The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is all set to renovate the house of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Mumbai and use it for diplomatic events in the future, The Hindu has reported.
According to the daily, the house, which is known as South Court, is also likely to host a museum showcasing South Asian culture.
“The house is, strictly speaking, called South Court and not Jinnah House. It is now a property with the ICCR. It was lying unused for decades due to myriad court cases. But now there is absolutely no confusion and we will renovate the building and use it for different purposes including diplomatic events and exchanges, just like Hyderabad House in Delhi. Whatever it is, we are going to convey this veeran haveli (abandoned mansion) into a place of happenings in national interest,” ICCR’s new chief, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, was quoted by the daily as saying.
Jinnah lived in this house until the partition of India in 1947. The property has been the subject of many legal disputes. While Pakistan has claimed the house for itself and wants to establish its consulate in the building, Jinnah had willed it to his sister Fatima Jinnah. The property was also claimed by Jinnah’s daughter, Dina Wadia, who was reportedly an Indian citizen and died in New York in November 2017. Her petition is still pending in the Bombay High Court.
India’s decision to renovate the house and use it for diplomatic events will likely be viewed unfavorably in Islamabad, which had in March last year asked New Delhi to respect its “ownership rights” to the property which “belongs to the founder of Pakistan and should be given to the government of Pakistan”.