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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pakistan, India fight over £35 million Hyderabad’s Nizam left

Nizam of Hyderabad left a fortune in a UK bank and India-Pakistan have since been fighting over the possession. The claims by the family heirs are that Nizam left the money in legacy to them while Pakistan claims it to be a gift from Nizam on partition.

News Desk |

Pakistan and India are battling over the funds of £35 million deposited by Hyderabad Nizam in the Natwest Bank London since the partition. The two states are clashing over the possession of the money at the Royal Court of Justice in London.

The then Nizam of Hyderabad, late Osman Ali Khan, had transferred 1,007,940 pounds and nine shillings to the NatWest Bank. The value of the funds, accruing interests over the last 70 years now worth 35 million pounds.

A decades-old dispute reached the climax when the descendants of the Nizam Hyderabad, Prince Mukkaram Jah, the titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad, and his younger brother Mufakkham Jah joined hands with the Government of India to win the possession of the fund lying in the Natwest Bank.

Pakistan had assisted Hyderabad in her attempts at self-defense against Indian aggression by arranging the supply and transportation of arms to Hyderabad.

The Nizam’s descendants claim the amount belongs to them and Pakistan counter-claims that it is rightfully theirs.

The case has been registered in the name of High Commissioner of the Pakistan United Kingdom versus seven others, including the Nizam’s ancestors, the Union of India and President of India.

The 7th Nizam of Hyderabad had transferred the amount to the high commissioner of the Pakistan Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola. The ambassador agreed to “to keep the amount mentioned by you in my name in trust.”

The two-week trial presided by Justice Marcus Smith has the task to ascertain of the ‘beneficiary’ owner of the funds. He is bound to give the decision in the next two months regarding the legitimate owner of the funds.

Read more: A journey back into Pakistan’s convoluted history

“His Exalted Highness Nizam VIII and his younger brother have waited decades to receive what their grandfather gifted them. Pakistan has blocked access for 70 years and we hope the recent trial will mean a final resolution at last,” said Paul Hewitt, the legal counsel representing eight Nizam of Hyderabad in the Royal Court of Justice, London.

Gift To Pakistan

Pakistan’s legal counsel Khawar Qureshi QC based his argument on the historical background of the partition and India’s violation of the assurances by Great Britain and United Nations that it will not annex the state of Hyderabad.

Qureshi stated the money was a gift for the people of Pakistan from Nizam of Hyderabad. Pakistan claims the amount was provided to Pakistan during India’s annexation in 1948.

Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi QC in the case said: “Pakistan had assisted Hyderabad in her attempts at self-defense against Indian aggression by arranging the supply and transportation of arms to Hyderabad.”

The Nizam had given the money to Pakistan’s envoy since he feared that the money and the state’s sovereignty would disappear and hence he can only trust Pakistan with the money.

Read more: Creating the State: Pakistan and the Accession of Kalat, 1947-48

The descendants of Nizam, who were allowed to rule the titles of the Prince in the case, against the laws by the Indian government in the case stated, Nizam had a second thought and he had assigned the money to the state of India under an assignment signed in 1965, two years before his death in 1967.