Kite lovers defy Basant ban

Sounds of aerial firing and kite flying echo in various localities

Qaiser Shirazi February 17, 2024


Basanat was celebrated in areas of Rawalpindi Cantt on Thursday night and Friday despite an official ban and [partial] police action.

The festival announced by the Rawalpindi Kite Flying Association attracted a good number of kite lovers, who defied the ban imposed by the district administration.

All areas of Cantt echoed with bokata throughout the day, while aerial firing was also committed without any fear. The police and district administration failed to stop Basant Night on Thursday night and kite flying on Friday despite repeated public announcements and police deployment in the congested areas.

On Thursday night, youngsters appeared at their rooftops soon after the sunset and flew kites till 1am. Kit fling was observed in the densely-populated areas of Cantt, Tinch Bhata, People's Colony, Dhok Syedan, Jhanda Chichi, Dhok Chirag Din, Scheme 3, Gulistan Colony, Murid Hasan, Bhata Chowk, Masrial, Chauhar Harpal, Westridge, Gawalmandi, Sadar, Chhota Bazar, Qasim Market, Dhamyal, Seham, Lala Zar, Askari Areas, Tahli Mohri, Dehri Hasanabad, and Mughalabad.

ReadBasant dates unveiled for twin cities amid ban

A large number of people from Rawalpindi city also reached Cantt areas to celebrate Basant. A large number of small kites were flown at the roofs of houses, plazas and markets. Kite lovers used the slogan of bokata and resorted to aerial firing throughout the night.

On Basant night, the police arrested 27 violators and recovered 510 white kites and strings from their possession. Despite this, white kites continued to fly on Basant Night.

After the Friday prayer, thousands of people including women and children climbed on the roofs of houses, plazas, shops and markets and performed kite flying. Some kites displayed pictures of PTI founder Imran Khan, the PTI flag, and various slogans regarding the recent elections.

Kite lovers also organised barbecues and seasonal oranges on the occasion.

Basanat was at its peak from 1pm to sunset. Police teams faced many difficulties during the anti-Basanat operation in the congested localities. Women and eunuchs were also seen enjoying kite flying.

Police teams took 31 youths into custody from areas of Cantt, RA Bazar, Gawalmandi, Westridge, Race Course, and Civil Line and cases were registered against them. The arrested kite flyers will be presented in the courts today (Saturday).

Many violators, who were arrested by the police, allegedly secured release after paying Rs10,000 bribe to the police station officials.

Vice Chairman of Kite Association, Muhammad Iqbal has already announced to hold Basant night on Feb 22 night and Basant on Feb 23 night in Rawalpindi city, and in Islamabad on March 10. Youngsters have also started preparations for the next episodes of Basant.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th 2024.


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