Clip from Waqt TV – The news ticker in Urdu reads: "Lord Nazir sets price for the heads of Bush and Tony Blair"
Below are excerpts of reports from the Pakistani and Urdu media on Lord Nazir Ahmed's controversial statements, in which he reportedly announced a bounty for the heads of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, that led to his temporary suspension from the UK's Labour Party. The controversy involves two speeches and a press statement that he delivered in the town of Haripur on April 13, 2012 and a few days earlier in Lahore on April 10, 2012.
While international media organizations based their reports on a single source, The Express Tribune daily of Pakistan, which carried a report on Ahmed's announcement of £10 million (about $16 million) rewards for U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush in Haripur, the Western media has not reported that Ahmed allegedly made a similar statement while addressing students at Punjab University in Lahore on April 10, 2012. This incident was widely reported next day, April 11, in the Pakistani media and by at least one London-based Urdu daily. In fact, two days after Lord Nazir Ahmed first announced a bounty for Bush in Lahore, his announcement became a topic for the political comedy show Hasb-e-Haal, broadcast by the Pakistani television channel Dunya TV.
Ahmed's statement followed the U.S.'s announcement of a $10 million reward for Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the Pakistani jihadist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and Emir of its charity arm Jamaatud Dawa. Both organizations are banned by the UN Security Council for their role in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Following the controversy, Ahmed denied that he offered any bounty for Obama, Bush and Blair, telling CNN: "I am appalled that The Tribune Express [sic; The Express Tribune] has told such a big lie. I did not mention President Obama and I did not mention any bounty." He told GEO TV: "I didn't mention bounty at all. It's a fabrication by the BBC and other sections of the media. My positing on the shedding of blood, whether of Muslims or non-Muslims, is well known and I have always maintained it." About his suspension, he said: "The Labour Party, with the false news stories from BBC and Sky [TV] as a basis, has suspended me temporarily... I neither uttered the name of Barack Obama in any of my speeches nor set money for anyone's head…. "
Reports on the Lahore Speech
London-Based Urdu Daily Roznama Ausaf, April 11: "America Set Price for the Head of Hafiz Saeed to Keep Him On the Defensive – Lord Nazir" – "I set $10 Million for the Head of Bush; [I] Will Arrange the Money"
A copy of the report in Roznama Ausaf
Following are excerpts from a report on Lord Nazir Ahmed's statement published in the London-based Urdu daily Roznama Ausaf, which is also published from Pakistan:
Headline: "America Set Price for the Head of Hafiz Saeed to Keep Him on the Defensive – Lord Nazir"; Sub-Headline: "I Set $10 Million for the Head of Bush; [I] Will Arrange the Money"
Text of the report: "British MP Lord Nazir Ahmed said that America has deliberately set a price for the head of Hafiz Saeed so that he can be kept in a defensive position. Contrary to this, I set the price of George Bush's head at $10 million. And I will collect this money by begging in the streets…."
Headline in Pakistani Urdu Daily Roznama Express: "Lord Nazir Offers $10 Million as Price of George Bush"
A copy of the report in Roznama Express
Following are excerpts from a report in Roznama Express, a mass-circulation Urdu daily published from several Pakistani cities:
First headline: "Lord Nazir offers $10 million as price of George Bush"
Second headline: "Bush, Blair should be charged with war crimes; Iran can be attacked for votes"
Third headline: "Pakistan needs evolution: Speech; Lord Nazir is defender of justice: Dr. Mujahid"
The text of report: "[Punjab University] Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Mujahid Kamran, Director of Students' Affairs Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmad, faculty members and male and female students took part in the seminar in large numbers. Lord Nazir Ahmed said that true leadership is needed in order to solve the challenges faced by Pakistan. This is a year of challenges, he said. Elections are taking place in America and in France. It is possible that to seek votes, Iran can be attacked, or Israel be made to do it. I am in favor of denuclearization, but this task should begin with Israel.
