A Pakistani lawyer has filed a court petition seeking the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a stone that was handed over to the UK during Britain's rule in India. The diamond is now part of the Queen Mother's crown, which has been placed on display in the Tower of London.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry's petition to the Lahore High Court states that the UK took the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of King Ranjeet Singh. Jaffry insists that since the diamond belongs to Pakistan's Punjab province and was "illegally taken" from the local ruler at the time, it should be returned to Pakistan. The petition states Queen Elizabeth II has been noted as a respondent.
In his petition, Jaffry stated: "Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law."
The move has sparked a fresh wave of controversy over the diamond, which India has long since attempted to reclaim from the British, along with other treasures that they say were taken from the country during the British Empire. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was taken from the subcontinent in 1850 when Britain's then colonial governor-general of India arranged for it to be presented to Queen Victoria. India and Pakistan did not exist as two separate countries at the time, with Pakistan only separating as an independent country in 1947 when British rule ended.
In November a group of Bollywood stars and Indian businessmen started the process of carrying out legal proceedings in London's High Court to demand the return of the Koh-i-Noor to India. Labour MP Keith Vaz also requested the return of the diamond to India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK.
During a visit to India in 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that the diamond would not be returned to India. Speaking during an interview on Indian television, Cameron said: "What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty."
The crown was last worn by the Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, during her coronation in 1937. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, will wear the crown on official occasions when she becomes the queen consort.
The Lahore High Court is yet to admit the petition for a hearing.