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February 15, 2018

IHC extends stay order on Valentine Day celebrations


February 15, 2018

Islamabad: An Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench here on Wednesday extended its stay order regarding ban on public celebration of Valentine's Day and indicated that amicus curiae (friends of court/legal assistance) will be appointed in this matter for its adjudication.

It was on February 2, 2017 when Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC had issued a stay order regarding celebrations of Valentine Day and had directed government to ensure that no publicity and promotion of Valentine Day could be made through media and no such event could be held at public places.

The petition of a G-9 resident, Abdul Waheed, is pending since last year. It is to mention here that last year when this order was issued Late Asma Jehangir had vehemently opposed this decision. She had said that under the law such a decision could not have been issued and the judge who issued this order should have been a "Khateeb" of a Masjid instead a high court judge.

This decision had also made a resonance in international media and several foreign media channels and news outlets had discussed this issue. Despite an order of IHC, red was all around in twin cities whether roses, bouquets or balloons since there was no ban on individual celebrations. Extending stay order IHC put of in this matter for the first week of March.

Petitioner through his counsels Majid Nadeem Bhatti and Shafqat Ullah Khan advocates, has adopted that the matter relates to the feelings, emotions, norms and values of Muslim community at large.

Petitioner cited federation of Pakistan through secretary ministry of information, secretary ministry of information technology, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) through its chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) through its chairman, and Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) as respondents.

Feb 2, 2017 order, it was directed to the respondents including media regulators “to ensure that nothing about the celebration of ‘Valentine Day’ and its promotion is spread on electronic and print media. No event shall be held at official level and at any public place. Chairman Pemra is directed to ensure that all the TV channels shall stop the promotion of Valentine Day, forthwith”.

Petitioner submitted that in the cover of spread of love, in fact, immorality, nudity and indecency is being promoted, which is against our rich traditions and values. Electronic and print media is promoting the event, that is neither an event for Muslims nor Pakistanis. If somebody wants to profess about this, he can do so in personal capacity and not like Eid festival.

That as per constitution of Pakistan the Government shall make all reasonable arrangements to promote Islamic values and culture throughout the country without discrimination. That in the past number of programs was telecasted on different media channels with regard to so called (Valentine Day) on February 14 every year.

Media channels were promoting the idea to celebrate this day. Special parties and events were organized at public and private places to celebrate this day. Traders of Islamabad used to decorate their shops with balloons, cards and gift items clearly promoting the idea of Valentine Day.

Petitioner adopted that celebrating this day is against Quran, Sunnah, Islamic injunctions values and culture of our society. Petitioner further adopted that celebrating such events particularly at public places is against the Islamic norms and values. It was responsibility of the respondents to prevent such activity not only on media but at public places as well. Petitioner prayed to the court to direct the respondents to take all measures in preventing such activities to happen either through media or at public places.

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