UK Queen cannot be made respondent in Kohinoor case: official

Lahore: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth-II cannot be made a respondent in Pakistan’s bid to bring back the famed Kohinoor diamond, a provincial official told a top court in Lahore.

Lahore High Court Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan reserved the decision on a petition seeking direction for the Pakistan government to bring back Kohinoor, which which India has been trying to get from the UK for years, after a law officer of the Punjab government submitted a reply.

The law officer argued that the petition is not maintainable as British Queen cannot be made respondent. He said said the petitioner had was not an aggrieved person to agitate the matter thus it should be dismissed. Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry had filed a plea in the

Lahore High Court naming Queen Elizabeth II and British High Commission in Pakistan respondents and seeking direction to the federal government to bring the diamond to Pakistan from the British government.

Jaffrey said the British had snatched the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and took to the United Kingdom.

“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 Kohinoor diamond, which weighs 105 carats and worth billions of rupees,” he said.

He said Kohinoor diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned. According to reports, in 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated.

The Kohinoor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The properties of the Sikh Empire were taken as war compensations.

The diamond was shipped to Britain on a ship where cholera broke out and supposedly the keeper of the diamond lost it for some days and it was returned to him by his servant. The diamond was handed to Queen Victoria in 1850.

The 105-carat Kohinoor 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.

Kohinoor, which means “mountain of light”, is currently on display in the Tower of London along with other precious ornaments that comprise Britain’s crown jewels.