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Supporters and opponents of Valentine's Day clash in Pakistan

Feb. 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM
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LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Young people in Pakistan said they are increasingly celebrating Valentine's Day as a form of rebellion, as public displays of love are forbidden in the country.

Celebrating the day is a challenge to Islamic groups that hold power and consider the displays immoral, USA Today reported.

"Every year that Feb. 14 is celebrated, it is done so as the Day of Shame," Abdul Muqeet, president of Punjab University Jamiat-e-Talaba, a student wing of conservative Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party. "All over Pakistan, our organization holds protests, marches and distributes literature telling our youth how they are being manipulated."

But despite those arguments, youth all over the country buy buckets of red roses and balloons from roadside vendors and celebrate the holiday with their loved ones quietly.

"Unofficially, it is celebrated at most universities," Rehman Afridi, 23, said. "We as youngsters wait for this day, not only to show love but also to find out which new couples will be created on Valentine's Day."

Conflicts have occurred at the University of Peshawar between supporters and opponents of the holiday, and at least one student was injured, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty reported.

Officials in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have also urged locals not to celebrate Valentine's Day.

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