IHC bans Valentine’s Day celebrations across capital

Instructs PEMRA to ensure TV channels don’t promote the day

Rizwan Shehzad February 14, 2017
Instructs PEMRA to ensure TV channels don’t promote the day. PHOTO COURTESY: VIEW STORM

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday imposed a sweeping ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations in the federal capital, marking only the first time that the superior judiciary has weighed into the controversy.

Activists of religious parties have often tried to discourage people from celebrating the day with the president urging the nation last year to refrain from celebrating the day. But this time around the IHC has banned celebrations on the eve of the festival.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered that “no event shall be held at official level and at any public place.” He ordered the respondents “to ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine’s Day and its promotion is spread on the electronic and print media”.

In addition, the single-member bench ordered the “chairman Pemra to ensure that all the TV channels stop the promotion of Valentine’s Day, forthwith.” Also, the court has sought a report and para-wise comments from the respondents within 10 days.

Moreover, the Islamabad administration has withdrawn all the NOCs issued for February 14 in different areas of the capital with immediate effect in compliance with the court orders.

“No programme/function will be held in Islamabad on the above mentioned date,” the order of the district magistrate of the ICT read. The magistrate order also carried instructions for the SSP Islamabad and AIG police (Special Branch) to take “necessary action as per the law”.

PEMRA directive

Hours after the IHC issued its orders the media regulatory sent out directives to all media organsations to refrain from celebrating Valentine’s Day.

“Foregoing, in view, all the broadcast media and distribution services licencees are hereby directed to desist from promoting Valentine’s Day,” read the statement issued by Pemra.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2017.