Damned if I do: Why banning Valentine’s Working day for cultural impropriety makes no feeling

On the 7th of February, Pakistan Digital Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA) issued an advisory to media channels to end the marketing and coverage of Valentine’s Day on the two television and print media stores, as for every the directives of the Islamabad Large Courtroom (IHC). The IHC also prohibited the celebration of Valentine’s Day in public areas this time very last year.

Evidently, the orders had been offered based mostly on a petition by a citizen who thought Valentine’s Working day unfold immorality, indecency and nudity, and was against the teachings of Islam. This is not all that shocking, thinking about that in 2016, President Mamnoon Hussain also urged the country to refrain from the celebration of Valentine’s Working day, as ‘it has no link with our culture’. This might have been a legitimate argument, experienced it not been for the scores of functions, customs and methods sanctioned by the Pakistan Federal government (and approved by the basic masses as appropriate and satisfactory), that also have no obvious connection with our tradition.

I suppose the largest illustration of us currently being cultural market-outs, is the simple fact that our official language is English. All official documents, all our indication-posts, all our billboards are in English. Even though the govt was operating on creating Urdu the sole official language in 2015, absolutely nothing genuinely came out of it. To this day, English, a language we have no cultural link with (barring the truth that we had been as soon as an English colony, which to be fair, doesn’t signify a cultural link, just a cultural imposition), is our formal language. And PEMRA, together with the rest of the nation, has no actual issue with it getting that way.

We see our head of states providing speeches in suits (and also, once more, in English), which yet again is an attire that has no cultural benefit. Had they been so fully commited to upholding cultural integrity, perhaps we would see much less of Shahbaz Sharrif’s absurd hats, and much more culturally acceptable shalwar kameez.


This sample of selective acceptability is frequently witnessed in a lot of condition decisions. Black Friday revenue are declared un-Islamic and should be banned, but Western sports activities these kinds of as cricket and hockey are embraced with nationwide zeal and fervor, and turn into countrywide sports? Family planning is deemed culturally inappropriate, but nobody bats an eye when cinemas all in excess of the region display Captain America, since of training course, Pir Chris Evan’s roots almost certainly trace back to Lalamusa. Cultural link, you know.

There is a tale about one of Turkey’s Caliph, which is type of relevant to this ban. Evidently, when Germany set up its 1st printing-press, any individual suggested that they get one particular for Turkey also. The Caliph in Turkey waved it off and declared it, unsurprisingly, un-Islamic. While the authenticity of this incident is hugely questionable, it does seem to be to point out a fairly steady trait of the Muslim nation, in that everything or anybody can be declared un-Islamic, with no rhyme or reason.

It helps make you question though, does not it, about the driving forces powering propriety, and its deficiency thereof. Are items culturally out-of-area simply because they’ve been so traditionally and now it is just less complicated to go with than to deal with alter? Or are they so since it suits a person else to have them declared so? What can make it alright to borrow Mother’s Working day from the West, but not Valentine’s Working day, and who decides that? Maybe we’re all just confusing religion with lifestyle, or maybe we’re just willfully ignorant? Possibly way, the true motives powering this ban and our acceptance or disproval of it want to be re-examined.

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