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Valentine's Day Theme Overshadows Cricket in Pakistan

For once, cricket took a backseat as youngsters in Pakistan celebrated Valentine's Day with chocolates, flowers and gifts and the media too joined in by hosting special programmes for the day.//

Even as the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams arrived here for the fourth one-day international to be played on thursday, the focus was on the Valentine's Day celebrations. India lead the five-match one-day series 2-1.

There was no dearth of shops in the city selling Valentine's Day cards and flowers for youngsters who wanted to express their emotions for their loved ones.

Newspapers articles and special programmes on TV channels and radio too focussed on Valentine's Day.

In the office of BrainNet, Pakistan's premier Internet company, many computers displayed a big, red heart as their wallpaper.

Pakistani newspapers, especially the English ones, published photographs from India that showed people buying flowers and cards for the special day. Daily Times published a photograph of a florist selling red roses in New Delhi.

Television channels ran extensive programmes that discussed the merits and demerits of expressing feelings for a loved one on Valentine's Day.

HUMTV ran a special programme titled "Love Is In The Air" that featured Pakistan's well-known singers Ali Haider and Shehzad Roy.

Pakistan's many FM radio stations also ran programmes related to Valentine's Day. City FM 89, which has stations in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad, played love songs on request. It also aired poems and stories related to the occasion.

In Lahore's Liberty market, many shops sold heart-shaped red balloons with "I love you" written on them. People also bought cakes, chocolates and gifts for their loved ones, besides cards and flowers.

According to a survey conducted by Daily Times, shopkeepers had hiked the prices of all these items for the occasion.

Roses c ost as much as Rs.200 while bouquets were sold for anything between Rs.500 and Rs.1,000. Large baskets containing flowers, teddy bears and heart-shaped arrangements cost between Rs.7,000 and Rs.8,000.

Valentine's Day has caught up with Pakistani youngsters in the past five years, according to locals.

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