A kite-seller in Pakistan
A kite-seller in Pakistan

Pakistan's Punjab govt not to celebrate Basant

ANI | Updated: Jan 24, 2019 13:32 IST

Islamabad (Pakistan), Jan 24 (ANI): Pakistan's Punjab government has decided against reviving Basant, a kite-flying festival that marks the beginning of the spring season, media reports said.
Taking back its earlier decision to lift the 12-year ban on the festival, the Punjab government said it would require four to six more months to ensure a safe festival for all.
The Punjab government last month announced that it had decided in principle to revive the cultural festival of Basant. The celebration was banned by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government after many deaths were caused by glass-coated kite string.
Punjab Senior Minister Aleem Khan said on Wednesday: “We require four to six months of preparation to make Basant safe. If institutions fulfil their responsibilities such festivals can take place.”
The festival was banned in 2005 after several incidents of the razor-sharp glass and chemical coated kite string slitting throats of people, including children. Several deaths were also caused due to celebratory firing and fatal falls from rooftops while chasing kites, Geo reported.
The Pakistan Supreme Court in 2007 ruled on a public interest petition and banned kite flying. It remained outlawed during both the tenures of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif's provincial government in Punjab.
The ban left the kite and string making industry in Punjab in disarray, and destroyed related commercial activity, including food and hotel occupancy worth billions.
In December, Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan announced that Basant would be revived in the province in February. The Minister said the festival would promote tourism and boost economic activity.
The decision was challenged in the Lahore High Court on a plea contending it might cause loss of more lives. (ANI)