Lord Nazir Ahmed, the first Muslim member appointed in the House of Lords for life, announced his resignation from the House of Lords on Monday. A day after his announcement, a report by the conduct committee recommended the Upper House that he should be expelled in light of sexual misconduct.
Breaching the Code of Conduct
The report read, “Lord Ahmed breached the Code of Conduct by failing to act on his personal honor 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 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…” the report added.
— Talat Aslam (@titojourno) November 18, 2020
Lord Nazir announced that he would challenge the report at the European Court of Human Rights. He made this announcement shortly after the report was published.
“I am extremely disappointed by the Report of the Conduct Committee which is based on a flawed and unfair investigation process. I have always said, and maintain, that the allegations contained in the Report are not true. Given this, I am now going to continue pursuing my appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to remedy this injustice.”, said Lord Nazir in a statement to Geo.
Allegations of sexual misconduct
The conduct committee further deduced that Tahira Zaman, a 43 year old British Pakistani citizen was emotionally “exploited” by Lord Nazir in 2017, when she came to him for help with a personal issue. Ms. Zaman wanted the police to investigate a Muslim healer who she thought is not safe for women. Lord Nazir kept asking her for dinner until she agreed, Ms. Zaman told BBC. Lord Nazir asked Ms. Zaman to come to his residence when she reached out to him after a few weeks to discuss the case. There are reports that suggest they both had a consensual sexual relationship, on which she stated, “I was looking for help and he took advantage of me. He abused his power.”
The head of committee, in the inquiry report states, “while Lord Ahmed was taking no steps to help Ms. Zaman for the majority of their interactions, he allowed and encouraged her to believe that he was”.
“[On] important issues Lord Ahmed persistently gave deliberately inaccurate and misleading accounts to conceal his behavior towards Ms. Zaman … I consider that in conducting himself in this manner he has failed genuinely to cooperate with my investigation. He has failed to act on his personal honor, as evidenced,” the commissioner added. He also accused Lord Nazir of not cooperating with the complainant’s case by disregarding the evidence through “denial and dishonesty”.
While speaking to BBC last year, Lord Nazir stated, “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.”
First Muslim member of the House of Lords
Lord Nazir became the first Muslim to be appointed in the House of Lords and made history. He took his oath in 2019 after a service of 21 years. While sharing a video of his oath ceremony on twitter, Lord Nazir said “Took my oath today in the @UKHouseofLords for the new Parliamentary session. After 21 years of service, I am proud to be the longest serving Muslim member in the house.”
He has also been an actively vocal about the Kashmir issue and strongly condemns the Indian brutalities in occupied Kashmir. He describes himself as “A campaigner for Kashmiris”. Lord Nazir is a strong advocate for Muslim communities in UK as well as Pakistan. He visited Pakistan in 2018, when Imran Khan had just won the general elections, and discussed how Pakistan’s relations can be improved globally.
“We are living a poor life here, why did they do this to us?”
Civilians on both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir assess the damage after deadly cross-border shelling between India and Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/PPqxcZs7YY
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 16, 2020
His resignation has garnered several reactions on social media. Many are questioning why he would choose to resign days before his expulsion if he was innocent? It appears Lord Nazir would not lose his title now that he has resigned and has not been forced out. Others show their dissatisfaction with Lord Nazir, as he was the first Muslim appointed in the House of Lords and such cases of sexual misconduct bring shame to the Muslim community.
— SHYK (@KhanUbf) November 17, 2020