The Jinnah House in the posh Malabar Hill area of south Mumbai, the palatial bungalow of Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, will be refurbished on the lines of New Delhi's Hyderabad House.
The property is being transferred from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has given necessary approval and the process of transfer of property was underway.
"The PMO has instructed us to renovate and refurbish Jinnah House to develop it on the pattern of facilities available in Hyderabad House in Delhi," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a letter to Malabar Hill MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha of BJP.
Believed to have been built under the supervision of Barrister Jinnah, who was then a practising advocate at the Bombay Presidency High Court, the mansion has a built-up area of 1,694 sq metres and a garden spread over 4,358 sq metres.
The mansion was designed by famous British architect Claude Barley.
The mansion came into existence in 1938 and was then built at a cost of nearly Rs two lakh.
An intangible pre-Independence era old charm pervades the majestic structure. The momentous Gandhi-Jinnah talks were held here and a host of nationalist leaders including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were among the distinguished visitors to this place.
Historical records reveal that Jinnah wanted this house to be occupied by a “small European family or a refined Indian Prince" and expected a rent of Rs 3,000 per month. He made his wishes known to then Bombay Province Governor Sri Prakasa who had been deputed by Nehru to find out what he (Jinnah) wanted to be done with the property after Partition. However, after Independence, it declared an “evacuee property” and was let-out to the British Deputy High Commissioner in 1955, which function from here till 1982.
Controversies started dogging it and in 1977-78, when the Janata government proposed starting a Pakistani Consulate, there was a hue and cry and the idea was dropped.
Since 1985, the Central Public Works Department used to take care of this mansion, but in 1997, it was under the care of ICCR.
In 2003, it was finally handed over to ICCR.
In 2001, when the then Pakistan President Gen Parvez Musharraf came for summit-level talks with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he proposed that Jinnah House be used as Pakistani Consulate in Mumbai.