The Lahore High Court has accepted a petition seeking the return of the famed Koh-i-Noor from British Queen Elizabeth-II.
Not only did Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan overruled an objection to the petition by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry, he also directed the registrar’s office to fix the petition before any appropriate bench for hearing.
The petition names Queen Elizabeth II and British High Commission in Pakistan as respondents, and demands that the 105-carat gem should be returned to Pakistan because it was “stolen” from the region that is now part of the country since 1947.
The plea was first filed in December last year, but the registrar office’s had then dismissed it terming it as non-maintainable.
It was then that the petitioner moved the High Court.
In the petition, the London-trained lawyer argued that Britain “forcibly and under duress” stole the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and took it to Britain.
“Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law or ethics. A wrong is a wrong. It does not become righteous or right by passage of time or even acquiescence,” he said in the petition.
The Koh-i-Noor is one of the Crown Jewels and is now on display in the Tower of London. In 1953, it became part of Queen Elizabeth-II at the time of her crowing.
Meanwhile, India too has been making similar claims for the last many years. A lobby of Indian businessmen and actors had in November last year sued the Queen over the Koh-i-Noor.
Keith Vaz, the British-Indian Labour MP, too had extended his support to the plea that coincided with Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the country.