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No love lost in Pakistan for Valentine's Day

TV and radio broadcasters ordered to ignore Christian festival as it has no connection with the country's culture

No love lost in Pakistan for Valentine's Day

Flower shop owners in Pakistan fear the ban on promoting Valentine's Day will hurt their business. (Photo by Zahid Hussain/ucanews.com)

Zahid Hussain, Karachi
Pakistan

February 9, 2018

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Pakistan's electronic media watchdog has ordered local TV channels and FM radio licensees to refrain from airing any show that promotes or celebrates Valentine's Day.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority issued a reminder on Feb. 7 following an Islamabad High Court verdict on Feb. 13, 2017, that directed the authority to ensure that nothing about the Christian festival is spread on electronic and print media.

The court also said that no event shall be held at official level or in any public place.

President Mamnoon Hussain has also called for abstaining from Valentine's Day activities on Feb. 14, calling it a Western tradition.

"Valentine's Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided," he said in a speech in 2016.

To counter Valentine's Day celebrations, various Islamic groups observe Hijab Day.

Flower shop owners expressed their disappointment at the media watchdog's ban.

"Our sales go up in the month of February due to Valentine's Day celebrations. The ban will hurt our business," Iqbal Khan, a 45-year-old flower shop owner, told ucanews.com.

"What's the point of this ban? Don't we need more love at a time when there is so much hatred, violence and terrorism in the country?"

This is not the first time that Pakistan has banned a popular global event because it is deemed contradictory to the teachings of Islam.

On Jan. 17, Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology ruled that the term "Black Friday" was disrespectful and recommended that it should be marked as "Blessed Friday."

The matter came into the media spotlight after online brands and stores offered massive discounts on goods on the internet or social media.

"There is no harm in offering sales on Friday but to call it Black Friday is equal to insulting Friday, which is not only a blessed day but also a specified day for Muslims," the council said.

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