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Archbishop Joseph Arshad was born on August 25, 1965 in Lahore. After completing school, he began his priestly education at St. Mary’s Minor Seminary, Lahore. He continued his studies at Christ the King Seminary in Karachi. After his ordination on November 1, 1991, he was appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph's Church and also given charge of St. Peter's School in Gujranwala. For a while he also studied journalism.
In 1995, he went to Rome for Canon Law studies at the Pontifical Urban University and then underwent training as a Vatican diplomat at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
His doctoral Dissertation “The responsibility of a diocesan bishop in defending the unity of the universal Church according to c. 392” was published by the Urbaniana University Press in 1999.
He was the first Pakistani priest to join the Vatican diplomatic service. From 1999 to 2002 he served at the Apostolic Nunciature in Malta. From then until 2010, he served at the Apostolic Nunciatures in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Madagascar.
As of July 2013 he was a councillor at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pope Francis on July 3, 2013 appointed Fr. Arshad as the bishop of the Faisalabad Diocese.
On 12 November 2016, Arshad was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, which was vacant since the death of Bishop Rufin Anthony, who died on October, 17, 2016.
On December 10, 2016, he received the National Human Rights Award 2016 from Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain for human rights advocacy. Arshad is also the chair of the Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace.
On 10 November 2017 he became president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan.
On 8 December 2017 Pope Francis transferred Arshad as the Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Diocese in Pakistan. He also conferred on him the “personal title” of Archbishop.