The High Court of England and Wales on Thursday ordered Pakistan to pay India and two princes 65% of their legal costs in connection with a case pertaining to its claim to £1 million (now valued around £35 million or Rs 324 crore) that the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, sent to a London bank in 1948. The legal costs for Pakistan, whose case the court had rejected in October, run into millions of pounds, Hindustan Times reported.
The court ordered Pakistan to pay Prince Muffakham Jah £1.8 million, the Government of India £2.8 million and Mukarram Jah, the eighth Nizam, £795,064.63 in legal costs.
Advocate Paul Hewitt, the eighth Nizam’s lawyer, expressed his satisfaction with the verdict. “Today’s hearing brings this litigation, which started in 2013 but where the underlying dispute dates back to in 1948, to an end at long last,” he said. Hewitt said Pakistan had decided not to contest the ruling.
“Our client His Exalted Highness the Eighth Nizam will now have access to the funds which his grandfather, HEH the Seventh Nizam, intended him to have,” Hewitt added.
India and the Nizam’s descendants – Mukarram Jah and Muffakham Jah – had contested Pakistan’s claim that the money was a payment for supply of arms to the state of Hyderabad, which was annexed by India.
The Nizam had transferred the money to the then ambassador of Pakistan in London, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, for safe-keeping. Rahimtoola had, in turn, agreed “to keep the amount mentioned by you in my name in trust”. The amount lies in National Westminster Bank in London, with interest accruing over the years.