Pakistani court issues nationwide ban on Valentine's Day

The Islamabad High Court in Pakistan's capital issued an order Monday that banned the celebration of Valentine's Day across the country 'with immediate effect.'

The order prohibits the display of adverts on electronic and print media that reference Valentine's Day, bans the sale of associated merchandise and states that the day cannot be celebrated in "any public space or government building."

The court has requested Pakistan's Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to monitor these platforms and share any information that shows that the ban has been compromised.

The court's order came after a petition was submitted by a citizen called Abdul Waheed -- who claimed that ongoing promotions of Valentine's Day were "against the teachings of Islam and should be banned immediately."

Valentine's Day backlash
In Pakistan, Valentine's Day is seen by some as amoral and an appropriation of Western culture.

Resistance against it is not completely unusual. Religious groups like the Islamic political party jamat e Islami have often protested against marking Valentine's Day in the country and hold rallies annually against the celebration on February 14.

In 2016, the local government in the city of Peshawar in the country's northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhua also banned celebrations.

The country's president Mamnoon Hussain, made a statement in February 2016, asking Pakistan's not to celebrate the day since it was "not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West."

The Islamabad High Court's decision has also divided social media users, with some tweeting for the ban and others vehemently against it.

A chance to promote business
Though Valentine's day tends not to be celebrated widely across the country, in recent years, various companies have used the event to promote their products.

In the first week of February, vendors start selling heart-shaped balloons and the price of red roses increases.
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.

"We spend four to five days making these, I've got forty of them ready to be sold for tomorrow," Sultan Zaib, told CNN.

Mohammad Naveed, who runs a roadside flower shop, told CNN that he had invested close to the equivalent of $2000 on buying blooms for Valentine's Day.

Florists source flowers from abroad and from the nearby fields of Punjab. Usually they earn about $80 for a day's sales, but the amount increases tenfold on Valentine's day. "If they ban us from selling these tomorrow then it will be a disaster, we simply cannot afford this," said Naveed.

Valentine's Day banned in Pakistan for being anti-Muslim

Pakistan bans Valentine's Day for being unIslamic

Pakistan has become the latest country to ban Valentine's Day.

It has prohibited all public celebrations and any media coverage because the celebration is not part of Muslim traditions.

The ruling was handed down by the Islamabad High Court, following an unsuccessful attempt to ban the festival last year.

President Mamnoon Hussain urged Pakistanis not to observe Valentine’s Day, which he criticised as a Western import that threatened to undermine Islamic values.

“Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” he said at a ceremony last year.

The court passed its ruling to the ministry, federal government, chairman and chief commissioner, who are obliged to submit a response to the order within ten days.

The festival has seen its popularity increase in many cities in Pakistan in recent years, but religious groups have denounced it.

The order was in response to a private petition which argued the festival promotes immorality, nudity and indecency under the guise of celebrating love.

There have been localised bans of the festival by councils in previous years, although these are said to have been largely ignored.

Whether or not the national ban is implemented will depend largely on how the police, guided by the Government, decide to enforce it – in particular, whether they target shops selling Valentine’s cards and gifts.

Valentine’s Day evolved from a traditional Christian feast day and first became associated with romantic love during the 14th century, when the idea of courtly love flourished.

The first known romantic reference to the feast of St Valentine’s Day was made by Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem Perlement of Foules, or the Parliament of Birds.

In 2015, Pakistan's top Islamic clerical body threatened to issue a fatwa against the sale of condoms following reports they were being sold together with chocolate to mark Valentine's Day.

Despite the objections from more pious Muslims, many Indonesians do celebrate the occasion, particularly in major cities where cards and chocolates to mark it are widely available.

The Pakistani ruling follows a protest against Valentine’s Day by students in Indonesia who believe the celebration encourages casual sex.

Teenagers in the Indonesian city of Surabaya chanted “Say no to sex” in the latest expression of anger towards the celebration in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Religious police in Saudi Arabia banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day goods in 2008, telling shops to remove all red items -  a move which is said to have led to a black market in roses, wrapping paper and “red goods”.


‘It’s not part of Muslim tradition’ Valentine’s Day BANNED by High Court in Pakistan

Lovers in the Asian city are being warned they must not show displays of affection or openly celebrate in ”any public space or government building”.

Heart-shaped merchandise is prohibited, along with electronic and print media referencing the day paying homage to St Valentine.

The bizarre order was given by Pakistan’s High Court in Islamabad, the country’s capital.

In Pakistan, Valentine's Day is seen by some as amoral and an appropriation of Western culture.

Muslim politicians reject the celebrations in large numbers in Pakistan.

President Mamnoon Hussain made a statement in February 2016, saying Valentine’s Day was "not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West”.

The court has requested Pakistan's Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) monitor social media platforms and share any information that shows that the ban has been compromised.

A petition sparked the ban after a man named Abdul Waheed claimed ongoing promotions of Valentine's Day were "against the teachings of Islam and should be banned immediately”.

The move is not the first against the celebration of love.

The Islamic political party ‘jamat e Islami’ objects to the celebrations on February 14.

It even holds rallies annually against those celebrating the occasion.

Celebrations were banned in the city of Peshawar in the country's northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkh in 2016.

Islamabad High Court's decision has also divided social media users, with some tweeting for the ban and others vehemently against it.

One wrote: “I salute Islamabad High-court for decision against Valentine's Day.”

While another wrote: “To hell with Islamabad high court happy #valentinesday.”

But business owners are keen for it to go ahead and celebrate - after spending money on merchandise.

"We spend four to five days making these, I've got forty of them ready to be sold for tomorrow," Sultan Zaib, told CNN.

Mohammad Naveed, who runs a roadside flower shop, said he had invested close to the equivalent of $2,000 on buying blooms for Valentine's Day.

"If they ban us from selling these tomorrow then it will be a disaster, we simply cannot afford this," said Naveed.

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