UK court rejects Indian attempt to strike out Pakistan’s claim to Hyderabad Fund

ISLAMABAD: An English High Court rejected Indian attempt to strike out Pakistan’s claim to the Hyderabad Fund, in a 75-page judgment by Judge Henderson J, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

India failed to persuade the court that Pakistan’s position was untenable and that it could show no legal entitlement to the 35 million GBP sitting in a bank account in the name of the High Commissioner of Pakistan, since September 20, 1948.

The judge accepted that there was good evidence in support of Pakistan’s claim to the monies, which needed to be fully considered at a trial. He also accepted that there were good legal arguments which were supportive of Pakistan’s position.

India will face substantial costs claim, as a result of losing its applications, a statement from the Foreign Office said. Pakistan’s legal team led by Khawar Qureshi QC advanced strong legal arguments and placed cogent evidence before the judge, which defeated the Indian argument that Pakistan’s claim to the monies was not valid.

The judge considered the evidence which pointed that events in 1947-1948 were very tense. The State of Hyderabad, which the Judge accepted was a sovereign state at the time, was in danger of being attacked and taken over by India, and had called upon Pakistan for assistance.

The UK government’s archive documents, record growing concern voiced by British Government officials at the conduct of India towards the State of Hyderabad and its people, which included imposing a blockade, preventing supplies of medicines and food from entering the State of Hyderabad, all designed to force the Nizam to join India.

When Quaid-e-Azam passed away in 1948, India seized the opportunity to invade and quickly subjugated the Nizam. Pakistan had emerged from partition with only three per cent of the weapons it was entitled to.

The evidence of assistance that was placed before the court came from the official British archives. They uncovered contemporaneous British intelligence reports and British government documents, which recorded in great detail the knowledge on the part of the British government, of this assistance.

India dismissed these materials, even though they came from British intelligence sources, and argued that because the Nizam had asked for the return of the monies within days of its transfer to Pakistan, he must be taken not to have consented to it being handed over to Pakistan.

Judge Henderson J observed that it might be naive to expect the Nizam to have been acting of his own free will after India had invaded his country, and forced him to surrender and hand over power.

The case will now proceed to trial, unless settled. Pakistan had offered to mediate in front of retired Law Lords Lord Hoffman or Lord Hope in July 2015, but India had refused on the basis that it believed Pakistan’s claim was not valid.

Pakistan remains committed to resolving all disputes by negotiation and believes that the path to peace and progress lies in dialogue, the Foreign Office said. The statement added that if the case does not settle, Pakistan was fully confident that its legal team would prevail.

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