ISLAMABAD: After reports began swirling that the federal capital had banned the production of Valentine’s Day gifts or any promotion of the day celebrating love, the city administration has come out to deny any such development.
According to some electronic media reports, the interior ministry had directed the Islamabad Capital Administration (ICT) to not allow individuals and organisations to hold Valentine’s Day celebrations in the city.
However, ICT officials have now confirmed to The Express Tribune that they have not received any such orders.
“I’m surprised why electronic media are airing such baseless news,” Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Captain (retd) Muhstaq Ahmed said.
Regarding reports that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar was chairing a meeting to consider banning Valentine’s Day celebrations, the official said, “The minister called a meeting to review the law and order situation of the capital, and it was attended by officials of the administration and police.”
“The minister did not pass any directions particularly to ban the Valentine’s Day celebrations,” he added.
Further an interior ministry spokesperson, Muhammad Sarfraz, confirmed that they did not pass any direction in this regard. “The meeting was supposed to review the performance of police and Federal Investigation Agency,” he said.
Earlier, media reports claimed that on the orders of Nisar, Valentine’s Day celebrations were banned in the federal capital.
The February 14 celebration named after a Christian saint has repeatedly been criticised by hardliners who warn about the spread of ‘un-Islamic’ Western values.
In 2013, some celebrated Valentine’s Day with balloons and flowers, but others denounced the day as an insult to Islam. In Karachi, billboards decorated with a black heart urged citizens to “SAY NO TO VALENTINE’S DAY”.
“This tradition reflects insensitivity, indignity and ignorance of Islam,” the signs read. They were put up by a group affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami.
“Valentine’s is against Islamic culture. In our view, relationships are sacred. We have arranged marriages in this culture and people don’t get married for love,” said Syed Askari, a spokesman for Jamaat-e-Islami. “This is imposing Western values and cultures on an Islamic society.
In Peshawar, a handful of people burnt Valentine’s Day cards in front of television cameras. Women held signs denouncing the tradition. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) urged broadcasters to “respect viewers’ sentiments”.
Further, Saad Aziz, one of the culprits arrested for involvement in The Second Floor café director Sabeen Mahmud’s murder confessed to killing her for holding a Valentine’s Day rally. “We shot her for holding a Valentine’s Day rally,” Aziz reportedly said in his statement to the police.
Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular among the Pakistani youth and is a money-maker for businesses in the country.