The election of the Church of Pakistan’s Lahore Diocesan bishop has been declared “illegal” and “unconstitutional” by the competent authority, a spokesperson of the Church of Pakistan (CoP) said.
“The Registrar Joint Stock Companies, Lahore has admitted our petition seeking annulment of the January 18, election of Reverend Nadeem Kamran as the bishop of Lahore, vindicating our stance that the election was conducted in violation of the constitution and rules of the Church of Pakistan,” CoP spokesperson Reverend Emmanuel Khokhar stated in a press statement on Saturday.
Rev Khokhar said the premier body of the CoP, the Synod, had challenged Rev Kamran’s election and sought de-registration of the Church of Pakistan Lahore Diocesan Council on the grounds that its office-bearers had committed an illegal action by conducting the bishop’s election without authorization from the Synod.
“Office-bearers of the Diocese of Lahore have not only cheated their members but also lied before the competent authority that it was an autonomous body and did not come under the purview of the Synod.
“Their claim that the CoP has no legal authority over the Lahore diocese because it was not a registered body has also been rejected by the competent authority. Instead, the Registrar has endorsed the verdicts of the Sindh High Court and a civil court in Lahore that the CoP is a ‘constructive trust’ and has constitutional oversight of the affairs of its member dioceses,” he said.
The spokesperson said the Lahore diocese representatives repeatedly tried to mislead the competent authority about the CoP’s constitutional powers and rules of election of a bishop but their claims were proven false at all levels.
“We submitted evidence wherein the Lahore diocese has admitted that it was a part of the CoP and that the Synod convenes the election of bishop. Moreover, documentary proof showed that all previous elections of bishop were held according to the election rules of the CoP Synod, therefore, there was no truth in the diocese’s claims that it can conduct the election on its own,” he said.
Khokhar said the election rules claimed by the Lahore diocese had never been submitted to the Registrar’s office and this act was contrary to the provisions of the registered constitution and provisions of the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
“Taking into account all documentary evidence, the Registrar’s office has declared the election of the Lahore Diocesan bishop illegal and unconstitutional and ordered for immediately reconvening the election in accordance with the provisions of the registered constitution of the Lahore Diocesan Council and constitution/rules of the CoP as per the established previous practice,” he said.
Khokhar said that following the verdict, the CoP Synod will now conduct the election of the Lahore diocesan bishop.