The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has banned Holi celebrations and other activities across all educational institutes in Pakistan.
The development came in response to the viral pictures and videos of a Holi celebration at Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad earlier this month.
The HEC notification stated that such festivities portray a disconnection from the country’s sociocultural values and threaten its Islamic identity. It emphasized the importance of maintaining a measured approach to cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity, fostering an inclusive and tolerant society that respects all faiths and creeds.
However, the commission expressed concerns about “overboard” celebrations, cautioning students against becoming pawns in the hands of self-serving individuals who exploit them for their agendas.
The event at QAU, which claimed to be the “biggest Holi celebration in Pakistan,” garnered praise and criticism from various quarters. While some appreciated the promotion of cultural diversity and inclusivity, others believed that the celebration went against the Islamic traditions and values upheld in the country.
The ban on Holi celebrations in Pakistani universities reflects the complexities surrounding balancing religious identity and cultural diversity in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society. As the nation grapples with these issues, fostering an environment that promotes dialogue, understanding, and respect for all beliefs and traditions is essential.