Pakistan has banned the celebration of Holi and other Hindu festivals across educational institutions in the country to save the Islamic identity, which it says was “eroding". The directive to ban the celebration of Holi and other Hindu festivals came after a video of students celebrating the festival at a university in Islamabad emerged on social media.
The notice was issued by Higher Education Commission, Islamabad as, the commission said, it was sad to witness "activities that portray a complete disconnect from our sociocultural values and erosion of the country's Islamic identity."
The video, which was captioned "Holi celebrations in Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan. Biggest Holi celebration in Pakistan", showed hundreds of students of Quaid-i-Azam University dancing and celebrating the festival of Holi on a campus ground in Islamabad. The event was organised by the Mehran Students’ Council.
“One such instance that has caused concern was the fervor exhibited in marking Hindu festival of Holi. This widely reported/publicised event from the platform of a university has caused concern and has disadvantageously affected the country's image," 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," it further said.
It advised the higher educational institutions to distance themselves from such activities that, it said, was “incompatible with Pakistan's identity".
“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," the notice read.