Banning Holi In All Pakistan Universities


Advice to universities to 'stay away' from Holi, drew rebuke from HEC
Holi, Quaid-e-Azam University 

Pakistan's Higher Education Commission (HEC) has withdrawn its controversial announcement banning all universities in the country from celebrating Holi, saying that the message was 'regrettably' 'misinterpreted'. 

The HEC had termed the celebration of Holi, a festival of Hinduism, by students at Quaid-e-Azam University in the federal capital, Islamabad, as damaging to the country's reputation and Islamic identity. 

Regarding this declaration, Environment Minister Sherry Rehman commented that this declaration by HEC should not have been issued from the beginning. 

But now in a new declaration, the Executive Director of EHC, Dr. Shaista Sohail, said that 'Our institution respects all religions and in this context, deriving from the earlier declaration that the Holi festival has been banned, is wrong.' 

HEC's Utern: Suggestion to stay away from Holi led to clarification

The talk started when the Holi festival was celebrated recently at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. Students belonging to different religions were also present in this festival. His videos were also shared by users on Twitter and various social media accounts. 

But then a declaration (advisory) was issued by the Higher Education Commission. In this, Shaista Sohail, the executive director of the institution, advised universities across Pakistan not to participate in such festivals. 

It was also said that the festival is 'incompatible with the identity and culture of Pakistan.' It urged higher education institutions to 'stay away from activities that are inconsistent with national identity and social values' and asked students to be aware of elements that use them for their own personal gain.

"This incident, widely reported from a university platform, has raised concerns and misrepresented the national identity," the statement said. 

The declaration added that religious and linguistic interpretation in educational institutions sends a good message, but it must be 'allowed within limits.' 

When tried to speak to Dr Shaista Sohail about it, her assistant said she was in a meeting with the education minister and 'don't know when she'll be back', while a message on her number left. No response could be received despite leaving. 

Meanwhile, HEC's media wing spokesperson Ayesha Ikram said that the controversial declaration 'is now being withdrawn.' 

Shaista Sohail's declaration was criticized by almost every school of thought. 

Sardar Shah, the provincial education minister of Sindh, which has the largest Hindu population in the country, said that "Pakistan's law does not empower any individual or institution to allow citizens of other faiths to celebrate their religious and cultural festivals." can prevent from.' 

While the Minister of Environment Sherry Rehman, responding to a Twitter user, said that 'this declaration has now been withdrawn.' 

'There is no restriction in the constitution on who you can celebrate Holi with'

Students have also rejected this controversial announcement of HEC. Amna Qureshi, a student at Quaid-e-Azam University, told that such declarations should have no place in Pakistan's educational institutions. Educational institutions do not give importance to religious differences and sects at all.' 

Another student, Shah Mir Khan, said that 'this declaration should not have been issued because there is no prohibition in the constitution and law of Pakistan about who you can celebrate Holi with or not.' 

Sidra Alam said that 'if you issue a declaration and then have to explain its meaning, it means that you are not worthy of the position you are holding. 

'Such a thing should be done very thoughtfully. Already Pakistan is far behind other foreign countries in religious tolerance and then such a declaration from such a big institution further illustrates our narrow-mindedness. 

A student named Ahsan Kamal asked that 'Does the scope of HEC include issuing such an advisory and binding the institutions to it?' 

On the other hand, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Salman Sufi said that religious tolerance should be promoted and not stopped. 

'We need to bring Eka right now. Not to create further division.'

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