Controversial British peer Lord Ahmed has said he believes 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai, who is awaiting reconstructive surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, could have been shot as part of a government plot to discredit the Taliban.
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for trying to kill Malala, who was shot in the head and neck, when the TTP opened fire on her school van in the Swat valley on October 9.
But Lord Ahmed said he believes Malala might have been shot as an excuse to launch a military assault in the Taliban stronghold of Waziristan, The Telegraph reported.
"I don't know why it happened and one reason could possibly be there's an operation in Waziristan [which] may possibly be on the cards or some other sort of action," he was quoted as saying.
"It could have also been to build and increase public opinion and support in favour of a Waziristan operation and God forbid, she could have been caught as a tool in that conspiracy," he added.
Comparing the incident to crimes in London, he added: "One lone accident should not be generalised and this could have taken place in London and has done so in the past too. So we should not imply that this area is under the control of the Pakistani Taliban in any way just because of this incident."
Lord Ahmed, a former fishmonger and Labour Party councillor from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was made a life peer in 1998. He was temporarily suspended from the party in April after he told a business meeting in Haripur, Pakistan: "Even if I have to beg I am willing to raise and offer £10 million so that George W Bush and Tony Blair can be brought to the International Court of Justice on war crimes charges."