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Yes Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Pakistan,
but for many the feelings are mixed

By Malik Ayub Sumbal

ISLAMABAD: Some Pakistani teenagers are preparing for Valentine’s Day with great enthusiasm, thronging to gift shops to buy presents for their loved ones.


Members of a religious party set fire to Valentine's Day merchandise.     
The commemoration of Valentine’s Day is mostly admonished in this society as the day is linked to the values and traditions of western societies. Some young people do not share their elders’ inhibitions and neglect their own values in favor of an open society.

Inspired by the lifestyle of the West, they favor a society where there are no limitations or restrictions on the interactions between the sexes.

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In this the federal capital of Pakistan, the markets and shops have been packed with Valentine Day gifts like perfumes, chocolates, flowers, cards, cushions and more.

However the celebrations are restricted to the big cities as villagers lack access to the media and information.

Shop-owners understandably see nothing awful in the commemoration of this day. Muhammad Zaheer who has an outlet in a posh locality of Rawalpindi city in Commercial Market said: “We should not celebrate this day in a negative connotation but we should have to celebrate the day of peace and love in the country and all around the world. You can present the gift to your mother, father and anyone whom you love.”

Zaheer said the majority of his customers who purchase Valentine gifts are secondary school and college students.

Their elders are less likely to celebrate Valentine’s day in Pakistan as it is considered very awkward, and only the more open-minded parents permit their children to take part in the festivites.

The Pakistani mindset is influenced byIslam which forbids the public intermingling of males and females. Therefore Muslims rarely feel relaxed about celebrating the day.

Moulana Muhammad Akram, when asked by this correspondent said: “Valentine’s Day has been imported to Pakistan through media and the [influence] of the West. This is a day of spreaders of AIDS in the world as they indulged in sexual intercourse on this day in the name of spreading love and affection but they are killing [with] their sexual lust and desires.”

Moulana said that for Muslims each and every day is a day of dispersing love and affection but there should be some limits and legalities on relations between the sexes. However he neglected to say that among Pakistani youths, a few are exuberant in their exercise of the Western lifestyle, but would never dare to pursue all their Valentine activities openly but rather under the veil.

When young boys and girls were asked for whom they were purchasing gifts, they decline to comment. The girls in particular were reluctant to express their feelings as they felt shame.

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