Wednesday March 22, 2023

Military men, journalist, bankers also remained ambassadors to US

March 09, 2018

LAHORE: Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2014, will be the 25th Pakistani Ambassador to the United States since October 8, 1948 when a trusted lieutenant of Quaid-i-Azam, Mirza Abul Hassan Ispahani (1902-1981) was appointed to this extremely vital diplomatic slot.

Abul Hassan Ispahani, a scion of the affluent Bengali business family - MM Ispahani Limited - had served on this position for three years and four months till February 8, 1952. Investment banking expert and special assistant to the Prime Minister, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui is probably the youngest-ever Pakistani to be appointed Ambassador to the United States and hold the reins of the country's Washington, D.C. embassy, which was built on August 28, 1947, just a fortnight after Pakistan had attained independence from Great Britain. Apart from Abul Hassan Ispahani, a few more internationally-acclaimed Pakistani business magnates like Syed Amjad Ali have strived to improve the otherwise bumpy Pak-US bilateral ties during these last seven decades. Some former ambassadors later rose to command important positions in the Pakistani government, with one of them, Muhammad Ali Bogra, becoming the country’s Prime Minster.

So prestigious is this particular foreign posting that after he was removed from power by the-then Governor General Iskander Mirza, Muhammad Ali Bogra was again chosen to serve as country's envoy on world super power's soil. Similarly, Pakistan's former Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan and country's former Army Chief Jahengir Karamat were also entrusted with the task to act as country's Ambassadors to the United States at crucial junctures of national history. Before Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, the following ladies and gentlemen have spearheaded Pakistan's diplomatic mission to the United States:

Mirza Abul Hassan Isphani (October 8, 1948 to February 8, 1952), former Pakistani Premier Mohammad Ali Bogra (February 27, 1952 to April 16, 1953), Syed Amjad Ali of the eminent Packages Group (September 26, 1953 to September 17, 1955), Premier Mohammad Ali Bogra again after being dethroned (November 1955 to March 1959), former Foreign Minister and a career diplomat during Cold War Aziz Ahmed (March 23, 1959 to July 1963), Ghulam Ahmed (July 19, 1963 to September 15, 1966), senior diplomat and the man who facilitated the secret visit of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to China, Agha Hilaly (October 21, 1966 to October 20, 1971), Major General N.A.M. Raza (October 22, 1971 to April 22, 1972), Foreign Office diplomat Sultan Muhammad Khan (May 15, 1972 to December 8, 1973), former Foreign

Minister Lt. General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (December 19, 1973 to January 3, 1979, Sultan Muhammad Khan again (January 13, 1979 to December 31, 1980), Lt. General Ejaz Azim (July 7, 1981 to September 15, 1986), renowned Cricket commentator and one of the longest-serving world ambassadors, Jamshed Marker (September 17, 1986 to June 30, 1989), Air Chief Marshal (retired) Zulfiqar Ali Khan (July 12, 1989 to September 15, 1990), career diplomat Najmuddin Sheikh ( October 14, 1990 to November 22, 1991), politician Abida Hussain (November 26, 1991 to April 24, 1993), journalist Maliha Lodhi (January 21, 1994 to January 30, 1997), diplomat Riaz Khokhar (March 12, 1997 to September 7, 1999), diplomat Tariq Fatemi (September 8, 1999 to December 16, 1999), Maliha Lodhi again (December 17, 1999 to August 4, 2002), former special representative of UN Secretary-General Ashraf Jahangir Qazi (August 19, 2002 to August 6, 2004), former Army Chief General (retired) Jahengir Karamat (November 17, 2004 to June 3, 2006), Major General (retired) Mahmud Durrani (June 5, 2006 to May 9, 2008), journalist and academician Hussain Haqqani (May 26, 2008 to November 22, 2011), journalist-turned-politician Sherry Rehman (November 23, 2011 to May14, 2013), diplomat Jalil Abbas Jillani December 2013 to February 2017) and Aizaz Chaudhary (current ambassador since March 2017). As the above list of Pakistani ambassadors to the United States shows, the third Pakistani Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra, career diplomat Sultan Muhammad Khan and journalist Maliha Lodhi have gone on to hold this office twice each.

As far as Ali Jahangir Siddiqui's business profile is concerned, former New York Mayor and the Seventh richest American tycoon Michael Rubens Bloomberg's financial services, mass media, and software company "Messrs Bloomberg LP" writes: "Ali Jehangir Siddiqui serves as the Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner at JS Private Equity and JS Private Equity Fund I. Mr. Siddiqui serves as a Principal of JS Group. He served as an Associate of Crosby Capital Limited (currently, AID Partners Technology Holdings Limited). He served as a Member of the founding team of Mr. Siddiqui works closely with potential investees."

The New York-based "Bloomberg," which operates 192 offices world through its 19,000 employees and earns revenues to the tune of US $ 9 billion, adds: " He started with his first start-up, Advance Micro Research (sold in 1995), where he integrated multiconsole network systems. He served as a Director with Crosby Capital Partners and was based in Hong Kong. Prior to Crosby, he was an Associate with Techpacific Capital where he was part of a team that managed private equity and venture funds investing in Asia-Pacific. He has been advising start-ups in the US, Europe and Asia for several years. He serves as Chairman of at JS Private Equity and JS Private Equity Fund I. He serves as the Chairman of Pak American Fertilizers Ltd. He serves on the Board of Directors of (which he co-founded)."

This globally renowned financial services and mass media firm maintains: "Mr. Siddiqui serves on the Boards of a number of fast-growing private sector companies in Pakistan. He served as a Non Executive Director of Jahangir Siddiqui & Co. Ltd. until August 30, 2017. He served as a Non-Executive Director of Al-Abbas Sugar Mills Limited. He serves as a Director of the Acumen Fund (Pakistan), Acumen Fund, Inc., Azgard 9 Ltd., Airblue Ltd. and Pakistan International Container Terminal Ltd. He serves as a Director of the Siddiqui Foundation."

The "Bloomberg" asserts: "He served as a Director of Azgard Nine Ltd. He served as a Director of Pakistan Reinsurance Company Ltd. From 2002 to 2003, he served as an Executive Director of JS ABAMCO, Pakistan's largest private sector mutual fund manager. Prior to JS Group, he served as a Director of Crosby, the investment and merchant bank. He served as a Director of Lucky Cement Ltd. since October 26, 2009. In addition, he is involved with a number of charitable and sustainable development organizations. Mr. Siddiqui received a B.A. in Economics (accelerated graduation) from Cornell University."