EFEIslamabad

The government of Pakistan's Punjab province said in court it was not possible to lay claim to the Kohinoor diamond adorning the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth II because the jewel was handed over to the British after the signing of a treaty, a lawyer told EFE Wednesday.

In his testimony before Judge Khalid Mahmood Khan on Tuesday, a representative of the Punjab government testified the diamond was given by ruler Ranjit Singh to the British East India Company under the 1846 Lahore Treaty, lawyer Jawaid Iqbal, who filed the case to recover the precious gem, told EFE.

Singh died in 1839 and his son, Duleep Singh Bahadur, signed the pact at the age of 10, Iqbal said.

The judge asked the public prosecutor and the government representative to file a copy of the treaty next week to study the terms under which the diamond was given to the British Empire.

Iqbal said the pact lacks validity as a treaty signed by two governments because the East India Company was a private enterprise.

In February, the lawyer filed a case in the Pakistani courts after having sent 786 letters over 50 years to Queen Elizabeth and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asking for the return of the diamond, all in vain.

"Kohinoor," which in Urdu means "Mountain of Light," is one of the world's biggest polished diamonds and has been part of the Crown Jewels since Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India in 1877.

In recent decades, there have been growing demands for the return of the diamond in India and neighboring Pakistan.

The countries were both part of the same territory under British rule until partition in 1947.

While Iqbal contends the gem rightly belongs to Pakistan as it was "stolen" by the British from what is now Pakistani territory, the Indian government said last week that it would do everything within its power for an amicable recovery of the diamond.