Pakistan bans Holi celebrations across educational institutes

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) has banned Holi celebrations in universities. The order of the HEC comes days after students of Quaid-i-Azam University celebrated Holi on the campus on June 12 and videos of the event went viral.

In a notice, the Commission stated that students are forbidden to follow this festival in order to adhere to “sociocultural values”. “Such activities portray a complete disconnect from the country’s sociocultural values and are an erosion of the country’s Islamic identity,” the notice read.

“While there is no denying the fact that cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity leads towards an inclusive and tolerant society that profoundly respects all faiths and creeds; albeit it needs to be done so in a measured manner without going overboard. The students need to be apprised to be aware of the self-serving vested interests who use them for their own ends far from the altruistic critical thinking paradigm,” the notice read.

In an apparent reference to Holi celebrations at Quaid-i-Azam University, the Commission stated, “This widely reported/publicized event from the platform of a university has caused concern and has disadvantageously affected the country’s image.”

Advising the students to refrain themselves from conducting such events, the Commission said, “Foregoing in view, it is advised that the HEls may prudently distance themselves from all such activities obviously incompatible with the country’s identity and societal values, while ensuring that they rigorously engage their students and faculty in academic pursuits, intellectual debates, and cognitive learning besides identifying, creating, and fostering avenues for extra-curricular activities and rational discourse.”

Earlier this month, videos of Holi celebrations at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad went viral. In the videos, students are seen playing Holi with colors and enjoying celebrations on the college campus.

The event was held by the Mehran Students’ Council, a non-political cultural organization of the university, reports said. In March, at least 15 Hindu students were injured after members of a radical Islamic student organization stopped them from celebrating Holi at the Punjab University premises.

Image courtesy of Representational photo, Twitter

Share this post