Faisal­abad Uni­ver­sity to ob­serve Sis­ters’ Day on Valen­tine’s Day

Khaleej Times - - PAKISTAN -

la­hore — A uni­ver­sity in Pun­jab prov­ince will cel­e­brate Sis­ters’ Day on Fe­bru­ary 14 to pro­mote “Is­lamic tra­di­tions”, ac­cord­ing to its vice chan­cel­lor.

Fe­male stu­dents can be gifted scarves and Abayas (clothes) as de­cided by Vice-Chan­cel­lor Za­far Iqbal Rand­hawa of the Uni­ver­sity of Agri­cul­ture in Faisal­abad and other de­ci­sion mak­ers, DawnNewsTV chan­nel re­ported.

The vice-chan­cel­lor be­lieves it was “com­pat­i­ble with Pak­istan’s cul­ture and Is­lam”, the re­port said.

Ac­cord­ing to Za­far Iqbal, ‘Sis­ters’ Day’ has been con­ceived with the aim of pro­mot­ing re­spect for women.

He un­der­scored the need to cre­ate a safe en­vi­ron­ment for women to avail ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties with free­dom.

Fe­bru­ary 14 is cel­e­brated as Valen­tine’s Day across the world. On the day, people ex­press their love and af­fec­tion with greet­ings and gifts.

The uni­ver­sity an­nounced that it will cel­e­brate Sis­ters’ Day on Fe­bru­ary 14 to “pro­mote Is­lamic tra­di­tions”, Rand­hawa said.

While speak­ing to DawnNewsTV, he said that he was not sure if his sug­ges­tion to cel­e­brate Sis­ters’ Day “would click or not”.

He said that although some Mus­lims have turned Valen­tine’s Day into a threat, “My think­ing is that if there is a threat, con­vert it into an op­por­tu­nity”.

The re­port quoted Rand­hawa as say­ing that women face cer­tain con­di­tions re­lated to their at­tire which dic­tate that their body should not be re­vealed.

“Women are at a very high rank for us. Today the era of gen­der em­pow­er­ment is here, Western think­ing is be­ing pro­moted. But the best gen­der em­pow­er­ment and di­vi­sion of work is in our re­li­gion and cul­ture,” the vice-chan­cel­lor said. He claimed that cel­e­brat­ing Sis­ters’ Day would al­low “a soft im­age to de­velop”, and that people will re­alise that this is how much sis­ters are loved in Pak­istan.

“Is there a love greater than that be­tween brother and sis­ter?” On Sis­ters’ Day, it is greater than the love be­tween hus­band and wife,” Rand­hawa said.

Valen­tine’s Day has been a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject in Pak­istan for years, with some cel­e­brat­ing and oth­ers protest­ing against it.

The Islamabad High Court in 2017 and 2018 “banned” all Valen­tine’s Day cel­e­bra­tions, and print and elec­tronic me­dia were warned to “stop all Valen­tine’s Day pro­mo­tions im­me­di­ately”.

In 2016, then pres­i­dent Mam­noon Hus­sain urged people to forego cel­e­brat­ing Valen­tine’s Day, say­ing it was not a part of Mus­lim tra­di­tion, but a Western in­no­va­tion.

How­ever, the Uni­ver­sity came un­der fire for the de­ci­sion to cel­e­brate ‘Sis­ters Day’ in place of Valen­tine’s Day on Fe­bru­ary 14.

The an­nounce­ment sparked a mas­sive out­rage on so­cial me­dia with users con­demn­ing the de­ci­sion.

We are en­riched in our cul­ture, norms, and Is­lamic val­ues. We are mulling a plan to dis­trib­ute scarf, shawls and gowns printed with uni­ver­sity in­signia among fe­male stu­dents on the day

Za­far Iqbal Rand­hawa, Vice-Chan­cel­lor

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