Pakistanis should ignore Valentine's Day, president urges

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
District in Pakistan Bans Shops From Selling Valentine's Day Gifts

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13 (Reuters) - President Mamnoon Hussain has urged Pakistanis not to observe Valentine's Day, the romantic holiday that hardline Muslim clerics want banned but officials in the capital say they cannot suppress.

The president criticized Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan.

Despite its roots as a Christian holiday, Valentine's Day has gained popularity among Pakistanis, with flower vendors reporting booming sales this year, as in recent years.

See Pakistanis preparing for the holiday:

8 PHOTOS
Valentine's Day in Pakistan
See Gallery
Pakistanis should ignore Valentine's Day, president urges
A Pakistani shopper visits a gift shop in ahead of Valentine's Day Peshawar on February 12, 2016. Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain has urged the nation to refrain from celebrating Valentine's Day, while other officials blasted it as 'vulgar and indecent' as they moved to outlaw festivities. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED / AFP / A Majeed (Photo credit should read A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani shopkeeper prepares a gift at a gift shop ahead of Valentine's Day in Peshawar on February 12, 2016. Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain has urged the nation to refrain from celebrating Valentine's Day, while other officials blasted it as 'vulgar and indecent' as they moved to outlaw festivities. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED / AFP / A Majeed (Photo credit should read A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani vendor sells heart-shaped balloons at the roadside ahead of Valentine's Day in Islamabad on February 13, 2016. Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain has urged the nation to refrain from celebrating Valentine's Day, while other officials blasted it as 'vulgar and indecent' as they moved to outlaw festivities. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM / AFP / FAROOQ NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
LAHORE, Feb. 11, 2016-- Pakistani women buy gifts ahead of Valentine's Day in eastern Pakistan's Lahore, Feb. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Sajjad via Getty Images)
A vendor arranges heart-shaped balloons along the roadside to attract customers ahead of Valentine's Day, in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Celebrating Valentine's Day is considered un-Islamic by some in Pakistan, but many still buy flowers and exchange gifts with others. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
Pakistani vendors preparing baloons at a roadside for the upcoming Valentine's Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Celebrating Valentine's Day is considered un-Islamic in Pakistan, but many still buy flowers and exchange gifts with others at this time of year. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
People buy flowers to celebrate the upcoming Valentine's Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Celebrating Valentine's Day is considered un-Islamic in Pakistan, but many still buy flowers and exchange gifts with others at this time of year. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"Valentine's Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided," Hussain said at a ceremony celebrating a nationalist leader.

Local media reported earlier in the week that Islamabad would ban celebrations on Valentine's celebrations as an "insult to Islam," but city officials later said such a rule would be unenforceable.

The northwestern city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, has banned Valentine's Day celebrations, local media said.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

More on AOL.com
10 reasons people truly love being single, even on Valentine's Day
Today in history: The St. Valentine's day massacre took place
The best rom-coms to watch on Valentine's Day
Read Full Story

People are Reading