DEATH OF THE BISHOP Some Facts..<br>By Rt. Rev. Dr. Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir


On 6th May 1998, Bishop John Joseph was killed in mysterious circumstances. It was announced by the local Police and confirmed by the Catholic Church that Bishop John Joseph committed suicide in protest on the death sentence of one Ayub Mashi who was

An inquiry was conducted by Sahiwal Police and in few days time the "murder" of the Bishop was branded "suicide" and the case was closed for good. The mystery of the death of Bishop John Joseph stands unresolved even after Four years. The Catholic Church has accepted that the Bishop "gave his life" to get the blasphemy law abolished. Police accepted the story and closed down the file without taking following facts into consideration.

1. What could Bishop John Joseph gain for Ayub Masih, the accused, by killing himself?
2. If it was a suicide, did Bishop John Joseph leave "protest note" behind with any one?
3. If he killed himself in protest to the verdict of Session Court, did his suicide serve any good purpose?
4. Why did the Bishop kill himself around 9:PM in darkness, on Wednesday the 6th of May, 9th of Muharam, a closed holiday in Pakistan. (Courts were closed any way on that date and especially at that time).
5. Why he did not choose daytime "suicide in protest" when the courts were open and general public was around to know why the Bishop is killing himself? It would have been an open and more effective way to protest.
6. Being a Bishop and fully understanding that "suicide" is an unforgivable sin, can any sane person believe the "suicide story"?
7. Bishop John Joseph was a man of perfect strong and iron will. Could a strong willed person like him commit suicide?

The answer to all these simple questions is a very big "NO". I would now touch upon technical aspect of the whole "suicide mystery".

1. Bishop John Joseph goes to the "closed and locked gate" of Session Court, with two other persons. Stands before the "gate", tell his companions to go and sit in the car, pulls his "pistol", loads it, and pulls the trigger. His companions are hardly 20 to 25 meters away and they did not hear the sound of loading of "pistol". (When a pistol is loaded, the sound can be heard from a distance of 30 to 40 meters at night).

2. He fires the "pistol", his companions reportedly rush to the "dead bishop", yet the watchman inside the Session Court compound does not hear the "blast of a bullet". If the watchman did hear firing of a weapon at night, he does not care to find out what is going on near the Session Court gate. What kind of watchman was he and why the local police did not take him to task?

3. Local Police was not informed immediately, instead one of the companion "a Father" goes to his "perish" to mourn the death of bishop all by himself, tells the congregation and Christian community. After all preparations, he informs the local Police. (By that time "foot prints" of three persons disappear under the foot prints of hundreds of Christians gathered there. (Bishop John Joseph was a well traveled person, a busy man, there is every reason to believe that he had a "mobile phone". If this theory is right, why his companions did not use bishop's mobile phone to inform the Police?) This is very big question.

4. Did Police find the empty cartridge of the bullet that killed the bishop? (Empty cartridge could reveal if the same weapon was used for "suicide" that was laying less than 2 meters away from the "left hand" of the bishop).

5. Was the postmortem of the body was carried out. If yes, was "paraffin test" carried out on both hands of bishop? If not, why this negligency? Did the police carried out "paraffin test" of his companions and the Session Court guard?

6. In colored photographs of the body of bishop John Joseph, released by the press especially Christian press, he is lying so close to the gate of Session Court that by the weight of his body, the gate is slightly opened. The gate was not locked from outside as claimed. There was no lock seen in the photographs. Who opened the lock and where did the lock go, no one knows. If it was locked from inside, why there was a "gap" between the two parts of the heavy gate?

7. The bishop shoots himself or was shoot by an unknown person between his "eyebrows" from where the bullet entered his forehead. (The cause of death) He was wearing "clean white robe". On and near his right shoulder, the blood can be seen as if the bishop rubbed his shoulder against back of his head! There was some blood on his chest and left shoulder, his "left arm" was socked in blood. As mentioned above the "pistol" was lying on ground less than 2 meters away. There was a "line of blood" a straight line from the blood stained "pistol" to the fingers of the bishop. (According to best of my knowledge, no finger prints were taken from the "pistol". Had that been done killers could have been apprehended).

8. Bishop Jon Joseph worker with his "right hand" (duly confirmed from his office in Faisalabad) yet his right hand had no blood on it. It looks that he fired the "pistol" with his "left hand" took a few steps backwards in the direction of the gate, dropping blood stained "pistol", blood dripping from his "left hand" he fell very close to the gate. There he was lying very straight. This is not possible. If the bishop had fired to kill himself, he must have done it in extreme anger, disappointment and spontaneously. Any spontaneous act done is always done with the "natural hand", in this case it can be clearly seen that Bishop John Joseph pulled the trigger with his "left hand" (which he did not). This proves that the bishop did not shoot himself.

9. There is lot of diversity in the statements of his "two" companions.

These were the few facts that came to my notice after studying the case very carefully through little information that I could gather. It must be noted that being fully qualified in all kind of explosives and having fairly good knowledge of ballistics and very familiar with all kinds of "small arms", I can say all that I have said with certainty.

The way the whole case was "hushed up" the question then is, was the death of Bishop John Joseph a result of some dispute within the Catholic Church. Or by opposing the "blasphemy law" how many enemies did he make among Muslims? If any one can find an answer to these questions, the cause of death of Bishop John Joseph can be revealed and the people could know "bitter facts". I say it with surety and certainty that Bishop John Joseph DID NOT COMMITE SUICIDE, he was murdered.

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