—Iranian officials in January banned the import of Valentine's Day gifts, but people in the capital, Tehran, were still out purchasing such gifts and making plans for meeting boyfriends or girlfriends for romantic dinners.
Despite the opposition in Pakistan, Valentine's Day romanticism — or at least the marketing sentiment — wasn't dampened much in the capital, Islamabad. Peddlers approached cars at stop signs hawking heart-shaped balloons, and the prices at flower stalls nearly doubled.
Eid Muhammed, a salesman at a gift shop in Peshawar, said gift card sales had dropped in recent years as people preferred to send text messages to their loved ones instead. But he said more people were buying gifts for their sweethearts. He estimated that about 90 percent of the customers were young people, and most were men.
One of the few exceptions was Amina Mahmood, a female college student, who was buying flowers for a special someone she chose not to describe.
"Some days are so special that we should not miss them," she said shyly.
Associated Press writers Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Adil Jawad in Karachi, Asif Shahzad and Munir Asif in Islamabad, Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Nasser Karimi in Tehran contributed to this report.
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