Second victory for India & Salve
On July 8, 1954, the seventh Nizam together with the state of Hyderabad issued a writ before the UK high court against Pakistan and Rahimtoola, asking for the £1 million to be returned to them.
On July 19, 1955, Rahimtoola got the writ set aside on the premise that the English courts were interfering with Pakistan’s sovereign immunity. The money has stayed frozen in a British bank account ever since and grown to £35 million in the span of seven decades.
It was the second highprofile victory for Harish Salve while representing India in a case since he won a reprieve for Kulbhushan Jadhav at the International Court of Justice. Khawar Qureshi QC was Pakistan’s barrister in both cases.
“In 2013, Pakistan felt that with the distance of time, it would bring action against the bank and the bank would pay and it would walk away. But the bank said there were two other claimants — the princes and India. Pakistan issued a notice of discontinuance, but we argued it was against the interests of justice to withdraw and the case came back. Whether they will appeal, I don’t know,” Salve said after the verdict.
He praised Justice Marcus Smith for drawing up a 140-page judgment on such a complex case in just three months. The two-week trial had ended in June.
“We had a good case. We won both times,” Salve said, referring to the ICJ verdict on Jadhav.
“The fund was held by Pakistan through her high commissioner in the UK on trust for Nizam VII and his successors in title. The fund was not held by Rahimtoola personally, nor did either Pakistan or Rahimtoola have any beneficial interest in the fund,” Justice Smith ruled.
Salve said: “Historians will be interested in Pakistan publicly acknowledging it was supplying arms. Whether to Nizam’s army or the Razakars militia, I don’t know.”