ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority has advised all TV channels to stop the promotion of Valentine’s Day in the light of Islamabad High Court’s directives.

In a statement issued by the PEMRA on Wednesday said: “Please refer to order of the Islamabad High Court, Islamabad dated 13.02.2017 in the subject writ petition. The operative para is reproduced hereunder.”

In the meanwhile, respondents are directed to ensure that nothing about the celebrations of Valentine Day and its promotion is spread on the electronic and print media. No event shall be held at official level and at any public place. Chairman PEMRA is directed to ensure that all the TV channels shall stop the promotion of Valentine Day, forthwith.”

The above-mentioned orders of the Islamabad High Court are still in the field. Therefore, all the Broadcast Media and Distribution Services Licensees are advised to desist from promoting Valentine Day through their respective channels/networks.

AFP adds: Valentine's Day is increasingly popular among younger Pakistanis, with many taking up the custom of giving cards, chocolates and gifts to their sweethearts to mark the occasion.

But the country remains a deeply traditional Muslim society and many disapprove of the holiday as a Western import.

President Mamnoon Hussain told a crowd of students in 2016 that the day had no place in the Muslim-majority nation and urged young people to focus on their studies instead.

Last year, the Islamabad High Court prohibited celebrations in public spaces and government offices across the country.

In a Twitter post Wednesday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said last year's ban was still in place and urged the media to "desist from promoting" the festivities.

Social media users were quick to respond, with some mocking the regulatory body.

"Hate preechers who incite violence in the name of Islam are back on air. These hate mongers are promoted & protected by the state of #Pakistan. But love speak and red heart balloon and flower vendors are a danger to this republic and Islam", journalist Ahmad Noorani posted on Twitter.

Another user Adnan Sami commented on Facebook: "PEMRA directs media to refrain from promoting Valentine's Day, PEMRA never directs media from promoting hate monger Mullahs".

Others lauded the decision, echoing the views of officials who have previously blasted the celebrations as "vulgar and indecent".

Ali Danish said on Twitter: "Pemra did right. What sort of love do you want to spread via Valentine's day? Us distancing ourselves from Islam is haunting us big-time".