India-Pakistan clash over Nizam of Hyderabad funds in U.K.
The UK high court is overseeing a 70-year old dispute between the grandson of the 7th and last Nizam of Hyderabad, the government of India and the government of Pakistan over £35 million (about Rs 308 crore) stashed away in a British bank account since Partition.
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.
“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.
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.
The judge has been asked to determine the “central question” of who exactly is the “beneficial” owner of the funds belonging to the late Nizam Osman Ali Khan. The Nizam, 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.
After Partition, the 7th Nizam chose for Hyderabad to remain independent. But Hyderabad was annexed to India as a result of Operation Polo between September 13 and 18, 1948.