Pakistan has banned Valentine's Day – and it's not the only country where February 14 is problematic

The celebration of Valentine's Day has been banned for the second year in a row in Pakistan after a court ruled the holiday to be un-Islamic.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued an advisory on Wednesday warning against any media coverage or endorsements of Valentine's Day.

'No event shall be held at the official level or at any public place,' Pemra said. The holiday was banned last year by the Islamabad High Court after a citizen complained the holiday was a western cultural import and 'against the teachings of Islam'.

While some Muslims simply regard the festivity as 'forbidden' by their faith, some Pakistani individuals in Islamabad told Reuters they didn't share the antipathy. 'I will celebrate...this is my choice,' said 21-year-old university student Abid Ansari.

ReutersA man inflates a heart shaped balloon ahead of Valentine's day in Peshawar, Pakistan February 7, 2018.

Despite the court ruling, Valentine's celebrations have become increasingly popular in some areas, even with the official backlash. Flower seller Salman Mahmod said: 'I don't know what danger these Islamists would face if I earn a little more from selling flowers and someone can have a chance to celebrate something.'

Pakistan is not the only nation to resist the annual celebration of love.

In Saudi Arabia, a severe ban is strictly enforced by religious police. Though the country is liberalising under its crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, women and men sit separately in restaurants and public affection is frowned upon. In 2014, five Saudis were sentenced to a total of 39 years in prison, and 4,500 lashes between them, for dancing with women not related to them on Valentine's Day.

Majority-Muslim nation Malaysia has banned celebration of the day, which is regarded as immoral and has been outlawed by a fatwa ruling since 2005. Not all Muslims share the opposition to it, and in 2014 80 Muslims were arrested for marking the occasion.

Iran's policy hasn't exactly been heart-warming either. According to a 2013 report by The Economist, state officials described the day as a 'decadent Western custom...[a] sacrilegious cultural inroad from the domineering capitalist system with the aim of weakening Iran's ... fundamental family values'.

But the day has nevertheless found commercial popularity there, with Valentine's vendors simply remaining vigilant and on the lookout for official inspectors.

In Indonesia, the secular government has no official ban on the event, but many in the country, which contains the largest Muslim population in the world, are suspicious of it, and conservatives and clerics have been known to protest the day's celebration. Likewise in Russia, concerns about 'spiritual security' and a primarily commercial event which doesn't benefit the 'formation of spiritual and moral values in youth' has seen conservative officials calling, unsuccessfully, for a ban on Valentine's Day.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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