Pakistan’s president condemns Valentine’s Day

Leader Mamnoon Hussain urges Pakistanis not to observe the romantic celebration

A vendor inflates a heart-shaped balloon from his cart  along a road in Karachi, Pakistan, ahead of Valentine’s Day. Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

A vendor inflates a heart-shaped balloon from his cart along a road in Karachi, Pakistan, ahead of Valentine’s Day. Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

 

President Mamnoon Hussain has urged Pakistanis not to observe Valentine’s Day, the romantic holiday that hardline Muslim clerics want banned but officials in the capital say they cannot suppress.

The president criticised Valentine’s Day as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan.

Despite its roots as a Christian holiday, Valentine’s Day has gained popularity among Pakistanis, with flower vendors reporting booming sales this year, as in recent years.

“Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” Mr Hussain said at a ceremony celebrating a nationalist leader.

‘Insult to Islam’

Local media reported earlier in the week that Islamabad would ban celebrations on Valentine’s Day as they are an “insult to Islam”, but city officials later said such a rule would be unenforceable.

The northwestern city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, has reportedly banned Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Reuters