SOURCE: THE WEEK
Lord Nazir Ahmed, who in 1998 made history by becoming the first Muslim to be appointed a peer in Britain’s House of Lords, has announced his retirement.
Nazir Ahmed confirmed to Pakistan’s Geo News his decision to retire. “The UK Parliament confirmed to Lord Nazir that his retirement allocation had been approved under the House of Lords Reform Act 2014 ‘as of 14 November 2020’. The Lord Speaker on Monday announced in the UK Parliament that Lord Nazir has retired at the start of business on November 16, 2020,” Geo News reported.
Nazir Ahmed was born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and migrated to the UK as a child.
Nazir Ahmed has been a consistent critic of the Indian government’s policies, particularly with reference to Jammu and Kashmir. He has also been a supporter of Khalistani groups.
During Republic Day in 2018, Nazir Ahmed organised a protest outside the Indian High Commission in London to highlight the claim that minorities in India were not safe. Clashes erupted over the protest, which called for an independent Kashmir and Khalistan.
In August 2019, Nazir Ahmed was panned for tweeting about the deaths of multiple BJP leaders. He tweeted, “Claims of sorcery, jadoo, magic, witchcraft, on BJP by opposition. (Arun) Jaitley, (Babulal) Gaur, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shushma Swaraj, (former Prime Minister) Atal (Bihari) Vajpayee, Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa…have all died in the last one year. Hey Narendra Modi is next.”
Nazir Ahmed was referring to comments by BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur that the opposition in India may have used ‘black magic’ to harm the BJP.
Nazir Ahmed had served as the head of the UK Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group, a body that supports “right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people…”
Following the abrogation of Article 370, Nazir Ahmed alleged India was an “occupation force” in Jammu and Kashmir that aimed to pursue “demographic changes to settle BJP/RSS extremists” in the state.
No stranger to controversy
Nazir Ahmed was convicted and jailed in 2009 for a reckless driving accident. Nazir Ahmed had sent text messages while driving his Jaguar car, which crashed into a stationary car on the M1 highway, killing its driver.
In 2013, Nazir Ahmed blamed his conviction in the driving accident on a “Jewish conspiracy”. The comment led to the Labour Party suspending him; he resigned from the party later that year.
In 2019, Nazir Ahmed was accused of “exploiting his position to pursue sex with vulnerable women”, the BBC reported. A woman who sought his assistance complained about Lord Ahmed’s behaviour to the Lords’ Commissioner for Standards.
In 2020, Nazir Ahmed and two of his bothers were charged with sexual assault on minors in the 1970s. The BBC reported in April, “Nazir Ahmed – serious sexual assault against a boy under the age of 11 and the indecent assault of the same boy; two counts of attempting to rape a girl who was under the age of 16. All charges relate to dates between 1971 and 1974.”