Islamabad: Salman Sufi, head of Pakistan Prime Ministers Strategic Reforms Unit, announced that Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain had asked Pakistan's Higher Education Commission (HEC) to withdraw a notification that banned Holi from being celebrated at a university.
Sufi took to his Twitter account to urge people to celebrate religious harmony.
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Thursday withdrew the notification banning Holi celebrations in universities, a day after receiving severe criticism for the move.
In a notice dated June 22, the HEC said that it is “highly respectful of all religions, faiths, and beliefs, and the associated festivals and celebrations observed in the country”.
Read the full statement here:
The HEC stated that its prior notification prohibiting Holi festivities in colleges had been "taken out of context" and that it regrets any confusion it may have caused, “Considering that the message inferred from the communication has regrettably led to misinterpretation, HEC is pleased to withdraw the same”.
The order of the HEC came days after students of Quaid-i-Azam University celebrated Holi on the campus on June 12 and videos of the event went viral.
Why was the Holi Ban initiated?
The Pakistani government has banned the religious celebration of Holi and other Hindu holidays at all schools and institutions in the country in order to protect the Islamic identity, which it claims is "eroding."
A rumoured video of students celebrating the festival at an Islamabad university went viral on social media, causing the government to issue an order outlawing the celebration of Holi and other Hindu festivities.
In a notice, the Pakistan Higher Education Commission stated that students are not permitted to celebrate Holi in order to promote "sociocultural values."
Videos of Holi celebrations that went viral: