Monday, February 13, 2017
Islamabad High Court bars Valentine's Day celebration in public spaces
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday prohibited the celebration of Valentine's Day in public spaces and government offices across the country 'with immediate effect'.
A day before Valentine's Day, the Federal Ministry of Information, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Islamabad High Commission were told by Justice Shaukat Aziz, who was hearing the case, to submit their replies regarding the immediate execution of the court's orders. Print and electronic media have also been warned to "stop all Valentine's Day promotions immediately", while Pemra has been ordered to monitor all mediums and send out notifications banning any related promotions.
The orders were given on a petition submitted by citizen Abdul Waheed, who maintained that promotions on mainstream and social media for Valentine's Day are "against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately." The petition had further called for a ban on the celebration of Valentine's Day in public places, stating that, "in cover of spread of love in fact, immorality, nudity and indecency is being promoted which is against our rich culture."
Every year, Valentine's Day draws a mixed response from Pakistani citizens, with some supporting and celebrating it, but a few protesting its observance. In major cities, various restaurants, delivery services and bakeries come up with Valentine's Day promotions. On the other hand, there are those who come up with anti-Valentine's campaigns, such as 'Haya Day' on university campuses and various 'Say no to Valentine's Day' campaigns throughout the country.
Last year, President Mamnoon Hussain had urged Pakistanis to forego celebrtating Valentine’s Day, saying that it was not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West. He had said, “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” and added that the downsides of western culture had "adversely affected one of our neighbouring countries."