Pak SC grants permission for flying kites

Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 18:27

Lahore: The Supreme Court on Friday granted
conditional permission for the flying of kites, paving the way
for celebrations to mark the Basant festival in Pakistan`s
cultural capital.

During a hearing conducted in Lahore, a two-judge bench
of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Saqib Nisar and
Tassaduq Hussain Jilani allowed the flying of kites for a
specific period provided people participating in the activity
observed a code of conduct.

The bench also disposed of a petition filed by the Kite
Flying Association of Pakistan seeking permission for flying
kites during Basant.

The Punjab government had banned the flying of kites
after a series of incidents in which people sustained severe
injuries due to the glass-coated twine used with kites.

In a few instances, people riding motorcycles were
decapitated by the twine.

The celebration of Basant was also opposed by Islamic
hardliners, who claim the festival is linked to Hinduism.

In its order, the apex court said those flying kites
would have to observe a 2009 law that permits kite flying only
for 15 days and a ban on the use of chemical and glass-coated
twine and large kites.

The law officer of the Punjab government, Khadim Hussain,
informed the bench that the provincial government led by Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif had no plans to celebrate Basant.

Sheikh Muhammad Salim of the Kite Flying Association of
Pakistan said following the apex court`s order, his group
would seek permission from the district administration chief
of Lahore for organising events to mark Basant.

"It will be unfortunate if the Punjab government creates
hurdles in the event," Salim said.

Some 25,000 families associated with the kite flying
business were facing financial constraints due to restrictions
imposed by the provincial government, he said.

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

Then Governor Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated last
year, was in favour of celebrating Basant while the PML-N
party, which currently rules Punjab, is opposed to the
festival.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 18:27

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