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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Pakistan students wounded in Valentine's Day clash

AFP , Friday 14 Feb 2014
Supporters of the Islami Jamiat Talaba, a student wing of Pakistan's religious and political party Jamaat-e-Islami, shout slogans to condemn Valentine's Day during a protest at the University of Peshawar February 14. 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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At least three students were wounded Friday in a clash at a university in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, following a dispute over Valentine's Day celebrations in the deeply Muslim country, police said.

Students from the left-leaning Pakhtun Students Federation were marking the international day of romance with red balloons and cake when they were attacked by students from the rival Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT) group.

The IJT, the student wing of Pakistan's hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party, had been celebrating "Haya ("Modesty") Day" in response to Valentine's Day which they oppose as un-Islamic.

Dozens of students threw rocks in the scuffle, leading to gunshots being fired by both sides and three rooms in a student dormitory being set on fire.

"The situation is under control now. Three students were wounded in the clash," local police official Fazalur Rehman told AFP, adding that police were searching for the students involved to arrest them.

One student had a gunshot wound to his hand, he added.

Valentine's Day is increasingly popular among younger Pakistanis, many of whom have taken up the custom of giving cards, chocolates and gifts to their sweethearts to celebrate the occasion.

But Pakistan remains a deeply traditional Muslim society where many disapprove of Valentine's Day as a Western import.

Peshawar is a conservative city on the edge of Pakistan's restive tribal belt, where most women wear veils in public and few girls go out alone.

Many of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked bombings which have killed thousands of people in Pakistan in the past several years have focused around Peshawar and the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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