British peer suspended for £10m bounty on Obama

People: Remarks in response to US reward for capture of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed; places bounty on George Bush too

Written by Press Trust Of India | London | Published: April 17, 2012 12:48 am

A Pakistani-origin controversial British peer Lord Nazir Ahmed has been suspended by his Labour Party over reports that he offered £10 million bounty for the capture of US President Barack Obama and his predecessor George Bush.

Ahmed,53,who in 1998 became the first Muslim life peer,was reported to have made the comments at a conference in Haripur in northwest Pakistan,Daily Telegraph reported.

The Express Tribune in Pakistan said that Ahmed put up the bounty in retaliation of the US reward for the capture of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed. Saeed is wanted for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed.

The British peer reportedly said: “‘If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the (capture) of Hafiz Saeed,I can announce a bounty of £10 million (for the capture of) President Obama and his predecessor,George Bush,” the Telegraph reported.

A Labour Party spokesman said,“We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation. If these comments are accurate,we utterly condemn these remarks.” The peer called the US bounty as an “insult to all Muslims”.

Telegraph said a former Pakistan foreign minister an a provincial education minister were present at the reception where Ahmed made the comments. This is not the first time that the Pakistani-born peer has courted controversy. In 2007,he was highly critical of the awarding of a Knighthood to Salman Rushdie,claiming that the author had “blood on his hands”.

A week ago,the US offered the bounty on Saeed in response to what it called increasingly “brazen” conduct in Pakistan,where he moves freely and appears on television.

In its statement suspending Lord Ahmed,the Labour Party said,“The international community is rightly doing all in its power to seek justice for the victims of the Mumbai bombings and halt terrorism.”

Lord Ahmed firmly denied offering a bounty,but said he had told the meeting that Bush and former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted for warcrimes. He challenged the Labour Party to provide evidence for the suspension.

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