A UK High Court judge on Wednesday resolved a legal battle between India and Pakistan that has lasted more than 70 years. The dispute revolved around the 1 million pounds that Nizam VII, then-monarch of Hyderabad, transferred to a British bank in 1948 to support the newly-established Pakistan.
Pakistan contended that the money was compensation for the weapons the government provided to Nizam VII to defend Hyderabad against the Indian army prior to its annexation. India and descendants of Nizam VII countered this argument stating that the money was transferred abroad for safekeeping.
Justice Marcus Smith ruled in favor of India and the Nizam’s descendants. He wrote:
The Princes’ and India’s alternative claims in restitution succeed against (i) Pakistan and (ii) in the alternative, the Bank. I find that Pakistan’s assertion of a defence of limitation is an abuse of the process of the court and order that the paragraphs in Pakistan’s statements of case asserting this defence be struck out. The Bank never pleaded a defence of limitation, and I find that a claim in restitution is properly maintainable against the Bank.
The Pakistan Foreign Office will take further action after reviewing the high court’s judgment.