Valentine's Day could be banned in Pakistan for being an 'insult to Islam'

Supporters of Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami have previously protested the celebration of Valentine's Day, but the state has never before intervened.Reuters

Valentine's Day may be banned in Islamabad, according to local reports which suggest officials have clamped down on celebrations.

Sources told Pakistani daily The News International that interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered a ban on anyone celebrating the day, which is observed on February 14, in the capital.

The district administration of Islamabad reportedly issued an announcement saying that it would crack down on anyone who tried to mark the day.

Reports suggest that this is because Valentine's Day is considered an "insult" to Islam by Muslim hard-liners.

The Times of India reports that supporters of Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami have previously "disrupted" Valentine's Day celebrations, but this marks the first time the state has intervened.

A number of other countries have officially cracked down on festivities, however. In the Indonesian province of Aceh, the only region of the country ruled by Sharia law, the celebration of Valentine's Day is banned, as is the sale of gifts.

In 2012, Malaysian authorities arrested more than 40 unmarried Muslim couples who were sharing hotel rooms on February 14. Government officials branded celebrations "unsuitable" for Muslims.

The Iranian government in 2011 declared the day a "decadent Western custom" and outlawed celebrations. "Symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses, and any activities promoting this day are banned," state media said. "Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban."