Lahore: A Pakistani court has directed federal and Punjab provincial governments to submit written replies to it on a petition seeking return of the famed Koh-i- noor diamond from Britain that India has been trying to get from the UK for years. A federal law officer yesterday presented arguments at the Lahore High Court on a petition seeking direction for the Nawaz Sharif government to bring the 105.6 carat stone back from Queen Elizabeth-II of Britain.
The officer said as per the petitioner’s story, the diamond was shifted to UK from Lahore, therefore, the Punjab government could apprise the court about the facts. The additional advocate general of Punjab government, however, argued that the petition was not maintainable as the petitioner had no locus standi (aggrieved person) to agitate the matter.
Lahore High Court Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan, however, brushed aside both arguments, asking the law officers as if the petitioner was not a resident of Pakistan.
The judge directed both federal and provincial governments to submit written replies to the petition on the next hearing. Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffrey said in his petition that the British had snatched the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and took to the UK.
“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 Koh-i-Noor diamond, which weighs 105 carats and worth billions of rupees,” the petition said. Koh-I-Noor diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact, it said and prayed to the court to direct the federal government to bring the diamond back to Pakistan from the British government.
Reportedly, in 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated. The Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The properties of the
Sikh Empire were taken as war compensations. India has made regular requests for the jewel’s return, saying the diamond is an integral part of the country’s history and culture. India says that Koh-i-Noor was illegally acquired and demands that it should be returned along with other treasures looted during colonial rule.