An interior ministry order dated 25 October was carried by Wednesday’s The News daily, directing hotels and officials to put an end to the gala parades that are a regular event at city hotels.
“It has been observed that different functions are organised under the garb of fashion shows at leading hotels of the provinces and federal capital, which militate against our national culture and Islamic values,” the order said, according to the newspaper.
“Such activities are not reflective either of our culture or heritage and subsequently paint the government in a bad light,” the order said.
“The prime minister has taken serious notice of such undesirable activities and has directed that the administration and hotel managements be issued strict instructions to avoid recurrence of such programs, which are not in consonance with Islamic values and norms of decency.”
The directive does not specifically state why it objects to such shows, but anything that involves the flaunting of women is usually frowned upon in Islamic Pakistan.
“Such activities are not reflective either of our culture or heritage”
Interior ministry order,
Four-star hotels in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and even the Islamist-ruled northwest city of Peshawar regularly stage fashion shows featuring models wearing the creations of local designers.
A show at an Islamabad hotel in October attracted wide media attention because it coincided with what some Muslims consider to be a special night of Shab-e-Barat and national cricket players and officials attended.
The team lost a one-day match to South Africa the next day, triggering further criticism of the cricketers’ attendance.
Islamists gained a huge swing of support at national elections last year. They now rule the two western provincial parliaments and dominate the federal opposition.
Premier Jamali heads a coalition of secular, military-backed parties which rules with only a slim majority and has been courting the support of Islamists for the past year.