So, you are in Pakistan and want to gaze in the eyes of your loved one across a candle-lit table, profess your love, present them with a token of your love and then end the day with a leisurely and romantic walk.
Well, at least not as openly and as easily as you would hope. Though Valentine’s Day is celebrated and gifts are exchanged, there is a prevailing air of forbiddance that just sucks the fun and freedom of the day away.
Just a couple of days before Valentine’s Day, demonstrators in Peshawar protested against its celebration denouncing it as un-Islamic and calling for a “day of modesty” instead.
Pakistan remains a deeply traditional society where many disapprove of Valentine’s Day as a Western import.
This is not the first time that something like this has happened. Protests like this one erupt every year near and around Valentine’s Day. Last year, the Pakistan Economy Watch called for such a ban as well saying it was an immoral festival that promoted social ills and that it would provoke the wrath of God.
“Our homeland Islamic Republic of Pakistan is also deeply influenced by events like Valentine’s Day which were unknown in the sub continent before but now after so many years of celebrating it, it seems like it has merged with our culture. If such days are celebrated uncontrolled they can damage the growth of our children. This day is very much renowned and gleefully celebrated in different age groups but youngsters and teenagers are the one who are most influenced by this day and they wait for the whole calendar year to celebrate it again, and some even start waiting for it for months to celebrate the day of Valentines with their loved ones” thinks Atif Hussain of The Daily Times and said as much in one of his articles.
Then there are those who hold that the event is just propagated by businessmen and traders aiming for higher revenues without considering the facts that they might be influencing the youth in a negative way.
Let’s see how Pakistanis are reacting towards the day and the entire hullabaloo about it.
Amazingly, (or maybe not) Pakistan is not the only country that faces the difference of opinion on the day. In Saudi Arabia for instance, it’s not just a faction of people but the government itself that discourages celebrating the event! Last year, for example, Saudi Arabia's religious police arrested more than 140 people for celebrating the day.
Some of them went as far as creating an Annual Jihad Against Valentine's Day!