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Pakistani President Urges Nation To Snub Valentine's Day

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain has urged his nation not to observe Valentine's Day, denouncing the romantic holiday as a Western import.

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

Hussain urged the young people to focus on their studies instead.

Despite its roots as a Christian holiday, Valentine's Day has gained popularity among Pakistanis, prompting hard-line Muslim clerics to call for a ban on the celebration.

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

Authorities in the conservative northwestern Kohat district also instructed police to halt any celebrations of Valentine's Day.

Local media reported earlier in the week that Islamabad would outlaw the holiday as an "insult to Islam," but city officials later said such a ban could not be enforced.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP and dpa

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