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Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pakistan love braves bombs for Valentine's

Source Geo Tv

Updated at: 0725 PST,  Saturday, February 13, 2010
 PESHAWAR: Hip young romantics in Pakistan's most dangerous city are splashing out on text messages and teddy bears, defying Taliban bombers and conservative parents to find love this Valentine's Day.

It's taken four years and the prospect of never seeing her again, for Mohammad Asif to pluck up the courage to approach the object of his affections, a fellow engineering student in northwest city Peshawar.

Destined to graduate and look for a job in a city where bomb attacks have closed businesses and emptied markets, Asif realises it's now or never.

"After four years of studies, my classmates are dispersing and I finally want to express my love for a girl I've liked for the past four years, but never said anything," gushes the 21-year-old.

"I've bought a card and chocolates to give her, so she knows that I love her. This is the day to disclose your hidden feelings," he said.

For Shama Aamir, who bought scent, chocolates and a love heart for her husband, Valentine's Day is a ray of sunshine in a miserable life.

"Some people cannot express their love and Valentine's Day provides them a good opportunity. It's a positive thing in this gloomy atmosphere and bombings," the 32-year-old told media.

Retailers only wish there were more people like her. Nasir Ahmed, who owns a gift shop in Peshawar's Sadar bazaar, says Valentine sales are down 30 percent this year because of unrest and inflation.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked bombings, which have killed more than 3,000 people in Pakistan within three years, surged late last year, much of it focused around Peshawar and northwest Pakistan.

Morale has suffered among the city's 2.5 million residents. Checkpoints have mushroomed. Many struggle to make ends meet and cloister themselves at home, frightened of becoming the bombers' next victim.

"Sales have plummeted by at least 30 percent this year. People are scared of going shopping and purchasing power has been severely dented by back-breaking inflation," Ahmed told media.

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