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