- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Agence France-Presse) The student wing of Pakistan's fundamentalist Islamic party, Jamaat-i-Islami, has condemned Valentine's Day as a day of shame and lust.
"This is a shameful day. The people in the West are just fulfilling and satisfying their sex thirst on this day," Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader of the Islami Jamaat Talaba in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan, said this week.
"Celebrating Valentine's Day is against our Muslim traditions."
He called on the government to ban Valentine's Day along with Basant, the annual spring kite-flying carnival celebrated in Lahore over the weekend, criticizing its participants as sellouts to the West.
"The so-called moderate elements are crazy about celebrating all Western days. They are following the West just to show that they are modern people," Mr. Chamkani said at a press conference in the NWFP capital, Peshawar.
"Some Westernized people are celebrating all Western celebrations without thinking about the fact that they are against Islamic ideology."
Celebrating Valentine's Day, named after a Christian patron saint for lovers, has become popular in this Islamic republic in the past three to four years.
Hotels in major cities put on Valentine's dinners and balls, while local newspapers and commercial radio stations invite people to send messages to their lovers.
"The Pakistani electronic and print media is playing a negative role in this regard," Mr. Chamkani said.
Talaba's parent organization, Jamaat-i-Islami, is part of the six-party Islamic bloc that controls the NWFP legislature and is enforcing a morality drive targeting singers, dancers, musicians, movie theaters and video stores.

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