Bombs and bullets may be killing people by the busloads, but Pakistan’s Islamists know what the real threat to Pakistan is: Valentine’s Day.Anti-Valentine’s Day Islamist activists in Pakistan have declared February 14 as “Modesty Day.” But not everyone in Pakistan has taken the Islamists’ war on romance sitting down: Violent clashes between “pro” and “anti” Valentine’s Day students in Peshawar University injured three people. The AFP reports:
“Students from the left-leaning Pakhtun Students Federation were marking the international day of romance with red balloons and cake when they were attacked by students from the rival Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT) group.The IJT, the student wing of Pakistan’s hardline Jamaat-i-Islami party, had been celebrating “Haya (“Modesty”) Day” in response to Valentine’s Day which they oppose as un-Islamic.Dozens of students threw rocks in the scuffle, leading to gunshots being fired by both sides and three rooms in a student dormitory being set on fire.“The situation is under control now. Three students were wounded in the clash,” local police official Fazlur Rehman told AFP, adding that police were searching for the students involved to arrest them.”
The Islamists’ claim that romance is foreign to Pakistan isn’t exactly true. It’s not uncommon for stores to be sold out of chocolates (and condoms), restaurants to be fully reserved, love messages to pass through the tickers on television shows. Newspapers issue Valentine’s Day supplements, and couples exchange furtive displays of affection in public parks.All of these things are unacceptable to the religious right, which has been known to take out its frustrations on teddy bears and Hallmark cards.