Love is definitely not in ‘air’ in Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan has once again banned Valentine Day’s celebrations and its media coverage after the Islamabad High Court ruled the holiday as “un-Islamic”.

The Voice of America reported that in order to comply with the court ruling, Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed guidelines to its TV and radio licenses to remind them of the ban.

“Respondents are directed to ensure that nothing about the celebrations of Valentine’s Day and its promotion is spread on the Electronic and Print media. No event shall be held on an official level and at any public place. PEMRA is directed to ensure that all the TV channels shall stop the promotion of Valentine’s Day forthwith,” the PEMRA said in a statement.

The judgment also prohibited any advertising or the sale of merchandise associated with Valentine’s Day.

The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued a judgment on a petition claiming that Valentine’s Day was spreading “immorality, nudity and indecency” in the society.

The court also prohibited its celebrations in public places and government offices in Islamabad.

It further instructed PEMRA to “ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine’s Day and its promotion is spread.”

The decision has renewed a heated debate amongst the people, who are questioning the nature of the ban on Valentine Day’s celebrations.

While most people in Pakistan view the day as an opportunity to express love, others are questioning its validity in relevance to Islam.

The ruling has also affected many businesses across the country.

In a similar ban last year, flower vendors and shops selling Valentine’s Day-related items reported a huge drop in sales.

In recent years, Pakistan has been observing Valentine’s Day on February 14 every year. Most youths use the symbolic day to exchange cards, chocolates and gifts with their loved ones.

However, owing to the conservative society, public displays of love and affection are not allowed, since it is considered “a violation of Islam and Pakistani culture.” Many religious groups and political parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami have openly supported the ban of Valentine’s Day celebrations in the country.

In 2016, Valentine’s Day celebrations were prohibited by local authorities in Kohat, a city in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Also, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain had warned citizens to refrain from celebrating Valentine’s Day as it was “not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West.”