ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani judge on Monday banned all Valentine’s Day celebrations in the country’s capital, Islamabad, saying they are against Islamic teachings.
The judge ruled on a petition seeking to ban public celebrations of the Western holiday, court official Niaz Saleh said. He said the order had been sent to Pakistan’s media regulator to ensure a blackout on any Valentine’s Day promotions in print or electronic media.
The ban applies only to Pakistan’s capital as the Islamabad high court has no jurisdiction beyond the city.
The regulator in a statement directed all Pakistani media outlets not to print or broadcast anything that promotes Valentine’s Day. No event shall be held at any official level and at any public place, the statement quoted a part of the court order.
Later on Monday, the government issued an order to local police to enforce the court ban. A similar order was in place last year in Islamabad.
Islamist and right-wing parties in Pakistan view Valentine’s Day as vulgar Western import.
However, the annual homage to romance on Feb. 14 has become popular in recent years across the Middle East and also in Pakistan.
Though some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia also have sought to stamp out Valentine’s Day, with the religious police mobilizing ahead of Feb. 14 and descending on gift and flower shops to confiscate all red items, including flowers, it is still celebrated widely in other places such as Dubai.
In 2013, Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day, saying it’s an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.
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