Ahead of Valentine’s Day, which is observed on February 14, Pakistani universities put out stern warnings to their students against celebrating the day of ‘love.’
The Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad published a notification on Sunday (February 13), directing male students to wear white prayer caps and female students to wear black burqas on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. The varsity renamed the day as ‘Haya Day’ (Modesty Day) and cautioned, “Anyone found in violation of rules shall be fined Rs 3000 by the administration.”
A similar diktat was released by the Peshawar Medical College. The notification dated February 12, read, “Boys and girls must not come near 6 metres of each other. Anyone found in violation of the rules shall be fined Rs 1000 by the administration.”
COMSATS University in Islamabad announced, “(We have) set fixed rules and protocols to restrict students from taking part in activities that are forbidden in our holy religion and lead the youth forward the wrong path.” The varsity asked male students to wear shalwar-kamiz with white prayer caps, and female students to wear full sleeves with hijab.
“Gender-mixing is strictly forbidden. Males and female students should be at a minimum distance of 2 meters. 20 dedicated members of the security team in each campus will be patrolling the campus all day. And will call the parents of the students violating the rules and write cheques for fines of Rs. 5000,” the notice read.
It further added, “The collected fines will go towards Shoukat Khanam Hospital Funds to aid patients of Cancer and Thalassemia. We expect your coordination to follow the rules of Islam.”
On Friday (February 11), RIPHAH Islamic International Medical College also put out a similar notification and vowed to use funds collected from violating students for the treatment of the needy.
The University of Peshawar posted on Facebook that the varsity will remain closed on Valentine’s Day.
“It is notified for the information of all concerned that the University of Peshawar will be closed on Monday, 14th February 2022 in lieu of 5th February, Kashmir day, for keeping the University open for arranging Talks /Speeches /Discussions /Seminars and Workshops etc. Schedule of examination, test and interviews, if already announced will remain unchanged,” the post read.
Amidst the religious diktat issued by premier Pakistani universities on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, a fake circular of the University of Punjab also started doing the rounds of the internet.
The fake notification claimed that male and female students must maintain a mandatory ‘social distance’ of 100 metres and pay PKR 10,000 for violating rules. It also alleged that defaulters would have to accompany Tablighi Jamaatis for a period of 4 months.
On its official Twitter account, the University of Punjab rejected claims made by the circular and deemed it as ‘fake.’ In Pakistan, Valentine’s Day is observed as ‘Haya Day’ by Islamists and religious zealots alike.