Court takes action in Lahore bishop’s election controversy

    The Lahore Diocese of Church of Pakistan (CoP) remains embroiled in controversy following the election of Reverend Nadeem Kamran as the 10th diocesan bishop, as a court in Lahore has restrained him from continuing in office amid damning claims by senior clergy leaders regarding the ‘illegal’ appointment.

    On March 3, Lahore Civil Judge Ayaz Mahmood admitted a petition filed by Rev Samuel Barkat, the priest in-charge of Saint John’s Church of the Lahore Diocese, seeking a restraint order against Rev Nadeem from exercising authority as bishop and over financial matters of the diocese.

    Rev Barkat told Kross Konnection that he was compelled to move the court against Rev Nadeem because of the manner in which the election was conducted and the latter was installed as the diocesan bishop by three retired bishops of the CoP.

    “I approached the court because my conscience could not bear this illegal action.

    READ MORE: Church union at risk in Pakistan after bishop’s election controversy

    “All constitutional provisions related to election of a bishop were violated. Only a handful of people knew the actual purpose of the diocesan executive meeting held on Jan 18, while the other participants only found out about the election after they were locked in the room and forced to vote for Rev Nadeem,” said Rev Barkat.

    The priest said the election and subsequent consecration of Rev Nadeem as bishop by three retired bishops – Alexander John Malik, Samuel Robert Azariah and Irfan Jameel – had pushed the diocese into chaos and put CoP unity at risk.

    Kross Konnection contacted Rev Nadeem for his comment on the court’s order but he did not respond by the time this report was filed.


    Meanwhile, another senior leader of the Lahore Diocese has also levelled similar allegations against the three retired bishops, Rev Nadeem, former diocesan secretary Anthony Lamuel and diocesan treasurer Wilson Massey in a letter addressed to the head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Bishop Anthony Poggo, the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

    In the letter dated Jan 20, Lahore Diocese Vice President Rev Emmanuel Lorraine alleged that the members of the executive committee were not informed about the agenda of the meeting held on Jan 18.

    According to the priest, the diocesan treasurer did not send any written notice to the members and they were just informed about the meeting “a day or two before” via phone calls.

    According to the amended constitution of the Lahore Diocese, a 21-day notice is mandatory for calling special meetings of the executive council.

    “On my telephonic conversation, I enquired being Vice President, about the purpose/agenda of the meeting, the treasurer (Mr Wilson Massey) answered that we are just meeting to describe the on-going Diocesan situation,” Rev Lorraine stated in the letter.

    The diocesan VP quoted retired Bishop Alexander John Malik as saying during the meeting that the diocesan executive is powerful enough to elect/choose their own bishop.

    “He [Bishop Malik] further claimed about the retired bishops as ‘Once a bishop forever a bishop’ and ‘A retired bishop is equally powerful and does not lose his powers even after his retirement’.”

    According to Rev Lorraine, retired Bishop Samuel Azariah, who acted as election commissioner and was a “co-partner” in Rev Nadeem’s consecration, had already travelled from Rawalpindi to Lahore to attend the meeting “according to the plan”.

    The diocesan official alleged that the perpetrators of the election had hired private security for the meeting, who seized the cell phones of the meeting participants and locked all doors to stop them from leaving the room.

    Rev Lorraine also criticised the formation of the executive committee, claiming that four family members and other close aides of retired Bishop Irfan Jamil were part of the committee.

    “Anthony Lamuel is brother-in-law of Bishop Irfan Jamil and he is a member of every diocesan committee. Bishop Irfan Jamil’s daughter and wife whose votes are cancelled also participated in the meeting.

    “Two family members of Mr [Wilson] Massey are also part of executive committee which again creates conflict of interest,” the priest stated in the letter.

    Rev Lorraine demanded that the election of Rev Nadeem be declared null and void.

    “The three retired Bishops (Bishop Alexander John Malik, Bishop Irfan Jamil and Bishop Samuel Azariah who were elected and consecrated under the same constitution and procedure which they have now clearly violated should be summoned and be made clear [sic] that they have no such right to practice the powers of a sitting bishop.

    “The three retired bishops and Rev Nadeem Kamran (who is already compromised because all the retired bishops along with Anthony Lamuel have their vested interests and they have eventually brought him forward as their bishop) should be defrocked as a result of this heinous act,” he stated.

    Earlier, in a letter addressed to the Moderator/President of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Dr Azad Marshall, Rev Lorraine had objected to public canvassing of Rev Nadeem Kamran by then then secretary of the CoP Synod, Anthony Lamuel and retired Bishop Irfan Jameel.

    Kross Konnection contacted Bishop Marshall, Anthony Lamuel and Bishop Irfan for their comments on the issue but they did not respond to the messages.

    Earlier, a spokesperson of the Church of Pakistan condemned Rev Nadeem for misrepresenting the Church of Pakistan by presenting himself as the Bishop of Lahore.

    In a press statement, The Very Reverend Emmanuel Khokhar said, “The Church of Pakistan and the Executive Committee of the Synod of the Church of Pakistan wish to bring it on record that Nadeem Kamran does not represent the Church of Pakistan.

    “Nadeem Kamran’s election and appointment as bishop by three retired bishops is in violation of the law and constitution of the Church of Pakistan. Therefore, his actions and statements as a bishop of the CoP have no legal value and are not endorsed by any bishop of the united church.”

    The spokesperson said that it was unfortunate that some individuals were projecting Nadeem Kamran as a bishop of the Church of Pakistan, which was detrimental to the unity of the church.

    “Only the Moderator of the Church of Pakistan and bishops duly appointed and consecrated by the Synod of the Church of Pakistan are authorized to present themselves as leaders of the church. All communication by unauthorised persons should be considered void and illegal,” the spokesperson concluded.

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