India Critic Nazir Ahmed Resigns from UK’s House of Lords
This comes after an Ethics Committee of the House recommended his expulsion for sexual assault charges.
Amid allegations of sexual assault, Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced retirement from the UK's House of Lords.
Ahmed, who retired on 14 November was recommended for expulsion by a House of Lords Conduct Committee.
Who Is Lord Nazir Ahmed?
Sixty-three-year-old Ahmed was born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but to the UK with his parents.
In the past, Ahmed has been a strong critic of the Indian government and its policies, especially those on Kashmir.
He is also a supporter of the Khalistan movement.
When Article 370 was scrapped, Ahmed said that India was an “occupation force” in J&K, which wanted to pursue “demographic changes to settle BJP/RSS extremists”.
In 2018, he organised a protest outside the Indian High Commission in London, claiming that Indian minorities were in danger.
He has been admonished by both the BJP and the Congress earlier for his tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Claims of sorcery, Jadoo, magic, witchcraft, on @BJP4India by opposition Jaitley, Gaur former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Shushma Swaraj , Atal Vajpayee , Manohar Parrikar CM Goa and Arun Jaitley … have all died in the last one year hey @narendramodi is next (sic)", Ahmed had written in August 2019.
What Are the Sexual Assault Charges Against Ahmed?
In 2019, Nazir Ahmed was accused of using his position to “pursue sex with vulnerable women who asked him for help”.
In 2017, Tahira Zaman, a Kashmiri woman, said that she approached Ahmed hoping that he would help in getting the police to investigate a Muslim healer who was exploiting women from the community.
In an interview to BBC, Zaman said that Ahmed had repeatedly asked her to come to his home in East London. Week later, she did visit him and they had consensual sex.
“I was looking for help and he took advantage of me. He abused his power", Zaman later said.
In another case that was reported, a woman, who didn't want to identified, said that when she'd reached out to Ahmed for help, who allegedly suggested that she should spend the night at his London home. The woman allegedly refused.
Ahmed has, however, denied these allegations.
“I completely deny the allegation that I have exploited my position to pursue an inappropriate relationship with any member of the public (vulnerable or otherwise) or that I have acted inappropriately in the presence of women either in my personal or professional capacity,” he said in a statement in 2019.
What Were the Findings of the Ethics Committee?
Acting on Zaman's complaint, the House of Lords Conduct Committee conducted an investigation into Ahmed's behaviour.
"...Lord Ahmed breached the Code of Conduct by failing to act on his personal honour in the discharge of his parliamentary activities by agreeing to use his position as a member of the House to help a member of the public but then; sexually assaulting the complainant, lying to the complainant about his intentions to help her with a complaint to the Metropolitan Police regarding exploitation by a faith healer, exploiting the complainant emotionally and sexually despite knowing she was vulnerable", the committee stated in its almost 300-page report.
"The Lord Conduct Committee has this morning published a report into the conduct of Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham, concluding for the first time ever that a peer should be expelled. The report finds Lord Ahmed to have breached the Code of Conduct for 'failing to act on his personal honour over sexual assault and exploitation. As a fellow per, I believe that Mr Nazir has pre-empted his expulsion by opting to resign from the House of Lords yesterday night", said member of the House of Lords to ANI.
“I find that Lord Ahmed exploited Ms Zaman emotionally and sexually even though he knew she was receiving treatment for anxiety and depression", the report further said.
(With inputs from ANI)
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