CAIRO - Britain's Labour Party has suspended peer lord Nazir Ahmed over reports that he offered a £10 million bounty for the capture of US President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush, a claim he denied firmly.
"We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation, a Labour Party spokesman said, the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday, April 16.
If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable."
Lord Ahmed, 53, was reported to have made the comments at a conference in Haripur in Pakistan.
At the reception held in his honor by the business community of Haripur last Friday, Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper reported that Lord Ahmed offered the bounty.
The paper said that Lord Ahmed comments were in response to the US move to issue a $10 million reward for the capture of Pakistani militant leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, .
The peer called the US reward "an insult to all Muslims", according to the Pakistani news report.
"If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the capture of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million ($15.9 million) on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush," he is reported to have said.
Lord Ahmed reportedly said he would arrange the bounty at any cost, even if he had to sell his own personal assets including his house.
Nazir Ahmed is a member of the House of Lords, having become the United Kingdom's first Muslim life peer in 1998.
Born in Pakistan, he became Baron Ahmed of Rotherham at the age of 40.
In 2007 he was highly critical of the awarding of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, claiming the author had "blood on his hands."
Responding to Labour's decision, Lord Ahmed firmly denied offering a bounty, saying that he had told the meeting that Bush and former-Labour prime minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes.
"They have suspended me? That's a surprise to me. I did not know, he told the Press Association from Pakistan, The Telegraph said.
The peer challenged the Labour Party to provide evidence for the suspension.
"I never said those words. 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. If the Labour Party want to suspend me I will deal with the Labour Party. They will have to give me some evidence."
Under Bush, US troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks to topple the ruling Taliban and ally Al-Qaeda.
Tow year later and without UN authorization, Bush and Blair led Iraq invasion in March 2003, on claims of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and links to Al-Qaeda, both proved ungrounded.
Iraqis have seen their lives sliding from bad to worse since the invasion, as the country remains gripped by violence and lacks many life essentials.
In 2004, then UN secretary general Kofi Annan said the invasion of Iraq was illegal.
Taking lead after Bush, President Barack Obama has identified Afghanistan as the main front in the so-called war on terror launched by his predecessor shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
Last June 2011, US President Barack Obama announced a phased troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to end the 10-year Afghan war.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net