Britain must return Koh-i-Noor to Lahore museum, demands Pakistan’s Info minister

01:02 PM | 11 Apr, 2019
Britain must return Koh-i-Noor to Lahore museum, demands Pakistan’s Info minister
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ISLAMABAD - Information Minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain has said that Britain must apologize to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh on Jallianwala Massacre and Bengal Famine.

In a tweet on Thursday, he said these tragedies are a scar on the face of Britain.

The information minister also said that Koh-i-Noor must be returned to Lahore museum where it belongs to.

The massacre at Jallianwala Bagh saw more than 500 unarmed men, women and children killed by British army riflemen on the orders of British colonel while in Bengal famine over 2 million people had died due to starvation.

Koh-i-Noor

Once the largest known diamond in the world, the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor changed hands between various factions in modern-day India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, until being ceded to Queen Victoria after the British conquest of Punjab in 1849.

Even after decades of the subcontinent’s partition, the precious stone remains the subject of a bitter ownership battle between Britain, Pakistan and India. And now a movement to claim the diamond is also building steam in Pakistan.

Some two years ago, Pakistani barrister Jawaid Iqbal Jafree named the British Queen as a respondent in the court petition submitted in the city of Lahore.

He argued that Britain "forcibly and under duress" stole the diamond from Daleep Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and spirited it to Britain.

"Kohinoor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law."

"Kohinoor diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact."

However, the court rejected Jafree’s petition, observing that the court could not hear a case against a foreign country.

In the last half century, Jafree has written over 786 letters to Queen Elizabeth and various Pakistani officials asking for the diamond’s return.

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.

Delhi has argued for decades that the Kohinoor diamond – one of the centrepieces of the Crown Jewels – was stolen from India. Britain claims it was a "spoil of war".

But, in recent years, the Indian government has changed its stance by saying that it was gifted to the East India Company by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who ruled Punjab at the time.

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.

The first record of the Koh-i-Noor dates back to around 1750, following Persian ruler Nader Shah's invasion of the Mughal capital Delhi.

Shah plundered the city, taking treasures such as the mythical Peacock Throne, embellished with precious stones including the Koh-i-Noor.

During a visit to India in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron said in an interview on Indian television that the diamond would stay in London.

“What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty,” he had said.

Koh-i-Noor is currently on display at the Tower of London. It is set in a crown last worn by the late Queen Mother during her coronation.