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.


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

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