Valentine’s Day is a day we celebrate our love for the people closest to us. Especially romantic relationships are celebrated on this day that falls on February 14th. Although this day was originally celebrated in the west to honor St. Valentine, it is now celebrated globally even in countries like Pakistan, however, a university in the country made headlines for its decision to celebrate February 14th as Sister’s Day.
Pakistan University will be celebrating Sisters' Day on February 14 instead of Valentine’s Day. According to the vice-chancellor, the university made its decision in a bid to promote the country’s Islamic traditions.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture located in Faisalabad and a panel of other decision makers said that scarves and Abayas (traditional Muslim cloak) can be gifted to the female students. The reports also claimed that the vice chancellor believed it was in keeping with the country’s traditional beliefs and culture.
Although globally February 14 is a day of celebration of love between people, especially in a romantic way, this year Pakistan University made a decision to celebrate the day as Sister’s Day. According to the vice chancellor of UAF, this decision was also made to ensure women empowerment, he said:
In our culture, women are more empowered and earn their due respect as sisters, mothers, daughters and wives,He further added We were forgetting our culture, and Western culture was taking root in our society,.
Similarly, he said that Valentine’s Day was turned into a threat by some Muslims but he took it as an opportunity, he said:
"My thinking is that if there is a threat, convert it into an opportunity".
The report said that the Pakistani women face some conditions that require them to cover their whole body. According to Wikipedia, Islamic clothing says that women should lower their gaze, appear modest, and not show their beauty. The traditional dress for a Muslim woman is a Burqa which covers the whole body except a woman’s eyes.
The spokesman for the UAF said that the University wanted donations to provide at least 1000 of its 14,000 female students with headscarves. The administration of the University will donate the required funds or scarves.
Valentines’ day always creates a lot of controversy in the Islamic society and especially in Pakistan where the majority (95%-98%) of the population follow Islam. In 2017 and in 2018 the Islamabad High Court banned all celebrations related to Valentine's Day. Even the electronic and print media have issued a warning to stop any and all Valentine's Day promotions immediately.
In 2017 the then President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, urged his citizens to go on without celebrating Valentine's Day because it was not a Muslim tradition but a Western innovation.
The Government of Pakistan always maintains that Islamic culture should always come before western culture and the decision by Pakistan University is an ode to their traditional cultures and values which are constituted from Islam.