The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Wednesday issued an advisory directing local media to "desist from promoting Valentine's Day".

The authority directed all "broadcast media and distribution services licensees" to refrain from promoting Valentine's Day as per an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The IHC, in a verdict passed on February 13, 2017, had prohibited the celebration of Valentine's Day in public spaces and government offices across the country "with immediate effect".

The court had also warned print and electronic media to "stop all Valentine's Day promotions immediately".

The orders were given on a petition submitted by citizen Abdul Waheed, who maintained that promotions on mainstream and social media for Valentine's Day are against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately.

The judgement had directed the secretaries of the ministries of information and broadcasting, information technology, chairman Pemra, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the chief commissioner Islamabad “to ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine’s Day and its promotion is spread on the electronic and print media. No event shall be held at the official level and at any public place. The chairman Pemra is directed to ensure that all TV channels shall stop the promotion of Valentine’s Day.”

In 2016, President Mamnoon Hussain had urged Pakistanis to forego celebrating Valentine’s Day, saying that it was not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West. He had said, “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” and added that the downsides of western culture had "adversely affected one of our neighbouring countries."

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