UK court directs Pakistan to pay £150,000 to India as Legal Fee

LONDON: A UK court has directed Pakistan to pay £150,000 to India as legal fees in the 67-year-old Hyderabad Funds case involving the Nizam’s money.
It was held in the case that Pakistan had no ‘sovereign immunity’ and the Judge ordered the Pakistan High Commissioner in London to pay the legal costs incurred by other respondents in the case relating to the ‘Hyderabad Funds’ which is currently valued at £35 million.
The legal costs of the respondents which includes the Government of India, the National Westminster Bank and the Nizam’s heirs, are approximately £400,000. Of this amount, India has been paid £150,000, the National Westminster Bank £132,000 and the Nizam’s heirs about £60,000 each respectively.
The immunity waiver under the verdict, which has opened the doors for India to recover the frozen funds through legal process, is irrevocable. It also came to be understood that the Indian government and the heirs of Nizam were holding consultations on the matter.
In 1957, Pakistan invoked its right to sovereign immunity from any court proceedings in Britain regarding the issue. As the legal route to recovering funds became blocked, India dealt with Pakistan bilaterally.
The funds refer to the £1,007,940 and 9 shillings which were transferred from the former State of Hyderabad’s bank account in National Westminster Bank in London, to an account in the same bank; of the then Pakistan high commissioner to UK in 1948.
The money was transferred by an agent who appeared to be acting on behalf of the absolute ruler of one of the largest and richest of the India princely states, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad.