ISLAMABAD: The English High Court today rejected Indian attempt to strike out Pakistan's claim to the Hyderabad Fund.
The Seventy Five (75 page) judgment of Henderson J. is a clear vindication of Pakistan's principled stance, and the effective legal strategy being pursued by the new legal team.
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 20th September 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. The Judge also accepted that there were good legal arguments which were supportive of Pakistan's position.
Sources said India will face a substantial costs claim, as a result of losing its applications.
The 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 heard arguments advanced by Pakistan's Leading Counsel and considered evidence which included that India and the Princes could not assert that Pakistan's claim to the monies was without basis.
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 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-i-Azam passed away, India seized the opportunity to invade and quickly subjugated the VIIth Nizam.
Pakistan had emerged from partition with only 3% of the weapons it was entitled to. Nevertheless, it came to the aid of Muslims whenIndia sought to annex the State of Jammu and Kashmir - a bloody conflict ensued which is still costing innocent lives.
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 VIIth 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. The Judge observed that it might be naive to expect the VIIth Nizam to have been acting of his own free will after India had invaded his country, and forced him to surrender/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.
A foreign office statement Tuesday said Pakistan remains committed to resolving all disputes by negotiation and believes that the path to peace and progress lies in dialogue. The statement said if the case does not settle, Pakistan is fully confident that its legal team will prevail.