Congratulations to our state; nobody will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Not because of the preposterous ban or the wrath of the mullahs. But because our hearts ache for the loss that we have had to face. Because terror, once again, has gripped the entire country. There will be no celebration of love because hate overpowers love in the land of the pure.
It didn’t come as a surprise when the Islamabad High Court prohibited Valentine's Day celebrations in public spaces and government offices across the country 'with immediate effect'. Valentine’s Day is a day that manages to attract a lot of unnecessary criticism within our country every single year. Last year, President Mamnoon Hussain, who never has an opinion on any matter of importance (literally), and fails to address the nation on the most important of occasions, managed to deliver a speech highlighting the immoral activities Valentine’s Day promotes.
The Punjab government, too, seems to be determined not to let anyone celebrate love. A pamphlet, created and distributed by the Punjab government, has been circulating on social media. Not only is this pamphlet a waste of human resources given the fact that a designer must have spent time creating it, it is also a preposterous piece of work. One point in the pamphlet that I couldn’t help but ignore was that ‘secret police teams’ have been appointed to ensure that nobody celebrates Valentine’s Day. While under any other circumstances this would have been plain obnoxious, keeping in mind the events from last night, this point manages to get one thinking about the government’s priorities.
The country is under the grip of terror once more. People are dying. Just last night two major cities of the country were attacked. These incidents didn’t come as a surprise. On 7th February, NACTA warned of a possible terrorist attack in Lahore. But our government would rather have Valentine’s Day celebrations curbed.
I saw a lot of people supporting the government’s decision to ban Valentine’s Day; if something is promoting immoral acts, it must be spoken up against. Why is it that I don’t see any of these people openly criticizing jihad now that Jamaatur Ahrar, a faction of the TTP, has taken responsibility for the blast? An extremist outfit thriving on the concept of jihad has wreaked havoc in our country and we sit here silently? If we feel the need to speak up against ‘immoral acts’ why do we not feel the need to speak up against something that has been terrorizing us for over a decade now?
The sad truth is that we, as a society, inclusive of the government, have messed up priorities. While Special Forces were being created to curb Valentine’s Day, extremists entered my city and killed civilians. Sadly, those who have their loved ones will find comfort in the fact that their loved ones are martyrs while their murderers continue planning and plotting.