the petition was premature as no notification had so far been issued in this regard.

Justice Athar remarked it was a sensitive issue and asked the federation to explain why it ignored career diplomats in this matter. He said the court would summon the foreign secretary if the deputy attorney general failed to give a satisfactory reply.

Advocate Shahzad Siddique Alvi filed the petition through his counsels, Sajeel Sheryar Swati and Chaudhry Hasan Murtaza Mann advocates, making the federation of Pakistan through the cabinet secretary, the foreign secretary, the prime minister through his principal secretary and Ali Jahangir Siddiqui respondents.

In the petition, the petitioner prayed to the high court to set aside the nomination of Siddiqui for being against the law, the constitution and policies and direct the government to withdraw the impugned order.

The petitioner stated in his petition that Ali Jahangir was arbitrarily appointed first as special assistant to the prime minister with the status of minister of state and then Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States of America. He contended those appointments were made in sheer violation of law, rules and settled principles.

According to the petitioner, Ali Jahangir, being the son of Jahangir Siddiqui, is part of JS Group and has been involved in a number of criminal investigations. Moreover, a number of his group companies are facing criminal investigations. He maintained Ali’s appointment as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US has also been made in grave violation of the law, policies and procedure. The manner of appointment was whimsical and non-transparent, he added.

For the reasons detailed above, the appointment of Ali Jahangir as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US is liable to be cancelled, having been made in an illegal, unlawful and arbitrary manner, said the petition.

He prayed to the court to declare the appointment of Ali Jahangir as Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA null and void and unlawful. The petitioner further requested the court to set aside Ali Jahangir’s appointment as special assistant to the prime minister with the status of minister of state.

He also prayed to the court to direct the respondents to state under what authority of law Ali was appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and special assistant to the prime minister.

The petitioner further prayed to the court to direct the prime minister and the foreign secretary to appoint a career diplomat as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US on merit, keeping in view his experience in the field of diplomacy in the best interest of the nation.