LAHORE: The hearing on the maintainability of a petition filed in a Pakistani court, seeking direction to the government to bring back Koh-i-Noor from British Queen Elizabeth—II could not be held on Thursday.
The Lahore High Court office will fix the next date of hearing on the plea filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry to bring back the famed diamond, which India has been trying to get from the UK for years.
The hearing could not be held as the judge was busy in other cases.
The petition has named Queen Elizabeth II and British High Commission in Pakistan respondents in the case.
In the plea, he made Pakistan’s claim over the 105—carat gem on the basis that it hailed from the territory that became Pakistan in 1947.
During the last hearing, he told the Lahore High Court that Koh-i-Noor diamond was “Pakistan’s asset” and it is in “illegal possession” of Britain.
“The British government had refused to hand over the diamond to India. Now, Pakistan should lay claim on it as it is first entitled to have it. It is the Pakistani government’s duty to bring it back,” he had said.
LHC Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan had asked the petitioner to give reference of the law under which the Pakistani government could seek the return of the diamond from the British government.
In December last year, the LHC registrar’s office had dismissed the plea terming it as non-maintainable and said that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case against the British Queen.
However, on February 8 the court overruled the objection and admitted the petition for hearing.
In the petition, Mr. Jaffry argued that Britain “forcibly and under duress” stole 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 Koh-i-Noor diamond,” he said.
Claiming that the diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact, he sought direction to the government to bring the diamond back to Pakistan from the UK.
The Koh-i-Noor is one of the Crown Jewels and is now on display in the Tower of London.
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.