More than 150 years after it found its way from the Punjab to the royal household of Queen Victoria, the Koh-i-Noor diamond is yet again the subject of competing claims. The latest person to lay claim to the 105-carat gem, which is kept in the Tower of London, is a British-trained Pakistani lawyer who has brought petition on behalf of his country in a local court.
Yesterday, a judge in Lahore accepted the petition from Javed Iqbal Jaffry, who wants the gem repatriated from this country.
India has also long laid claim to the diamond, which was acquired by the British in 1849 when the East India Company annexed the region of Punjab. But in his lawsuit, Mr Jaffry argues that the Koh-i-Noor actually belongs to his countrymen. He says that the gem hailed from territory that became part of Pakistan in the post-war partition.
The ruling sets the stage for a complex three-way claim on what was once the largest known diamond in the world. It is set in a crown last worn by the late Queen Elizabeth for her coronation with George VI in 1937, and which was displayed on top of her coffin when it lay in state after her death in 2002. The registrar for the Lahore High Court rejected the petition on paperwork grounds in December. But a judge has now accepted the case, meaning it will proceed to a further hearing.
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