Sights and sounds of Valentine’s day in Pakistan

Published: February 14, 2013

It has happened to me one too many times, and I'm sure you've been through this at least once as well. ILLUSTRATION: IMAAN SHEIKH

Valentine’s day is here! Love it or hate it, live in Pakistan or England, you cannot ignore Valentine’s day.

I am not too big on this ‘day of lovers’, and it has nothing to do with my relationship status – I’m just not very festive. Be it Eid or Valentine’s, my day is usually spent reading a book or watching South Park re-runs.

The observations I’ve made about the past few Valentine’s days in Pakistan have made it a fun day for me  — there are these particular characters you meet and things you hear and experiences that just leave you laughing, rolling your eyes, or face-palming yourself.

So I’ve made a list of five of these characters. I’m sure you’ve come across at least one of the characters I’ve listed below too, even if on Facebook or Twitter. If you haven’t started noticing them yet, begin now! They’ll spice up your day.

The girl in red

Do you have a friend, a classmate, a cousin or a coworker who claims to not be celebrating Valentine’s day but wears pink or red and calls it a “total coincidence”? If you go to university/college, you would know this girl.

The woman who cried “fitna!”

I don’t know if all families have this one ‘auntie’ – mine has a few of them.

She does not necessarily have to be a relative; she may be someone living next door. She can be seen squinting at you in disapproval if you walk by with a member of the opposite sex.

This woman hates Valentine’s day and other “unislamic events“, and she takes pride in telling everyone about her children who ‘don’t believe in Valentine’s day’. She is obviously mistaken. She goes through the occasional television-is-hell phase, and complains about how the media is promoting immodesty by airing a Valentine’s special commercial with a boy, a girl and chocolate.

The anti-Valentine

This person couldn’t care less about Valentine’s day. But, boy, does he want people to know how little he cares. He loathes Valentine’s day so much that he decides to hold a campaign with his other anti-Valentine friends about to demonstrate his stark indifference to some ‘lame internationally celebrated day’.

The irony is hilarious.

Encounter with the teasing phoolwala (street florist):

This character has brought embarrassment to so many Pakistanis, it’s not even okay.

If you are going to make the mistake of travelling in a car with your colleague or brother/sister, on Valentine’s day, you will meet this interesting man who will tease you into buying flowers while the signal’s red.

This is what happens:

This happens on normal days too, but on Valentine’s day, the odds are that  you will get home red-faced because you were told by a man on the street that you and whoever you were sitting with in the car, make a fantastic couple.

It has happened to me one too many times, and I’m sure you’ve been through this at least once as well.

It’s the worst when you are sitting next to your brother.

The indecent proposal

You know that random guy who texts you girls that he “wAnNa FraNdShIp yEw”? He is in full throttle mode on Valentine’s day.

Below is the typical text message and the typical response of the reader:

So those are five examples of the sights and sounds in Pakistan on Valentine’s day.

For a little dose of nostalgia, here is that little heart-toting teddy bear you’ve seen at least one of your school friends desperately trying to hide in their bag on Valentine’s day:

Celebrating it or not, I hope you all have a safe Valentine’s day!


Read more by Imaan here or follow her on Twitter @SheikhImaan

Imaan Sheikh

Imaan Sheikh

An graduate with a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi, she enjoys reading, writing and listening to classical psychedelic rock. She blogs at and tweets as @SheikhImaan (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ramzan Brohi

    To The Author,

    Wanna Fraandship Yew.


    Ramzan BrohiRecommend

  • THE

    YUCK YUCK YUCK!! Recommend

  • Azqa Hayat

    I’ve came across almost all of the characters you’ve listed above. These characters really spice up your day but sometimes you get irritated specially when someone sent you 10 that kind of cheap texts in a row.It was an Interesting blog, Good Observation Imaan ! Recommend

  • Salman

    and there are those who castigates Valentine’s day coz they are single and appreciate when they bump into relationship..:-P…:-)Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    This was very cute and quite funny. Well done! Recommend

  • Ali kazmi

    hahaa the Teddy bear one! i remember how my fiance got embarassd with that :DRecommend

  • Haris

    People who dont have any valentine, are reading this article :)Recommend

  • abdullah!

    Awesome article!!
    Really love all of your blogs/articles, Imaan ..

    I never had a chance to celebrate VDay in Pakistan, but I have encountered “The girl/boy in red” and OH! the “fitna” anty .. she just eats my head out and spams my entire facebook page preaching about it with a million posts. LOLRecommend

  • Noman Ansari


    Not true.

    BTW, the sister thing is so embarrassing.

    The worse was at a traffic signal when some 50/50 (Read: Tranny) came up to my car with my sister in the passenger seat and said, “Kitnee piyaree joree hai masha’allah”

    Before the 50/50 could go on about family planning, I shouted, “Dude… SISTER!”Recommend

  • Hina Jafri

    ‘#truestory! :)Recommend

  • khan of quetta

    @Hina Jafri:
    i want to do FRAANDSHEEP with you lolRecommend

  • khan of quetta

    comon guys its valentine its pondi timeRecommend

  • Batool

    Absolutely love the illustrations. Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    FRandshippppp YeWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW :DRecommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    Enjoyed reading it. Love Pakistan but don’t hate Dubai.Recommend

  • Parvez


  • ali

    how low can this newspaper go!! before this pathetic media Pakistanis didn’t knew abt valentines day.lRecommend

  • Someone

    Then Stop reading this Paper & mind your business what others are doing & what others KNOW.Recommend

  • Kamran

    Frandxip…… :DRecommend

  • al33

    I hope you all have a safe Valentine’s day!

    I wonder if its a double entendre … as for me i think with PAPPU’S mind :P:DRecommend

  • Zara

    Good one,, frandshipYew!!!!Recommend

  • sara malik

    ha ha ha what fun article, well observed Missy!!! clap clap Recommend

  • uzma

    Dear author ! additions to your list

    The Sheepish Salesman
    yeah, the one who thinks you are shopping for your Valentine & shares story of a lady who bought a gift but insisted it will be picked by her BF in the evening ……………
    The Smug Transexual
    I ran into one in a busy market ……I was told
    baji my BF wants a bike as his valentine gift !!! please help me out !!!!
    I was stupified & responded
    do you have a BF
    He /she said haye Allah baji kyun nai!!!!

    the list might go on but I think it’s more than enough for now!!!Recommend

  • mehwish

    I live in England and am completely able to ignore Valentine’s day! Intact it’s relatively more quiet that day , unlike Pakistan we have NO TV shows airing Valentine’s day nor any banghras on the street. Infact, we couldn’t care less!!Recommend