Meeting of Nizam’s kin with Pakistan High Commissioner raises hopes of early resolution

There is a glimmer of hope – ever so slight of the six-decade-old wrangle involving the Nizam’s money coming to an end.

The positive signals emerging from the recent meeting of Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, grandson of the 7 Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, with the Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi, Salman Basheer, have raised expectations of an early settlement. Mr. Basheer is believed to have promised to do his best to raise the issue at the forthcoming meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of India and Pakistan.

Memo to Zardari

In a memorandum submitted to the Pakistan President, Asif Ali Zardari, through the Pakistan High Commissioner, Mr. Najaf Ali Khan requested an early meeting of the officials concerned of the two countries to resolve the matter.

The ball is in the Pakistan Government’s court since the Indian side has already conveyed its proposals in the “Hyderabad funds case”, it is said. The Nizam’s fortune running into 24 million pounds is stashed away in the National Westminster Bank, now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, UK. Soon after partition the Nizam’s Finance Minister, Moin Nawaz Jung, transferred over one million pounds to the Westminster Bank in the name of then Pakistan High Commissioner, Habib Ibrahim Rahmatullah.

Now, there is an ownership dispute over the money which has grown to about Rs. 300 crore between the Governments of India, Pakistan and the Nizam’s family.

Little headway

The royal descendents led by Mr. Najaf Ali Khan, president, Nizam Family Welfare Association, have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and the Foreign Ministers of both the countries. But there is little headway in the matter. The Britain’s House of Lords has ruled that the account could be unfrozen only with the agreement of all the three parties.

Mr. Najaf Ali Khan maintains that the London money belongs to the Nizam and not to the State exchequer. There are about 120 claimants to the Nizam’s fortune “The royal family members are going through financial straits and the settlement of the dispute will come as a big relief,” he says. Hope is the poor man’s bread, even if it involves the progeny of the once whisperingly rich Nizam.

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