The Islamabad High Court banned Valentine’s Day in the Pakistani capital on Monday, claiming that the holiday is wrong on many levels. No longer may citizens celebrate the day either in public or online. But why such drastic measures?
Deutsche Walk reported that the initial criticism came from a citizen–Abdul Waheed–who “filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court.” His issue? That the holiday was, in his opinion, “un-Islamic.” Valentine’s Day has often been source of contention for many in the religious community of Pakistan. The news source further noted that some dissenters have resorted over the years to “physically intimidating” those partaking in the holiday celebration.
According to reports, Waheed submitted a petition in an an effort to better respect the Islamic religion that is so central to Pakistan. His voice was heard, and Pakistan officially passed a ban on the holiday. CNN weighed in on the topic, explaining the seriousness of the legislation’s language. The ban clearly states that celebration or recognition of the holiday is prohibited from “any public space or government building.”
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As mentioned before, the ban even extends to the private sector. The Islamabad High Court has enlisted the Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to help “monitor” the social media activity of capital citizens, Time reported.
Later in the day, the government ordered “local police to enforce the court ban” in the capital.
They seem adamant that the holiday be snuffed out in Pakistan. A lot of the strain in Pakistan surrounding Valentine’s Day has to do with its Christian roots. The day is, after all, named after the historic and legendary patron, St. Valentine. Although the day has much less to do with Christian ideas today then other holidays like Christmas or Easter, it still seems to be a major issue for many Pakistanis. CNN said that some find the holiday “amoral and an appropriation of Western culture.”
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The legislation probably comes as a disappointment to many shops, who have successfully marketed Valentine’s Day products over the last few years. While the country, as a whole, has not been very receptive of the holiday, CNN reported that Islamabad vendors and shops have benefited from Valentine’s Day sales; these same businesses have expressed concern over the lack of income resulting from the ban.
“In Islamabad’s markets Monday, florists standing amid large heart-shaped garlands of roses and bouquets of daffodils and jasmine were worried by the effects of the ban.”
While the country’s more strict and nation-wide religious standards may seem shockingly rigorous to Americans, it appears that Islamabad is fairly unified in their support of the Valentine’s Day ban–at least, for the most part.
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