By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan will not relinquish its claim to Jinnah House, the mansion owned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Western Indian city of Mumbai prior to Partition of the subcontinent, said foreign office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal.
According to media reports, Jinnah House had been caught in a legal battle between the government of India and Jinnah’s daughter, Dina Wadia. Wadia had in 2007 moved the Bombay High Court to regain control of the estate. She passed away last year in November.
Pakistan’s announcement of not relinquishing its claim on the house came a day after Indian Minister for External Affairs Shusma Swaraj announced that the Indian government will be turning the estate into an international convention centre after the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) transferred ownership of the house to her ministry.
According to the newspaper, India Today, Swaraj — in a letter to BJP legislator Mangal Prabhat Lodha — said that her ministry will refurbish the bungalow on the lines of Hyderabad House in Delhi.
“The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has instructed us to renovate and refurbish Jinnah House to develop it on the pattern of facilities available in Hyderabad House in Delhi. Accordingly, approval of the PMO was sought for transfer of the property from ICCR to our ministry. PMO has now accorded necessary approvals,” Swaraj was quoted as saying.
On the matter of Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistan operates under the rule of law and therefore cannot hold a prisoner back once their sentence is complete.
“This [Ansari’s release] does not mean we have moved from our stance on the Kashmir dispute.”the spokesman said.