ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday urged people of the country not to observe Valentine’s Day, saying that it was not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West.

Addressing a function held here to pay homage to Pakistan Movement leader Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar on his death anniversary, the president said: “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided.”

He said drawbacks of western culture had adversely affected one of our neighbouring countries.

Talking about the education system in the country, the president said there was a need to formulate educational curriculum of Pakistan according to the requirements of the modern age and ideology of Pakistan. “Work in this regard is under way and soon new curriculum with consensus of all stakeholders would be implemented,” he said.

He said Pakistan could achieve progress by adopting thoughts and philosophy of our great leaders and could earn a distinguished status in the comity of nations as dreamt by our founding fathers.

“We could not derive full advantage of our strategic geographical location in the past but now the government is endeavouring to take Pakistan to newer heights of prosperity through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and development of Gwadar port,” he said.

Paying tribute to national heroes, the president said Pakistan came into being because of struggle waged by Sardar Nishtar and others under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam. “We need to emulate the principles and self-belief of our founding fathers to make Pakistan strong and prosperous country,” he said.

The president said Sardar Nishtar was blessed with many qualities which were instrumental in enabling the nation to overcome many challenges after the creation of the country, adding that his conducts were exemplary during those testing times.

He said Sardar Nishtar was the only ray of hope during political instability in the country in the 50s and 60s. He enjoyed the trust of Mader-i-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah who entrusted him with the leadership of the party.

He said Sardar Nishtar never took advantage of his official position and led a dignified and simple life as governor of Punjab. “He never utilised official resources for his sake or for his children as he believed in judicious and meaningful use of national resources,” he added.

Mr Hussain said after assuming the office of the president he had decided that ceremonies would be organised at the Aiwan-i-Sadr to nourish the ideology of Pakistan and strengthen national identity. “Today’s ceremony is part of this process to pay homage to national heroes,” he added.

The president asked students to attain higher education in their respective fields and go abroad if there was need of it but always maintain their religious and national identity.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2016

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