Pakistan bans ‘un-Islamic’ Valentine’s Day as celebration promotes ‘immorality and nudity’

The romantic celebration was outlawed last year after a member of the public started a petition claiming it was a Western cultural import that is “against the teachings of Islam”.

Valentine’s Day, named after a Christian saint who died for love, was banned by an Islamabad High Court after years of the event slowly gaining in popularity.

Abdul Waheed filed his case in early 2017 claiming Valentine’s Day was spreading “immorality, nudity and indecency”.

Pakistan’s president Mamnoon Hussian said during the case: “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided.”

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued an advisory on Wednesday, warning television and radio stations against any Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The broadcast said: “No event shall be held at the official level or at any public place.”

More than 60 per cent of the population of the Muslim-majority country is aged under 30, so businesses have used the February 14 celebration to increase sales of flowers, roses and hearts.

But the religiously conservative country, with a population of 208 million, has also seen a wave of ultra-religious political activism.

The protests have included a backlash against events like Valentines Day which has been branded “immoral”.

Member of the public Taufeeq Leghari told Reuters news: “We’re Muslims. Our religion forbids things like Valentine’s Day.”

Salman Mahmod, a florist, took a different view: “I don’t know what danger these Islamists would face if I earn a little more from selling flowers and someone can have a chance to celebrate something.

“Young people are not too afraid of the ban.”

Abid Ansari, 21, said: “I will celebrate. It’s my choice. This is my choice.”