Govt shelves plans to celebrate Basant

Senior minister says preparations of at least four to six months required to celebrate festival


Our Correspondent January 24, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE:  

The Punjab government announced on Wednesday that Basant will not be celebrated in the province this year. Senior Punjab Minister Abdul Aleem Khan directed that the Lahore High Court (LHC) be informed in this regard.

The decision to celebrate the spring festival, taken by the provincial government in December last year, was challenged in LHC in a plea contending it might cause loss of more innocent lives. The petitioner had contended that the festival not only resulted in the loss of lives but also caused a loss of billions to public property.

Presiding over a high level meeting, the minister said that the government has decided to apprise the court about the facts and the apprehensions regarding the festival. The decision was taken on this basis. He directed officials concerned to start preparing for next year’s festival so that kite sellers can be registered and violators can be punished.

He maintained that if required, new laws can be implemented to celebrate Basant. Preparations of at least four to six months are required to hold the festival. If the relevant institutions work together, such activities can be used to promote a softer image of the country and to boost economic activities in the region.

In December, Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan stated that provincial authorities had decided to celebrate Basant in Lahore in the second week of February.

Speaking at a press conference, he had said that the festival of Basant was a reflection of Punjab’s culture. Basant is a purely cultural, social and traditional event and it would be incorrect to link the festival with any religion, he added.

Meanwhile, British High Commission Political Counsellor William Middleton also called on the minister on Wednesday. The minister informed the counsellor about development work in various sectors. He stated that the current government is committed to promoting health, education and infrastructure.

Middleton told the minister that the United Kingdom government will continue to extend bilateral cooperation in Punjab. The two discusses a number of matters of mutual interest.

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