Maryam Nawaz’s political speech lands Catholic clergy in hot water | Pakistan Today

Maryam Nawaz’s political speech lands Catholic clergy in hot water

LAHORE: The Archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Lahore was forced to issue a public apology on Monday evening after Pakistani Christians across the world severely criticised the clergy for allowing Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to make a political speech in connection with the upcoming NA-120 by-elections, from the pulpit of the Roman Catholic cathedral in the city last week.

On Sept 1, Maryam visited the Sacred Heart Cathedral along with Senator Kamran Michael, Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sindhu and Bishop of Raiwind Rt Reverend Azad Marshall.

It was said that Maryam had visited the church for special prayers for her mother Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who is reportedly suffering from throat cancer and had undergone a surgery in London on Thursday.

During the special service, the former PM’s daughter was allowed to address the audience from the pulpit — a raised enclosed platform from which the preacher delivers the sermon.

After acknowledging the role of the Christian community in the development of Pakistan, Maryam used the opportunity to appeal for votes for her party in the NA-120 by-poll. The seat fell vacant after the disqualification of her father Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case. Begum Kulsoom is the party’s candidate for the by-poll and Maryam is heading the campaign in her absence.

Maryam also criticised Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, saying the country needed a change in the judicial system rather than change of prime ministers.

While it is not yet known whether Maryam was told beforehand by the clergymen or her party members to avoid making political comments inside the church, the incident triggered an uproar in the community, as Pakistani Christians took to the social media to protest against the ‘sacrilege’ of the pulpit.

The incessant criticism ultimately forced the Archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Lahore to issue a public apology.

A statement issued by Father Francis Gulzar, vicar general of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore, stated that Archbishop of Lahore Sebastian Shaw and the church administration regretted the use of the church pulpit for political purposes, and vowed not to allow any such gathering inside churches in future.

“It has been decided that the church doors will always be open for prayer for everyone, however, the church platform will not be used for political purposes in future,” the statement said.

The statement went on to claim that the church had conceded to requests made by Senator Michael, Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu and MPA Shakeel Ivan that Maryam Nawaz wanted to visit the church for special prayers for her mother.

The church statement further claims that it was unanimously agreed during the meeting with the three PML-N lawmakers that Maryam will speak about herself and her family members’ association with Christian schools. However, the apology implies that the clergy was taken by surprise when the former PM’s daughter started making political comments from the pulpit.


Brig (r) Samson Simon Sharaf, a prominent Catholic and political activist, says that neither the church administration nor the PML-N’s representatives had anticipated such a furious reaction from the community.

Sharaf said the public apology is merely an attempt to calm the community as a large number of Catholics have written letters to the Vatican and the Ambassador of the Holy See in Pakistan demanding the sacking of Archbishop Sebastian for violating the constitution of the Catholic church by allowing political activity inside church premises.

“Why did the administration fail to anticipate any political activity even though election posters were pasted in the church compound by PML-N supporters well before Maryam’s arrival?” he asked, adding that it was a well-known fact that some senior members of the Catholic and Protestant clergies were colluding with the PML-N and other parties for power and clout.

Meanwhile, informed sources told Pakistan Today that before approaching the Catholic archbishop for holding the special gathering for Maryam, Senator Kamran Michael had tried to convince the Presbyterian and Anglican church bodies to arrange similar gatherings in  churches that fall under the NA-120 constituency in a bid to appease Maryam Nawaz.

“Michael reportedly approached the Presbyterian church to host a programme for Maryam but they refused to comply with his wish,” said the source, adding that the senator then pleaded the newly installed bishop of Raiwind Diocese, Azad Marshall, to hold the gathering in the Praying Hands Cathedral on Waris Road, but he too refused to hold the political event in his church fearing public backlash.

“However, Bishop Marshall accepted Michael’s invitation to attend the event in the Sacred Heart Cathedral because of his close relations with the senator and other senior PML-N leaders,” the source said.

Shakeel Naz, an educationist, said that it was unfortunate that neither the bishops nor the lawmakers had asked Maryam to refrain from making political comments in the church.

“Even if we assume that Maryam was not asked beforehand to avoid making political comments, someone could have politely intervened when she began speaking on political issues. I’m sure she would have understood and complied with the instruction,” he said.

Pakistan Today made repeated attempts to contact Senator Kamran Michael and Punjab Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu for their comments but they remained unavailable.

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  1. Haroon butt said:

    kamran michal shipping minister is him self a big cheater and thief.he intentinally make fool of bishop when maryam panama thief posters r on church how bishop denies that she can’t give politicial speech.bishop don’t fool people only fool your self

  2. Ali said:

    Can we PLEASE have the same ban on Political speech in Masajid……. Sorry to our christian brothers that they have to bend over backwards to be part of Pakistan.

    • FarLand said:

      Don’t blame Christian brothers and sisters for that. It should be this pathetic women who should be apologizing the church and Christian community

      • Dr.M.M.Khan said:

        i agree. It is common sense that you don,t give political speeches in a Church but then this lady is a law unto herself! She did it from the pulpit too!

  3. Imran said:

    Thieves are finding their way out of the NAB caseso by posing themselves innocent people. They are making fool of simple and ignorant poor people.PML wants to win this by eleating through any means, even they may surpass limits of respecting any religion or even God,. Because their God is nothing but WEALTH.

  4. Samuel massi said:

    It is shameful that our church is used by Maryam Nawaz for her political wishes, she should be shamed her self, we have decided that we will not vote for PML N as it is a cheater party

  5. Khudar khan said:

    Actually she hasn’t got any common sence at all.
    As they have only sence of being praised by low sence and IQ holder pendoo Lahories.and how to fool people after steeling their mony via big frauds.
    Shame on this family and their supporters.

  6. Khudar khan said:

    Actually she hasn’t got any common sense at all.
    As they have only sence of being praised by low sense and IQ holder pendoo Lahories.and how to fool people after stealing their mony via big frauds.
    Shame on this family and their supporters.

    • Muhammad Younus said:

      Please … you have no right to use the words like “low sense and IQ holder pendoo Lahories* it doubts moral values and ethics in your own personality.
      You may blame Maryum Nawaz and her supporters for political reasons, but as a citizen, one should respect all in our homeland.

  7. Pingback: Maryam Nawaz’s political speech lands Catholic clergy in hot water – Heatrow Store

  8. alvi said:

    Her father like Ram Rameem has million of his chellas. So Marium like his father has same character. Both are foolish.

  9. Gemini said:

    Maryam wanted to impress Trump ! She doesn’t know that Zardari has already impressed Trump !

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