For Pakistanis Love is Yearlong

Though many Pakistanis see celebrating Valentine's Day is un-Islamic, they believe that expressing love should be yearlong rather than being confined to just one day.

For Pakistanis Love is Yearlong

"Our religion exhorts us to be nice and loving with our family members throughout our whole life," Tanya Hussein, a school teacher,

"It appears weird to me that some people are looking for just one day to express their love with their wives or other relatives."

Valentine's Day, which falls on February 14, is named after a Christian martyr and over the years has become the day on which lovers traditionally express their feelings for each other.

Zohaib, who works at an executive post in a multi-national company
in Karachi, sees it "silly" to sum up love in one day.

"I think, for a married couple, romance can even be sitting down together at night for a cup of coffee. Deliberately making plans for this one day is just silly," Zohaib,

"We have been married for five years now and we go out to parties and dinners all the time."

But for other Pakistanis Valentine's Day passed by with zero attention amid their every day struggle to support for their families.

"I don't know what is that," said 40-year-old Jumman Shah, when asked about his preparations for the day.

Shah, a laborer at Karachi sea port, said that for most of Pakistanis, who hardly manage to feed their families, there is no time for such customs.

"We don't have time for such things," he said with a bitter smile, adding the real love is to cater properly for his wife and children.

"These events are only meant for those who have money in their pockets. I hardly earn the money to feed my family," Said Shah.

"I don't have resources or time for gifts and flowers."

According to a World Bank report, over 34 percent of Pakistanis are living below poverty line, while the government statistics stand at 24 percent.

Western Culture

Despite the government support, the tradition has long been seen by Pakistani scholars as Western tradition, blasting the orgies that usually accompanies this day.

"This is the sequel of tactics, which are being used by the west to distract the minds of our youths," Khalil-ur-Rehman Chisti, a mosque imam, said.

"What connection love has with dance and wine parties, exchange of costly gifts and gatherings of unmarried couples?" sheikh Chisti wondered.

He added that customs like Valentine's Day encourage pre-marital relations, which had no place in Islam.

"Our society is not like the western one where children leave their parents as soon as they turn 18 wherever they want," he said. "We cannot allow our daughters and sons to indulge in pre-martial relations," he asserted.

However, other Pakistanis find no harm in celebrating the occasion saying it helps break the monotony of everyday life.

"I get tired of the daily routine, especially taking care of the kids," said twenty-one-year-old Ghazala.

She said this day provides her an excuse to break free from the tedium of her daily schedule.

"On my anniversary, birthday and on Valentine's Day, I get an excuse to dress up and go out with my husband without the children."

Ghazala said she doesn't bother herself to know the origin of the event.

"Who cares? I do this just to get rid of daily routine, and nothing else."

"Everything should not be related to Islam and culture," echoed Ahmad, a university student. "We are Alhamdolliah (thank God) Muslims, and by celebrating this day, our faith will not be shattered."


Pakistanis further see that Valentine's Day is increasingly being commercialized.

"I can understand if this day is celebrated in the western world, where everything is commercialized, even love," said Hussein, the school teacher.

"I don't consider this custom more than a commercial event."

Economists say Valentine's Day celebrations generate a business of Rs 10 billion (160 million dollars) across the country.

"Valentine's Day has become a commercial event in the big cities during last five-six years," Sohail Afzal, an economic journalist, told IOL.

The celebration is boosted by President Pervez Musharraf's so-called "enlightenment policy" and the media is also weighing in by offering massive promotion for the day.

"The event is being promoted by multi-national companies, cellular companies, hotels, and other organization just to serve their commercial interest."

The commercialized event boosts small businesses like Flower and gift shops along with five-star hotels AND cellular companies, he said.

"Such events are always lucrative for the business community," he added. "Therefore it always promotes them no matter it is indigenous or outlandish."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16