"America has deliberately put a price on the head of Hafiz Saeed [founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Emir of its charity arm Jamaatud Dawa] so that he can be kept on the defensive. To counter this, I set 10 million as the price [for the head] of George W. Bush. I will collect [the money] by begging in the streets, but Bush and Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes. If Obama can talk to the Taliban, then our President [Asif Zardari of Pakistan] too should talk to the Taliban and Baluchi brothers [i.e. Baluchi rebels fighting for independence of Baluchistan from Pakistan…."
Pakistan's Waqt TV Reports: "Lord Nazir Sets Price for the Heads of Bush and Tony Blair"
On April 10, 2012, Lord Nazir Ahmed addressed students at Punjab University in Lahore. The event was reported by the Pakistani TV channel Waqt on the same day, and a video clip of the report was posted by Hafiz Saeed's Jamaatud Dawa on its YouTube channel the same day. Following is the transcript of the Waqt TV report:
"In response to the U.S. setting the price of the head of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, British MP Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced that he will reward anyone who assassinates George W. Bush with $100,000.
"Addressing the students of Punjab University [in Lahore], Lord Nazir Ahmed said that if America can set a price for the head of the innocent Hafiz Saeed, then he announces a reward of $100,000 to anyone who assassinates George W. Bush, the killer of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan…."
As the television presenters read the news, the channel flashed the following headline (see Urdu text in top image): "Lord Nazir sets price for the heads of Bush and Tony Blair."
Headline in Pakistani Daily The News: "Nazir Puts $10m Bounty on Bush"
Following are excerpts from a report titled "Nazir Puts $10m Bounty on Bush," from the leading Pakistani daily The News:
"Speaking at a seminar on 'International Scenario, Pakistan and Our Responsibilities,' [Ahmed] said that the U.S. had fixed a bounty on Hafiz Saeed to put Pakistan on defensive. He said, 'I announce a $10 million reward on George W. Bush....'
"The event was held by Directorate of Student Affairs, PU [Punjab University].
"Lord Nazir said he would collect the money whether he had to beg in streets, but that Bush and Tony Blair should be charged with war crimes.
"He said that Western economies were touching their lowest and that the U.S. had gone under the debt of trillions of dollars. He said Iran was likely to be attacked by the U.S. or Israel, which would be dangerous for the Western countries...."
Punjab University Website, Other Pakistani Website Report Quote Ahmed as Saying: "I Announce $10 Million Reward Against Mr. George W. Bush"
The following are excerpts from a report on the speech of Lord Nazir Ahmed, as published on the official website of Punjab University:
"[Lord Nazir Ahmed] said that the U.S. had set the head money of Hafiz Saeed purposely, to keep Pakistan in defensive position. To counter that, he said, I announce a $10-million-dollar reward against Mr. George W. Bush.
"He said that he would collect the money if he had to beg in the streets, but that Bush and Tony Blair should be charged with war crimes. He said that 43 armies of powerful countries with all their might could not defeat the shoeless Afghans.
"If U.S. President Obama is negotiating with them, then our president [Asif Zardari of Pakistan] should also follow suit, he added. He said that the president should invite the Taliban, the aggrieved Baloch [i.e. Baluchi rebels] in the mountains, and us to [the] Presidential House for parleys…."
This report was republished verbatim two days later, on April 12, 2012, by on another Pakistani website, pakmed.net.
Ahmed's Bounty Becomes Topic on Political Comedy Show on Pakistan's Dunya TV
Lord Nazir Ahmed's bounty reportedly announced at the Lahore seminar quickly became a topic on a political comedy show, Hasb-e-Haal, broadcast April 12, 2012 by Pakistan's Dunya TV. Following are excerpts from the transcript of the episode on Ahmed's bounty:
TV Anchor: "What happened [that you're laughing so hard]?"
Comedian Azizi: Yaar [buddy], Lord Nazir of Britain, who is of Pakistani origin, has said a very remarkable thing. I am just tickled [to hear it]. He is currently visiting here in Pakistan and has addressed a function at the Punjab University. He said that America keeps putting bounties on the heads of our people, he says about the Prime Minister of Britain [Tony Blair] and the Prime Minister [President George W. Bush] of the U.S., who have massacred so many Muslims in the name of the war on terror: 'I offer a bounty of one million dollars on the heads of both of them. Both of them be presented to me and I'll give one million dollars.' Buddy, but where will he give one million dollars from?"
