In a decade-long dispute, India and Pakistan fighting for the rights of around 35 million pounds belonging to the Nizam of Hyderabad, late Nizam Osman Ali Khan, at the time of Partition in 1947 and deposited in a London bank account, has reached an important stage in the United Kingdom High Court.
The Nizam's descendants, Prince Mukarram Jah and his younger brother Muffakham Jah, have joined hands with the government of India in the legal pursuit for the fortune, further strengthening the case in India’s favour while Pakistan has been claiming the riches to be rightfully theirs.
The dispute between the two countries revolves around 1,007,940 pounds and nine shillings that were transferred in 1948 from the then Nizam of Hyderabad to the high commissioner in Britain of newly-formed Pakistan. That amount has since grown into millions as the Nizam's descendants, supported by India, claim it belongs to them and Pakistan counter-claims that it is rightfully theirs.
The case between both the countries is underway in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The trial which is being presided over by Justice Marcus Smith is listed as The High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom versus seven others, including the Nizam’s descendants, the Union of India and the President of India.
The judgment from the court is expected in six weeks.
Soon after the independence and formation of Pakistan, the Nizam of Hyderabad, late Nizam Osman Ali Khan, who then wanted to accede Hyderabad to Pakistan, had transferred his fortune to the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Britain and that was then deposited with the NatWest Bank in London.
"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," Paul Hewitt, partner at Withers law firm, which is representing the eighth Nizam of Hyderabad, now in their 80s, in the Royal Courts of Justice in London
The crucial question that the court has to deal with is who exactly is the beneficial owner of the funds. It is to be noted that the Nizam himself had reportedly asked the NatWest Bank to return the funds, which were held back by the bank. The fortune was deposited into the London bank account of the then Pakistan High Commissioner Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola.