The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on Wednesday reiterated the Islamabad High Court’s order from February 2017 and asked the local media to refrain from promoting celebrations of Valentine’s Day.
On February 13, 2017, the Islamabad High Court had warned all print and electronic media to stop any promotion related to Valentine’s Day celebrations. It had then directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to monitor whether all media houses were following the order.
The regulator on Wednesday said the High Court’s order was “still in field”. “Therefore, all broadcast media and distribution services licensees are advised to desist from promoting Valentine’s Day through respective channels/networks,” it added.
The High Court had passed the order after hearing a petition by one Abdul Waheed, who had argued that Valentine’s Day celebrations were against “Islamic teachings”. In the name of love, “immorality, nudity and indecency is being promoted, which is against our rich traditions and values”, his petition had claimed.
In 2016, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain had urged citizens to refrain from celebrating the day on February 14 as it was not part of Muslim traditions, but was a Western influence. “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture, and it should be avoided,” he had said, adding that everyone must maintain their religious and national identity.
The same year, the Peshawar Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution to impose a ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations in the district. Khalid Waqas Chamkani, member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, had alleged that people “inspired” by Western culture were “trying to destroy the foundations” of Muslim culture by celebrating the day.
The Jamaat-e-Islami had also proposed to mark February 14 as World Haya (modesty) Day as a way to show respect towards women, “instead of making them objects of desire”, the Hindustan Times had reported.