SRINAGAR: Lord Nazir Ahmad, the Kashmir origin British politician who was British history’s first-ever Muslim member of the House of Lords who stepped down in the most humiliating circumstances. He resigned a day ahead of a House Committee report held him responsible for sexual misconduct in a case of exploiting a vulnerable woman, reports appearing in British, Indian and Pakistan media suggest.
“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 report by the House of Lords Conduct Committee reads.
It added: “…the Commissioner found that Lord Ahmed knew that he was dealing with a vulnerable person, who was undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression and who had already made clear that she did not want a sexual relationship. He nonetheless misleadingly induced her to visit him at his house under the pretext of offering to assist her as a member of the House of Lords…”
Lord’s victim was identified by British media as Tahira Zaman, 43, who had approached him in 2017 seeking a police investigation into the conduct of a faith-healer, who, she thought was exploiting women. Starting with this, Lord took the woman for dinner to his East London home. They had “a consensual sexual relationship”.
Ms Zaman later told the BBC: “I was looking for help and he took advantage of me. He abused his power.” She is a single mother and has her origins also in Kashmir.
BBC reported that the two met in February 2017 to discuss the case, a meeting in which “Lord Ahmed groped her upper thigh”. The contact snapped and revived only on July 14. A month later, she met him at his home and they slept together. Two months later, the relationship ended as Lord Nazir refused to divorce his wife.
The lady complained to the House of Lords and they found they cannot get into it. She approached BBC that investigated the case and it forced House of Lords to change its rules on conduct. Eventually, the case was investigated.
The Report said Lord Nazir “persistently gave deliberately inaccurate and misleading accounts to conceal his behaviour towards Ms Zaman”. While doing this, the report insisted that he “failed to act on his personal honour, as evidenced.” While admitting the brief relationship, Lord Nazir has insisted that he has not exploited anybody.
A Thick Report
After the House of Lords Conduct Committee published its 270- page report, Lord Nazir announced he would challenge the same. Following his appeal, the Committee upheld the findings of the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards that asserted the Lord “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 the complainant but then: assaulting the complainant on 2 March 2017; lying to the complainant about his intentions to help her with a complaint to the Metropolitan Police regarding exploitation by a faith healer, and exploiting the complainant despite knowing she was vulnerable”.
The House of Lords said that the Conduct Committee, is Chaired by former Supreme Court justice Lord Mance and includes four external members, has dismissed Lord Ahmed’s appeal.
This, however, is not the first case of inappropriate behaviour of Nazir or his relatives. In 2019, Nazir and his two brothers were charged with sexual offences against minors. “Lord Nazir was charged with 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,” Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported. “His brother Mohamed Farouq was charged with four counts of indecent assault against a boy. One of these counts relates to when the boy was under eight, in the late 1960s. His other brother Mohammed Tariq was charged with two counts of indecent assault against a boy under 11.”
These cases are going to trial in early 2021, already delayed by the Covid-19 crisis. Earlier, he has spent 12 weeks in prison for rash driving.
Bitter Delhi Critic
Basically hailing from Pakistan administered Kashmir, Nazir had migrated to Britain as a child. He has lived in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, since his childhood. He grew up, joined politics and eventually became a “life peer” in 1998 on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. In 2013, however, he resigned from the Labour Party after remaining associated with it since he was 18. He has been a bitter critic of Delhi’s Kashmir policy.