Pak to India: Show respect for rights of Pakistan on Jinnah House

jinaha-houseJinnah House, the residence of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, is again in the midst of controversy. Islamabad has asked New Delhi to respect its “ownership rights” over Jinnah House. Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its desire to take possession of the property.
Pakistan had earlier said it wanted to use Jinnah House as its consulate in Mumbai. However, the issue was linked to India being allowed to reopen a consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. With bilateral ties at an all-time low over the past few years, both sides have not been able to make progress on this issue.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office now says, “The government of India should respect the ownership rights of the government of Pakistan in this regard. We also expect that the Indian government will fulfill its obligation of protecting that property and its upkeep.”
The controversy over the ownership is very old. Apart from Pakistan Government there were many claimants of the house. Dina Wadia, Jinnah’s daughter, has claimed ownership of the building but two other Mumbai residents – Mohamed Ebrahim and Shakir Ebrahim – have approached an Indian court to refute her claim of being the sole heir to the property. They are the son and grandson of Ashraf Rajabally Ebrahim, the daughter of Jinnah’s sister Mariam.
According to the Indian government, Jinnah bequeathed the property to his sister Fatima Jinnah through his will dated May 30, 1939. India designated the immovable and movable property left behind by people who opted to go to Pakistan as “evacuee property” and took them over. However, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ensured Jinnah’s assets were not classified as “evacuee property” as a goodwill gesture. But, all these claims and counter claims were rendered meaningless with the recent passage of the Enemy Property Act. Now, Pakistan may not have any rights to the property.
The recent controversy stated after a Mumbai lawmaker demanded that Jinnah House in Mumbai be demolished and a cultural centre showcasing ‘the glorious history of India’ should be built.

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