Oxford University hosted a discussion on Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and its investment potential with Ambassador Ali J. Siddiqui, Pakistan’s Ambassador At-Large for Foreign Investment and former Ambassador to the United States.
The event held on Thursday 14 November was hosted with Ambassador Siddiqui as part of a series of talks designed to build cross-cultural dialogue and awareness by the Oxford South Asian Society. Previous talks from this series have hosted Rt. Hon. KP Sharma Oli – Prime Minister of Nepal and General Nasser Khan Janjua – former National Security Advisor of Pakistan among other notable leaders.
Speaking to an audience of students, professors and guests; Ambassador Siddiqui shared his personal experience and insights of serving in two key positions within the Pakistan Government. He shed light on his role as the Ambassador to the United States during an especially precarious period that followed President Trump’s New Year tweet against Pakistan, and the diplomatic efforts that eventually opened doors to a better mutual relationship. The moderator acknowledged that many foreign policy experts have recognized Ambassador Siddiqui’s role in bringing Islamabad and DC closer in an exceptionally short period of time.
Ali Jehangir Siddiqui is known for his business acumen, and his work to promote the arts & culture of Pakistan. Siddiqui founded JS Bank in 2006 by acquiring American Express Bank’s Pakistan operations
Speaking on his current role as the Ambassador At Large for Foreign Investment, Ambassador Siddiqui emphasized the Government’s efforts to manage Pakistan’s perception in the global business community. He said that Pakistan holds enormous investment potential that remains untapped. Pakistan is improving its image as an investment hub and looks towards building stronger ties with the developing world. He stated that recent events including an investment of USD 240 Million by Hong Kong based Hutchinson Ports along with Pakistan’s 28 spot jump in the Ease of Doing Business rankings is indicative of growing investor confidence in the government.
Ali Jehangir Siddiqui is known for his business acumen, and his work to promote the arts & culture of Pakistan. Siddiqui founded JS Bank in 2006 by acquiring American Express Bank’s Pakistan operations. Over the space of a decade the Bank has grown to over $4 billion in assets, 5000 employees and branches in over 160 cities in Pakistan. Earlier at the age of 15, he had launched a technology business called Advance Micro Research, where he integrated computer network systems for corporations. The business was sold after he joined university in 1995.
As Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, he worked actively to improve the economic relations between the two countries, which by then were at a low point. He worked closely with the Pakistani Diaspora in US, to engage them especially in the area of investment. In an interview with Global Village Space magazine in August, he pointed out the importance of bilateral trade and saw trade normalization and investment between countries as the best route to enhancing relations between any country. He also expressed the importance of tapping into the huge potential in investment from the diaspora, for example from doctors in health care and in many other areas.
He graduated from Karachi Grammar School in 1995 and then went on to study at Cornell, graduating with a BA in economics. He has also pursued additional educational courses at MIT, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.