Damned if I do: Why the ban on Valentine’s day cultural of the irregularity has no meaning


7th of February, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued a notice to the media to stop the promotion and coverage of the Valentine’s day in both television and the press points of sale, according to the directives of the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The IHC also banned the celebration of Valentine’s day in the public spaces of this time last year.

Apparently, the orders were given based on a petition of a citizen who believes Valentine’s day spread of immorality, of indecency and nudity, and was against the teachings of Islam. This is not at all shocking, considering that in 2016, the President Mamnoon Hussain has also urged the nation to refrain from the celebration of Valentine’s day, as “it has no connection with our culture.” This could have been a valid argument, if it had not been for scores of events, customs, and practices sanctioned by the Government of Pakistan (and accepted by the general masses as appropriate and acceptable), which are also unrelated with our culture.

I guess the greatest example of us cultural sell-out, it is the fact that our official language is English. All the official documents, all of our signs, all our signs are in English. Although the government was in the process of making Urdu the sole official language in 2015, nothing really came out. To this day, the English, a language that we do not have any cultural link with (except for the fact that we were an English colony, which, to be fair, does not mean a cultural link, just a cultural imposition), is our official language. And PEMRA, along with the rest of the nation, has no real problem with it being that way.

We see our heads of state making speeches in the costumes (and also, once again, in English), which is still an outfit that has no cultural value. If they had been committed to the respect of cultural integrity, perhaps we would see less of Shahbaz Sharrif of silly hats, and culturally tailored shalwar kameez.

This model of selective acceptability is seen repeatedly in numerous decisions of the state. Black Friday sales are declared un-Islamic and should be banned, but Western sports such as cricket and hockey are adopted at the national level of zeal and fervour, and to become a national sport? Family planning is considered culturally acceptable, but nobody bats an eye when cinemas across the country from the screen of Captain America, because, of course, Rip Chris Evan’s roots probably go back to the Lalamusa. Cultural connection, you know.

there was a story about one of Turkey’s Caliph, which is in any way relevant to this prohibition. Apparently, when Germany implemented its first printing-press, someone suggested that they get one for the Turkey also. The Caliph in Turkey restless and out said, without surprise, not Islamic. Although the authenticity of this incident is very questionable, there seems to be a point rather consistent trait of character of the Muslim nation, that anything or anyone can be declared non-Islamic, without rhyme or reason.

This is to ask if, is it not, on the driving forces of decency, and his lack of it. Are things culturally to their place because they have been historically, and now, it’s just easier to go with that to cope with the change? Or are they so because it fits someone else of the have reported? What makes it good to borrow mother of the West, but not Valentine’s day, and who decides? It may be that we are all confusion with religion, culture, or maybe we’re just willfully ignorant? Anyway, the real motives behind the ban, and our approval or disproval of it need to be re-examined.

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