Lawyer wants Pakistani government to get Kohinoor diamond from UK

  • M Zulqernain, PTI, Lahore
  • Updated: Dec 03, 2015 20:16 IST
The Kohinoor diamond is now part of the British Monarch’s Crown Jewels. (File Photo)

A petition has been filed in a Pakistani court asking the government to bring back the Kohinoor diamond, now a part of the Crown Jewels, that India has been trying to get back from Britain for years.

Lawyer Javed Iqbal Jaffry alleged in his petition filed in the Lahore High Court that the UK snatched the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and took it to Britain.

“The diamond became part of the crown of incumbent Queen Elizabeth II at the time of her crowing in 1953. Queen Elizabeth has no right on the Kohinoor diamond, which weighs 105 carats and is worth billions of rupees,” Jaffry said.

“The Kohinoor diamond was the cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact.”

Jaffry asked the court to direct the federal government to bring the diamond to Pakistan from the British government.

The Kohinoor is believed to have been mined in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh in the 13th century. At one time, it was considered the world’s largest diamond.

The stone was originally owned by rulers of the Kakatiya Dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye.

The diamond passed through the hands of various invaders before it was appropriated by the British.

In 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were reportedly confiscated. The Kohinoor was then transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The properties of the

Sikh Empire were taken as war compensation.

Today, the diamond is a part of the crown of Queen Elizabeth II.

India has for long demanded the return of Kohinoor, which was owned by several Mughal emperors and maharajas before being seized by the British.

India says the Kohinoor was illegally acquired and wants it returned with other treasures looted during British colonial rule.

When Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, many Indians in India and Britain had demanded the return of the diamond.

British Indian MP Keith Vaz too had called for the Kohinoor to be returned to India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November.

In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for the diamond to be returned to India, saying such a move would set an unworkable precedent and the diamond was “staying put”.

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