Pakistan Banned Media Preach Valentine's Day

Pakistan banned Valentine's Day celebrations or Valentine's Day and media coverage surrounding the celebration for the second year in a row, after the court declared Valentine's Day un-Islamic.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Agency (Pemra) issued a warning on Wednesday 7/2), prohibits television and radio stations from celebrating Valentine's Day.

"There can be no official celebrations nor held in public places," said Pemra.

The author was adopted after the Islamabad High Court last year, following a petition from a citizen who said the February 14 holiday was an imported culture from the West and "incompatible with Islamic teachings."

More than 60 percent of Pakistan's Muslim-majority population is under 30 years old. Many young people and businesses celebrate Valentine's Day with flowers, chocolates and heart-shaped items.

But the country of 208 million people also witnessed a wave of ultra-religious political activism, which attacked similar celebrations. Some parties call the celebration immoral.

Some parties, including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam that has ties to the Taliban, have in recent years been marching to protest the holiday.

"We are Muslims. Our religion forbids things like Valentine's Day, "said Taufeeq Leghari, who was waiting for a public transport near a fresh flower stall in Rawalpindi, adjacent to Islamabad.

Flower seller Salman Mahmood has a different view. "I do not know what danger the Islamists face, if I can profit marginally from selling flowers and someone has a chance to celebrate something," he said.

The young people did not seem to be too concerned about the ban.

"I will celebrate," said Abid Ansari, a 21-year-old student in Islamabad. "This is my choice," Abid said. [fw/au]