London: A decades-old legal dispute between India and Pakistan over around £35 million belonging to the Nizam of Hyderabad at the time of Partition and deposited in a Londonbank account, has reached an important stage in the U.K. High Court.
The Nizam’s descendants, Prince Mukarram Jah — the titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad — and his younger brother Muffakham Jah, have joined hands with the Indian government in the legal battle against the Pakistan government over the funds lying with the NatWest Bank plc in London.
The dispute revolves around 1,007,940 pounds and nine shillings that were transferred in 1948 from the then Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, to the High Commissioner in Britain of the newly-formed Pakistan. That amount has since grown into millions.
“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, partner at Withers law firm, which is representing the eight Nizam in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Justice Marcus Smith has been presented with arguments from both sides in the case listed as — The High Commissioner for Pakistan in the U.K. versus seven others, including the Union of India and the President of India. The judgment is expected in six weeks.
The late Nizam Osman Ali Khan, who faced the quandary of joining Pakistan or staying with India at the time of the funds transfer back in 1948, had later reportedly sought the return of the funds. NatWest Bank has since held on to the funds deposited into the account of then Pakistan High Commissioner Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola in safekeeping until its rightful legal owner is established.