Valentine’s Day celebrations banned in Islamabad?

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ISLAMABAD: The capital has banned the production of Valentine’s Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating love, according to a source familiar with the development.

“The decision has been taken on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar’s orders,”.  However, Islamabad administration has not confirmed the development.

“A meeting is currently underway to discuss the ban,” a source in the Islamabad administration said. After the meeting, the Islamabad deputy commissioner will issue a formal notification in this regard.

The February 14 celebration named after a Christian saint is not officially banned but hardliners have repeatedly warned 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.