Anchor: "He said 'I will collect [the money] myself.'"
Azizi: "He might collect one million dollars, as he looks like a wrestler, with his visage and body build. And he is a wrestler, because he is saying such things; isn't he a wrestler? He might hold a wrestling match with some Englishman with a one-million-dollar bet. He will tell him first, Heads I win, tails you lose; give me the one million.
Anchor: "He won't lose. He is a very intelligent person. Just look at this statement, which is apparently very emotional and inflammatory, and [it is clear that] it is not made by some semi-literate maulvi [Islamic cleric] but by the permanent member of Britain's House of Lords, Lord Nazir. So shouldn't it be significant?"
Azizi: "There is no small significance in it! He has exposed all the shrewdness of the U.S. and England in just one sentence, like a skilled mechanic who has the whole engine opened up within moments. What a point he has made! He has said that this Obama could attack Iran to gain a victory in Intehabad [pun on Abbottabad, where Osama bin Laden was killed – that is, to win votes in the election] but this war cannot be won. Buddy, he also said that if the U.S. is against Iran's nuclear technology, then it should also talk to Israel and ask it to suspend it; is Israel the eldest son of his paternal aunt?"
Anchor: "A member of the House of Lords, sitting in Europe, is saying these things. It is really a very commendable thing. Only someone with substance and argument can say such things while sitting in Europe!"
Azizi: "Absolutely, absolutely! Arguments are essential to humiliate the U.S. and Britain!"
Anchor: "Buddy, they don't get humiliated even if you put forth your arguments."
Azizi: "You mean shameless?"
Anchor: "You see, whenever we criticize any policy [or] the policy of a country, forget about the people from outside, people from amongst us, our friends start saying you are getting emotional. I don't understand where this emotionalism comes from if one talks on American atrocities and talks in favor of an oppressed nation?"
Report on Haripur Speech and Press Comments
Express Tribune Daily Quotes Ahmed: "If the U.S. Can Announce a Reward of $10 Million for the Captor of Hafiz Saeed, I Can Announce a Bounty of £10 Million on President Obama and His Predecessor George Bush"
The controversy and suspension of Lord Nazir Ahmed from the Labour Party erupted much later, after the Lahore speech, following the publication by The Express Tribune daily of a report on his speech and press comments in the town of Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Following are excerpts from The Express Tribune's report, which was filed from Haripur:
"In an expression of solidarity with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, British parliamentarian of Kashmiri origin Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced a reward for the captor of U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush.
"He made the announcement at a reception arranged in his honor by the business community of Haripur on Friday [April 13, 2012]. Former [Pakistani] Foreign Minister Goher Ayub Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl's (JUI-F) central leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] provincial Minister for Education Qazi Muhammad Asad were also present on the occasion.
"Lord Nazir said that the bounty placed on Saeed was an insult to all Muslims and [that] by doing so President Obama has challenged the dignity of the Muslim Ummah. 'If the U.S. can announce a reward of $10 million for the captor of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush,' Lord Nazir said, adding that he would arrange the bounty at any cost even if he was left with the option of selling all his personal assets, including his house…."
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W0Iy1sCfLU, accessed April 17, 2012. The original English of all reports from English-language media sources in this dispatch has been lightly edited for clarity and consistency.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY_4iO6oxxs&feature=related, April 16, 2012.
 The News (Pakistan), April 11, 2012. The English has been lightly edited for clarity.
 The Express Tribune (Pakistan), April 15, 2012. Later, CNN quoted The Express Tribune reporter as saying that he stood by the accuracy of his report and also noting that Lord Nazir Ahmed offered the £10 million bounty in comments to press reporters; see the CNN clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W0Iy1sCfLU, accessed April 17, 2012. However, under mounting pressure, The Express Tribune published a correction on April 18, 2012, retracting its reporter's original story – see http://tribune.com.pk/story/366378/clarification-lord-nazir-ahmeds-statement-in-haripur/