Britain forced India to hand over the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond to it during colonial times. Now a Pakistani attorney on Thursday said that he filed a petition with the court demanding the return of the diamond, reports Reuters.
Britain snatched Koh-i-Noor from India
The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond was once the largest known diamond in the world and is one of the British Crown Jewels at present. The diamond is set in a crown that the late mother of Queen Elizabeth II wore for the last time during her coronation. During British colonial rule, this huge diamond was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 by Britain’s then-colonial governor-general of India.
The court petition was filed on Wednesday in the eastern city of Lahore by attorney Jawaid Iqbal Jafree, in which Queen Elizabeth II was named as respondent. The application asks Britain to hand back the diamond. The court has yet to admit to receiving the petition for the hearing.
Speaking to Reuters, Jafree claimed that the Koh-i-Noor rightly belonged to the Punjab province of Pakistan, and the British took it from the local ruler at that time “forcibly and under duress” and that now it should be returned to Pakistan.
“Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law,” Jafree argues.
In 1947, after declaring independence from Britain, India was separated into two countries, after which the country with a majority of Hindus retained the name India, and a new country – Pakistan — with a majority of Muslims was created.
David Cameron previously said no
In the last half-century, Jafree has penned more than 786 letters to Queen Elizabeth and various Pakistani officials requesting the diamond’s return. None of his letters have ever been acknowledged except once by Queen Elizabeth through her principal private secretary, as mentioned in Jafree’s latest high court petition.
Presently, the diamond is on display in the Tower of London. This diamond is an integral part of India’s history and culture, and for this reason, India too has made several requests for the return of the jewel. It must be noted that British Prime Minister David Cameron has already clarified before that that the diamond would stay in London.
“What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty,” Cameron said during his 2010 visit to India.