New Delhi: While Pakistan continued to assert ownership of the Jinnah House in Mumbai, the Indian government declared on Thursday that the bungalow will soon be transferred in its name. Pakistan demanded the property for the purpose of housing its Mumbai consulate.
In a letter to Mumbai BJP legislator Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Indian Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj stated the government’s plan to renovate and refurbish the bungalow similar to the facilities of the Hyderabad House in Delhi. A report by Times of India quoted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as saying, “Pakistan has no locus standi as far as this property is concerned. It is a government of India property and we are in the process of renovating it and using it the way we use Hyderabad House in Delhi.” He added, “This is our property and if there is somebody who contests, then I think this is something which we will have to fight.”
The Pakistan government, however, expressed its intolerance at any further attempt by India to take over the building. Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal reportedly said, “We have a claim over it (Jinnah House) and we do not accept that anyone tries to take custody of it. They (Indians) have already accepted that it belongs to Pakistan.” When Faisal was asked if Pakistan is interested in handing over the Kartarpur land to India in a swap deal, he told Times of India, “Absolutely not. It is a gesture for Sikh minority community made on their request to provide a visa-free corridor to facilitate a visit to a religious shrine.”
The sea-facing bungalow located on Malabar Hill in Mumbai was designed by architect Claude Batley in European style. Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah lived in the building in the late 1930s.
(With Agency inputs)