Pakistan makes Valentines Day illegal
The Short Version
Pakistan doesn’t like Valentines Day. More specifically, the Islamabad High Court’s order prohibits all Valentine’s Day festivities in government offices and public spaces. Immediately. No cards. No candy. No streamers. Nothing. Conservative Muslim groups are considered to be behind the ban.
A Little More Detail
Pakistan has a very interesting view of Valentines Day. Whereas most Americans think of it as a day to celebrate love and to give sweet gifts of chocolate and nonsense to someone you care about, conservative Muslims in Pakistan see it as an example of Western decadence.
The petition on which the High Court issued its verdict claimed that Valentines Day “promotes immorality, nudity, and indecency under the cover of spreading love.” Kinda makes you wonder what Valentines Day party they were invited to, doesn’t it?
The ban covers any public display and even encouraged national media to not talk about or promote Valentines Day in any form.
Last year, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain denounced Valentines Day, saying it is a Western tradition and not part of Pakistan’s culture. His words didn’t carry any force, however. It was just sort of a suggestion. Separately, local officials in Kohat, in northwest Pakistan, banned the sale of Valentine cards and goods, and Peshawar local council banned celebrations last year as well.
However, today’s ruling by the High Court affects the entire country. You can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is likely to displease a number of people. The day has become extremely popular especially among Pakistan’s younger and more secular population.
The ban does not necessarily affect card shops and restaurants. However, whether a shop or restaurant is able to get away with any kind of Valentines Day promotion is likely to come at the discretion of law enforcement.
So, if you love someone, don’t plan on spending Valentines Day in Pakistan. Try India. I’m sure they’ll welcome you. [insert evil grin here]