Pakistan court filing asks British queen to return Koh-e-Noor diamond

Published: December 3, 2015
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: A Pakistani attorney said on Thursday he has filed a court petition seeking the return of the famed Koh-e-Noor diamond Britain forced India to hand over in colonial times.

Once the largest known diamond in the world, the 105-carat Koh-e-Noor is one of the Crown Jewels.

It is set in a crown last worn by the late mother of Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation.

Attorney Jawaid Iqbal Jafree filed the court petition naming Queen Elizabeth II as a respondent on Wednesday in the eastern city of Lahore.

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The application asks that Britain hand back the diamond, now on display in the Tower of London.

India also has made regular requests for the jewel’s return, saying the diamond is an integral part of the country’s history and culture.

Britain’s then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, during British colonial rule.

Majority-Hindu India and majority-Muslim Pakistan became two different countries in 1947 when they became independent of Britain.

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Jafree told Reuters that the Koh-e-Noor rightly belonged to Pakistan’s Punjab province and was “forcibly and under duress” taken by the British from the local ruler at the time.

“Now it should be returned to Pakistan,” he said.

“Her Majesty the Queen will rise in the highest public interest with facilitating honest disposal and transferring the possession of the Koh-i-Noor diamond which was illegally taken,” Jafree said in his petition, which the court has not yet admitted for hearing.

“Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law.”

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If Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, eventually becomes queen consort, she will don the crown holding the diamond on official occasions.

In the last half century, Jafree has written over 786 letters to Queen Elizabeth and various Pakistani officials asking for the diamond’s return.

His latest high court petition notes that his letters have never been acknowledged, except once by Queen Elizabeth through her principal private secretary.

During a visit to India in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron said in an interview on Indian television 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,” he said.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Stranger
    Dec 3, 2015 - 7:23PM

    No , strictly it belongs to Persia . They say it came from mountains of Persia Koh i Noor means mountain of light . Wont be surprised if Taliban or AQ start demanding it now. Recommend

  • LS
    Dec 3, 2015 - 8:47PM

    @Stranger:
    It was mined from Andhra Pradesh and belonged to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and was donated to Jagannath Puri temple in Odisha and was stolen by British from them.

    There is no Pakistan in all this.Recommend

  • echoboom
    Dec 3, 2015 - 9:03PM

    belongs to from where it was stolen/robbed…..Good news after a long time from Pakistan…rub the royal nose in dirt..show them where these Britto baboons belong.Recommend

  • Curry
    Dec 3, 2015 - 9:44PM

    “It was mined by mohan das kumar who gave it to shri panday jee who gave it to the british” -indian logic

    India is the best at making up facts. Just like their facts on the war written on wikipedia (India’s most reliable information source)Recommend

  • Faisal
    Dec 3, 2015 - 9:45PM

    It belongs to Pakistan.Recommend

  • HZR
    Dec 3, 2015 - 10:12PM

    Mined in India,stolen by others and gifted to the queen and Pakistan claims when it was not even in existence!!Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Dec 4, 2015 - 12:31AM

    So, just because the diamond has a Persian or Arabic name it belongs to Pakistan ?Recommend

  • Common Man
    Dec 4, 2015 - 2:18AM

    @Curry:
    Go read history. It was mined by the Kakatiya dynasty and was temple property which was looted by invading warlords.Recommend

  • kk
    Dec 4, 2015 - 5:36AM

    It will be returned to one of them when Kashmir issue gets resolved.Recommend

  • echoboom
    Dec 4, 2015 - 6:39AM

    @Arijit Sharma:

    Owners always make the first claim…Has India officially done so?…and yes arabic and persian as well as hindi is our legacy as well..and we own that as well.:)Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Dec 4, 2015 - 7:19AM

    So after 67 Pakistan is accepting their Indian heritage? Or is it just to claim the diamond?Recommend

  • delhuss
    Jan 9, 2016 - 5:48PM

    David Camerons answer has inadvertantly revealed that all the pieces in the British Museum are stolen property. Return them to their rightful owners and the BM would be empty !! So, come on you british(it)ers, admit you stole these pieces and return the stolen property you are hoarding in your various museums.Recommend

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