No `Basant` for residents of Lahore
Last Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012, 21:37
Lahore: For the third year in a row, the residents of the cultural capital of Pakistan - Lahore - will not be able to celebrate 'Basant' this spring.

The provincial government led by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif told a court today that it had no plans to allow events related to the decades-old festival.

Presenting the Punjab government's stance in the Lahore High Court, district administration chief Ahad Cheema informed Justice Umer Atta Bandial that the administration had no plans to celebrate 'Basant' in Lahore during February 25-26 as was done in the past.

"There is a ban on Basant and the government is acting accordingly," Cheema said.

Following Cheema's deposition, the judge dismissed a petition filed by lawyer Ilamuddin Ghazi, who had asked the court to direct the government not to celebrate Basant.

Ghazi had contended in his petition that Basant was a Hindu ritual and went against the tenets of Islam.

Sheikh Muhammad Salim of the All Pakistan Kite Flying Association said that it was unfortunate that the Punjab government was depriving residents of Lahore of an opportunity to celebrate festivals like Basant.

"The law allows kite flying for 15 days a year and Basant is a matter of only one day and one night," Salim said. In several districts of Punjab, Basant would be celebrated next month, he pointed out.

"Why is Lahore being deprived of this?" he asked. Salim said some 25,000 families involved in making kites and other related products were facing financial constraints due to the ban imposed on 'Basant' by the PML-N government.

He urged the Chief Minister to allow people to celebrate Basant.

The last time Basant was celebrated in Lahore was in 2009, when Punjab was under Governor's Rule.


First Published: Friday, February 24, 2012, 21:37

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