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