Pak lovers with red rose face flogging on Valentine`s Day

Last Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011 - 17:46

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities and
clerics in Punjab province have threatened to publicly flog
anyone seen selling or buying a red rose on Valentine’s Day,
as it was against the local culture and "cause moral
corruption".

"Islam condemns Valentine`s Day and boys presenting
flowers to young girls is vulgar and goes against the norms of
Islam," said Maulvi Ibrahim, a cleric of Jhawarian, a town
located about 200 km from provincial capital Lahore.

Local clerics had made announcements that anyone seen
buying or selling red roses should be punished in public,
Ibrahim said.

"There is no reason for such holidays to be celebrated
in Pakistan as they go against our culture and cause moral
corruption," he said.

Police officer Bashir Awan warned that no one would be
allowed to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Jhawarian.

"Strict action should be taken against people seen
handing roses. They should be arrested," he said.

The clerics held a conference recently to discuss
"problems" associated with celebrating Valentine’s Day.

"We should put a ban on selling anything red (roses,
chocolates, heart-shaped balloons) on February 14," Mufti
Nadeem Tabish told The Express Tribune newspaper.

A dispute reportedly erupted between clerics regarding
the origins of Valentine`s Day.

Some clerics claimed it was a Jewish holiday and
others said the custom of handing out roses was "derived from
Hindu culture".

But high school student Karim told the newspaper: "I
see no harm in celebrating Valentine`s (Day). Everyone here
has been debating where the day comes from even though it is
named after a Christian saint. The clerics are trying to paint
Valentine`s Day as an Israeli conspiracy."

Housewife Sadia said the day was "about love" and
encourages people to express their feelings for loved ones.

"I don’t see what is wrong with that," she said.
Government official Mumtaz Haroon was among those
opposed to Valentine’s Day, saying: "Young boys and girls do
not interact, let alone hand each other presents, in our
culture and Valentine`s Day has become an excuse for such
reprehensible behaviour".

University students and workers of religious parties
have issued warnings that anyone seen purchasing red
merchandise related to Valentine’s Day will be beaten in
public.

"We will see who dares promote this vulgarity," said
university student Razaq.

Mufti Rehman, another cleric, said Islam teaches
people to love and respect their parents and elders while
Valentine’s Day was about "young love".

This will not be tolerated and clerics are drafting a
petition to ask the government to ban Valentine`s Day, he
said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 14, 2011 - 17:46

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