Queen Elizabeth II attends a prize giving ceremony during a visit to Malta Racing Club at Marsa racecourse near Valletta, Malta, November 28, 2015. Reuters/Matt Cardy/Pool
A Pakistani attorney said on Thursday he has filed a court petition seeking the return of the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond Britain forced India to hand over in colonial times.
Once the largest known diamond in the world, the 105-carat Koh-i-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. 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.
Jafree told Reuters that the Koh-i-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…