The Election of Bishop of Multan Diocese, Which could not be Held.
23 Aug 2007
Pakistan. August 23, 2007. The CoP News Service (Team) was in retreat for quite some time though we had plenty of news to share both good and those, which sadden us. All these are for our reflections and prayers for the betterment of the church at large. We were hopeful that prayer warriors would pray out the issues facing the church.
We have been asked by many friends to write on the election of Multan Diocese, which was scheduled to be held on 16 th of August 2007 by Bishop Alexander John Malik being Moderator of the Church of Pakistan.
All was set to hold the election according to the new system/procedure, which we had termed as illegal because of the illegality of the Synod and vested interests of some of the leaders of the Synod, but we were quite in order to see the result of the awareness drive and did not interfere in any way.
According to the new system the Diocesan Council (in this case the Diocesan Council of Multan) were supposed to short list three candidates from the entire list of candidates and the same day the executive committee of the Synod was to act as the electoral college of the Synod whereas the executive committee of the Diocese of Multan was to act as the electoral college of the Diocese.
At the time of fabricating this new system the chief of the new system was confident to manipulate both the houses to install the Bishop of his own choice but had neglected one aspect what if the Diocesan Council did not vote for his candidate to place him among the top three.
When it became clear that he does not grip the Council it was already late as all the members of the Council and those of the executive committee of the Synod had reached Multan on 15th August 2007.
The chief architect of the new system was lodged in Dubai Palace Hotel along with the Bishops and some dignitaries of his choice. Realizing the flaw in gripping everything he asked the members of the executive committee of the Synod to support him for the postponement of the election until such time that he can harness the situation. As most of the members of the Synod are not used to applying their mind they said yes.
He called all the candidates and made the announcement of postponing the election for the Bishop of Multan. This announcement was immediately condemned by some of the candidates.
The members of the Multan Diocesan Council who were already around took it as an offence and gathered at the hotel and started raising slogans against the chief architect of the new system and the Synod.
He women of Multan Diocese mainly the delegates to the council went to the room of the Moderator Bishop Alexander John Malik in the hotel and wanted to drag him out all the time protesting and saying all sort of things.
Police called for protection.
The honorable moderator called the local police for his protection but they even could not cool down the mob, which was difficult to handle including the women. The Bishops Samuel Robert Azriah and Azad Marshall who have greater influence within the Diocese of Multan intervened and took the people away for negotiations. They assured the mob that hey would provide them opportunity to speak to the Moderator.
The Moderator flees in burqa.
During this time when the mob was talking to the above mentioned Bishops the Moderator fled from the hotel. According to unconfirmed reports he fled in a BURQA. Readers the burqa is a long gown type of dress worn by Muslim women to cover the entire body of including the face in the Muslim world.
Last month if you remember at the incidence of Lal Masjid in Islamabad the leading Muslim clergy of that mosque had tried to escape the police in burqa and was internationally televised.
In this case it is said that the two Bishops helped him get away in burqa and some even say he went as portraying the wife of the Secretary of the Synod who comes from Peshawar in the NWFP Province of Pakistan which is these days hub of the activities of Muslim extremists and even the non-Muslim women also wear burqas.
The next morning some of the left over Bishops including the above mentioned but excluding the big one were given a very tough time by the members of Multan Diocese as they are not sure of their future.