Nation misled on British court ruling: Ex-HC to UK

Pak claim to Hyderabad Fund case

Mian Arshad

Islamabad—Former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan has alleged that the nation has been misled over the ruling of the English High Court on Pakistan’s claim to Hyderabad Fund.
Two days back, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that Pakistan had won against the Indian bid in the Hyderabad Fund Case saying the English High Court had rejected Indian attempt to strike out Pakistan’s claim to the Hyderabad Fund on 21 June 2016.
However, Wajid Shamsul Hassan has come out with his own version saying the real case regarding the claim over the money would now proceed for trial in the English court. It may take some time to decide what share all the parties get — or the entire money is given to one party or the other.
In a statement Hassan went on to say that for nearly four decades no attempt was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to claim the money lying dormant in its High Commissioner’s account in NatWest Bank since 1948. The Nizam of Hyderabad Deccan had gifted Pakistan One Million pounds in 1948 which was deposited in the account of High Commissioner of Pakistan. The amount to this date has come to be £35 million.
“I as Pakistan High Commissioner filed a case in 2013 seeking English High Court ruling as to the rightful ownership of the money as it was lying in the account of Pakistan High Commissioner since 1948,” he added stating that before filing the case much correspondence was exchanged between me as the PHC and the MoFA. Red tape in the MoFA was responsible for the delayed action.

All records of approvals/letters/cipher telegrams are with the PHC or MoFA. Now I am not privy to or in possession any of them.
Moreover, he stated that the case was filed much before the elections of 2013 and after due process at the MoFA and Ministry of Law. However, soon after the transfer of power to the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif I was directed to withdraw the case as MoFA at that time claimed that it was a ‘bilateral issue’ between India and Pakistan. It is another story how MoFA thought it was a bilateral issue when it was not. “Never before all my five years as PHC, the MoFA informed verbally or in writing that ‘it was a bilateral issue’ although truckloads of correspondence on the matter were exchanged between PHC and MoFA.
“It was only after almost three years—end May 2016, I received a notice from the MoFA that I had gone into litigation without MoFA’s permission. I have sent a detailed reply to the 15-day notice to the MoFA. Contents of my reply can be had from the MOFA” he added. He further stated, “Since the case was filed on ‘No Win No cost’ basis I had informed MoFA that since PHC would be breaking the contract it would be liable to pay the cost to the lawyers company that had acquired the services of Barrister Cherie Blair as well a whole team of barristers and solicitors to do research in the antecedents of the case.”
He maintained that the MoFA insisted on withdrawal through a cipher telegram as such the case was withdrawn. “I remained PHC for next 10 months (having resigned on June 13, 2013 and asked to continue until further orders) in the government of PM Nawaz Sharif and relinquished charge in April 2014.”
Subsequently, Wajid Shamsul Hassan stated that the MoFA went in appeal for restoration of Pakistan as a party to the claim that it had itself ordered the PHC to withdraw after June 2013. India objected/opposed this plea as it was Pakistan that had voluntarily withdrawn from the case. However, as the money was lying in the PHC account in NatWest Bank, the English court upheld Pakistan’s plea to revive it as a party.
“The decision was announced on Tuesday (June 22, 2016) by the English Court. In his infinite wisdom spokesman of the MoFA claimed it to be historic victory when it was nothing but to get status quo restored as of June 2013. Moreover, MoFA has accused me of damaging its case while the facts are contrary. Further it has been given the impression that the English Court has ordered Pakistan to get £35 million that India opposed,” he added.
“Had the MoFA not ordered withdrawal of the case in 2013 by now decision would have come regarding £35 million,” he questioned saying, regretfully media is giving the wrong impression that the court has ordered payment of £35 million to Pakistan. The fact is that now the real case regarding the claim over the money would proceed for trial in the English court. It may take some time to decide what share all the parties will get— or the entire money is given to one party or the other.
“Finally, I am in London and DO NOT have access to any records. All the secret documents/cipher telegrams communicating instructions are either in the PHC or the MoFA,” he added. “Any documents regarding instructions to file the case or withdraw it are lying either in the PHC or the MoFA.Whatever has been stated here is on the basis of a memory that one could have at the age of 75 years suffering third-degree CKD, diabetes, high BP etc.”

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