Former State Minister for Minorities’ Affairs- Bishop Rufin Julius passes away.
According to details, Bishop Rufin Julius passed away on December 12, 2015 in his hometown Gujranwala. Bishop Rufin served as a state minister for the minorities’ affairs during the reign of Benazir Bhutto. Family members say, he departed at the age of 69. Bishop Rufin Julius, was laid to rest in the graveyard of Francis Abad, on Sheikhupura Road Gujranwala.
Bishop Rufin was a Lahore diocesan catholic priest, who was suspended from priestly office on September 13, 1990 after he disobeyed the Pakistan Church’s ban on clergy to participate in campaigning for political posts. Bishop Rufin while violating this ban, ran for the General Elections in 1988.
Nonetheless, he won a National Assembly seat reserved for the minorities, and on March 22, 1989 was appointed as the State Minister for Minorities’ Affairs by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, after he pledged allegiance to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
A year after, he was suspended from his priestly office, the suspension order, served by Bishop Armando Trindade of Lahore, bared Father Julius from “all acts of the power of Orders, from all acts of the power of governance, (and) from the exercise of all rights and functions which are attached to the priestly office.” This decision marked the first ever public suspension of a priest in the history of the Catholic Church in Pakistan.
Bishop Rufin Julius was the third Pakistani Christian to be appointed as Cabinet Member on trot in any Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Prior to him, President Ayub Khan appointed the Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Carnilias as Federal Minister for law in 1968. Later in 1985, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan- Muhammad Khan Junejo appointed Lieutenant Colonel Herbert as Parliamentary Secretary for defense.