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Valentine’s day banned in Pakistan

Saturday 13 February 2016 | Published in Regional

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A district in north-western Pakistan has banned Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The local government in Kohat, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has told police officers to stop shops from selling Valentine’s Day cards and items.

Kohat district is run by a religious political party and borders Pakistan’s conservative tribal areas. Groups have held protests against the day.

Valentine’s Day is popular in many cities in Pakistan, but religious groups have denounced it as decadent.

The Kohat district administrator Maulana Niaz Muhammad said: “Valentine’s Day has no legal grounds, and secondly it is against our religion, therefore it was banned.”

While giving cards and flowers was not in itself a bad thing, linking this to a specific day was not appropriate, Muhammad said. He added that he felt such practices could encourage obscene behaviour.

There are about 30 shops in Kohat flouting the rulings by city selling gifts, cards and flowers for Valentine’s Day, although no action appears to have been taken against them so far.

Earlier this week, there were unconfirmed media reports that Valentine’s Day gifts had been banned in the capital Islamabad – although this was subsequently denied by the government.

Religious groups have protested against Valentine’s Day celebrations in previous years, calling it immodest.

In 2013, human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud held a campaign in support of Valentine’s Day, but subsequently had to go into hiding after receiving death threats. - GC