1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Politics
  4. Laws, Initiatives

Pakistan court to hear bid to reclaim jewel from British crown

The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond set in the crown. ©Reuters The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond set in the crown. ©Reuters

A Pakistani court is set on Thursday to hear a petition asking Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond more than 150 years after it was taken from Lahore by colonial forces, AFP reports.

The 105.6 carat stone, which has also been claimed by a group of Indian businessmen in a separate court case, adorns a crown that was last worn in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at the coronation of her daughter.

Originating in the Golconda mines of central-southern India, it passed through the hands of conquering Mughal princes, Iranian warriors, Afghan rulers and Punjabi Maharajas before being surrendered by a young Sikh prince to Britain following the conquest of Punjab in 1849.

Literally translated as "Mountain of Light", the Koh-i-Noor was recut from its original 189 carats in 1852. 

It is currently on display in the Tower of London along with other precious ornaments that comprise Britain's crown jewels. 

The Lahore High Court will Thursday hold a preliminary hearing into the case following a petition by Iqbal Geoffrey, a 76-year-old Anglo-Pakistani lawyer and abstract painter, whose work has appeared in the Tate Modern and who has been seeking the return of the diamond since 1958.

"The Koh-i-Noor rightly belonged to Punjab province and was forcibly taken by the British from the local ruler and should be returned to Pakistan," he told AFP, adding his case was fixed for Thursday after he overcome initial objections.

His petition added: "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."

India, Pakistan's main rival, has also long claimed the diamond. Last November a group of Indian businessmen and a Bollywood actress said they would mount a legal bid in an  English court and in the International Court of Justice.

But Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron told NDTV television in 2010 "It is going to have to stay put."


Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights