A British peer has allegedly announced a £10-million bounty for Barack Obama and George W. Bush, prompting his suspension from the UK’s Labour party. Lord Ahmed denies this, saying his comments about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were misunderstood.
It all began with the announcement from Washington of a $10-million bounty for information that would lead to the capture and conviction of Hafiz Saeed, suspected of taking part in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
“If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the captor of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush,” Ahmed was quoted by Pakistani newspaper the Express Tribune as saying. The paper also said Lord Ahmed was prepared to arrange the bounty at any cost, even if that meant selling all his personal assets, including his house.
Lord Ahmed allegedly made the comments at a reception in his honor in Haripur, Pakistan.
The Labour party, of which Lord Ahmed is a member, responded swiftly by suspending his membership and starting an investigation into the matter.
“If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable,” a party spokesperson told the BBC.
Lord Ahmed denies the claims he set up a bounty.
“I never said those words,” he told Britain’s Press Association. “I did not offer a bounty. I said that there have been war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and those people who have got strong allegations against them – George W. Bush and Tony Blair have been involved in illegal wars and should be brought to justice. I do not think there's anything wrong with that.”
Ahmed went on to say that the Labour party would have to present some evidence to suspend him.
Lord Ahmed, whose actual name is Nazir Ahmed, was born in Pakistan and became Britain’s first Muslim life peer. In 2009 he was jailed after causing a fatal car crash by sending and receiving text messages whilst driving.