Punjab govt's decision to celebrate Basant challenged in LHC

Kite-flying festival was banned following multiple deaths


Rana Yasif December 20, 2018
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: The decision of the Punjab government to celebrate the spring festival Basant has been challenged in the Lahore High Court in a plea contending it might cause loss of more innocent lives.

The petitioner, Advocate Safdar Shahin Pirzada contended that the government was diverting attention of the people from actual issues through such tactics. He submitted that Basant had been banned after incidents in which people lost their lives because the sharp, metal strings used in kite-flying cut their throats.

He said the festival not only resulted in the loss of lives but also caused loss of billions to public property.

“This festival might cause loss of more innocent lives if it is celebrated”, said Advocate Pirzada. “Permitting such a festivity that causes loss of lives is a sheer violation of the Constitution,” he pointed out.

Punjab to celebrate Basant after 12-year hiatus

He prayed to the court to set aside the decision of the provincial government and the ban imposed on the festival be maintained.

It is pertinent to mention that the city is set to celebrate Basant in the second week of February after 10 years after the Punjab government on Tuesday gave the green light.

Punjab Minister for Culture and Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan announced the decision.

He said an eight-member committee had also been formed to suggest ways and means to deal with the fallout of the great cultural event.

Opposition wants suo motu notice

A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab Assembly member, Hina Pervez Butt also exhorted the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo muto notice over the decision of provincial government to lift ban on the Basant festival despite the fact the country’s top court had banned it in 2007.

She made her demand through a resolution submitted in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat, contending it is tantamount to committing a contempt of court.

Lahore High Court seeks govt reply on Basant ban

She stated that government’s decision reflected its non-seriousness as Pakistan occupied 150th spot in the category of developed countries while the government was going to celebrate the festival.

She said the government should focus on improving the economic condition rather than making announcements of Basant.

She said the Punjab government in 2009 had made legislation over Basant after this festival took lives of several innocent people.

She said this House demands that the ban on Basant be maintained to avoid further loss of human lives. She demanded of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo muto notice of the government’s attitude. She also demanded of the government to take back its decision making clear that Opposition would not let the Treasury waste human lives in the garb of Basant.

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