The tussle for the Jinnah House, in the posh Malabar Hill area in south Mumbai, has escalated after Pakistan staked claim for it and said that the House, where the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah used to reside, belonged to it. The Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson on Thursday asserted that any attempt by India to take the House under its control 'will not be accepted.'
Pakistan’s reaction comes days after the External Affairs Minister, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, had announced that the Ministry of External Affairs was working to get the bungalow transferred in its name. The sea-facing bungalow located in the prime locality was designed by architect Claude Batley in European style. Jinnah resided in the bungalow in the late 1930s.
In the last few years, Pakistan has demanded that the property should be transferred to it for housing its Mumbai consulate. The Foreign Office spokesperson,Mr. Mohammad Faisal, told reporters, '"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. We have record of it. They (Indians) have accepted that it belong to Pakistan.'
When questioned if Pakistan would be ready to swap the Kartarpur land and give it to India, Mr. Faisal said, 'Absolutely not. It is a gesture for Sikh minority community made on their request to provide a visa-free corridor to facilitate visit to a religious shrine.' He added the decision to open the corridor for the Sikh pilgrims to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan was 'taken at the state-to-state level and the Indian government was fully involved in it,.'
Recently, Mrs. Swaraj had written to Mumbai BJP legislator,Mr. Mangal Prabhat Lodha, stating that her ministry will refurbish the bungalow with facilities similar to the Hyderabad House in Delhi. On October 5, Mr. Lodha had sent a letter to Mrs. Swaraj, urging that the Jinnah House be converted into a cultural centre.