12-year-long banned Basant festival challenged in LHC

12-year-long banned Basant festival challenged in LHC

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court will hear a petition against the Punjab government’s decision to lift the longstanding 12-year ban on Basant celebrations.

Justice Atir Mahmood will hear the petition, filed by a citizen.

The petition argues that the Basant celebrations were banned after several incidents of kite flyers’ sharp glass and chemical coated strings slitting throats of citizens, including children, hence any celebration on the expense of human lives must not be allowed. Therefore, it was “unconstitutional” to allow a leisure activity “that results in the loss of human lives.”

The petition further alleges that the lifting of ban on Basant is an attempt by the government to divert people’s attention from genuine issues plaguing the country.

The petition prays the court to nullify the government’s decision as the kite-flying would result in human and financial losses.

Earlier on Tuesday, Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan announced the government’s decision to lift the Basant ban and that it will be held in February next year.

Basant, a kite-flying seasonal festival of the Punjab region that has been celebrated for generations, is held in late January or early February and marks the start of the spring season.

The celebrated festival was banned by the Supreme Court in 2005 after several incidents of death from slitting of unsuspecting individuals’ throats. Negligence of safety rules and regulations also led to several deaths as a result of celebratory aerial gunfire and fatal falls from rooftops during the festival.

Resolution submitted against lifting of Basant ban

Earlier today Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Hina Pervaiz Butt submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly against the provincial government’s decision to lift the ban on Basant celebrations.

The lawmaker, in the resolution, demanded that the Supreme Court of Pakistan take suo motu notice on the lifting of the ban as it violates the apex court’s 2005 order.

The provincial government passed a law against Basant celebrations in 2009, the resolution notes, adding that over a thousand lives have been lost due to kite-flying, hence the opposition will not allow the government to organise the festival on the expense of human lives.

The resolution demands that the provincial government take back the decision.

 

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