Days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the Jinnah House here would be converted into a venue along the lines of Hyderabad House in New Delhi. It will be renovated into an international cultural centre to hold meetings with international delegations.
India and Pakistan on Thursday engaged in a verbal duel over ownership of the property. Pakistan had earlier demanded that the property should be handed over to it for housing its Mumbai consulate.
The Jinnah House was designed by architect Claude Batley in European style, and Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived there in the late 1930s.
Pakistan claims ownership and said any attempt by India to take the building would not be accepted, whereas New Delhi said there was “no doubt” that the building belongs to India.
“Jinnah House is the Indian government’s property. Pakistan has absolutely no locus standi. It will be developed on the lines of Hyderabad House,” said
Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar while responding to a question at the weekly briefing on Thursday.
“It is our property, if someone contests, we will have to fight for it. The ownership of the property is not in question,” he added.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said, “We have a claim over it and we do not accept that anyone tries to take custody of it. They (Indians) have already accepted that it belongs to Pakistan. We have a record of it.”
In August 2007, Jinnah’s daughter, Dina Wadia, had approached the Bombay High Court, claiming that as his sole legal heir, she should be granted possession of the house. After her death, her son Nusli Wadia is carrying on the litigation.