India on Thursday said Jinnah House in Mumbai is government property and rejected Pakistan’s claims of ownership of it.
“Pakistan has no locus standi as far as this property is concerned,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing. “It is a government of India’s property and we are in the process of renovating it.” He was responding to a question on Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry claiming it would not relinquish claim over the property.
The Jinnah House in Malabar Hill, Mumbai, was originally owned by Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, where he lived in the late 1930s.
Kumar said the government is considering using Jinnah House along the lines of Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Hyderabad House was constructed for the last nizam of Hyderabad and was acquired by the government after Independence.
On Thursday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said her ministry was in the process of acquiring the property and renovating it to host government events, reported Hindustan Times. Pakistan has been demanding that the property be handed over to it to house its Mumbai consulate.
There has been a legal battle over the property between the government of India and Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, who in 2007 moved the Bombay High Court to regain control of the property. Wadia died in November last year and her son Nusli Neville Wadia is carrying on the litigation.
When asked about the court case, Kumar said it had nothing to do with who is contesting the government. “This property belongs to the government of India.”