MNA Hamza Shahbaz said on Sunday Basant festivities would be part of the Punjab Youth Festival 2014.
He was addressing a ceremony to unveil the logo of the youth festival. Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan was also present.
The ceremony was held at the Punjab Sports Board gymnasium.
Speaking on the occasion, Hamza Shahbaz said several kite-flying events would be arranged in Changa Manga forest for the spring festival.
He said Jallo Park in Lahore was also being considered as a venue for the kite-flying festival.
The government had imposed a ban on kite-flying in 2005 after glass-coated twine used to fly kites caused several deaths and injuries in congested neighbourhoods. Motorcyclists and their pillion were the most frequent victims.
The announcement comes nearly a week after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced that Basant would be celebrated in Sindh as a part of a two-week Sindh Culture Festival.
Hamza Shahbaz appreciated the enthusiasm of the youth. He said several countries had shown interest in holding youth festivals after the success of the Punjab youth festival in 2012.
He said, “Our youth set 12 international records at the previous festival. This year, there are plans to attempt one hundred international records.”
He said Pakistani teams were warmly welcomed in the Indian Punjab.
He said relations between India and Pakistan would improve with promotion of cultural cooperation and trade.
He said the chief minister had set a Sports Endowment Fund of Rs2 billion for welfare of senior players. He said the government wanted to create opportunities for young people.
He said legislation would be proposed in the provincial assembly for rehabilitation of more than 4,500 sports grounds in the Punjab so that encroachments could be avoided.
Talking to newsmen, Khan told the first sports university in Asia was being set up through the Sports Endowment Fund.
He said 55,200 sports and youth development councils had been set up in the first phase of the Punjab Youth Festival starting on December 23 in villages.
He said the councils would supervise 256 events of the festival.
He said cattle and horse shows and reading groups would also be included iun the festival.
National Assembly Member Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Provincial Assemble members Marghoob Ahmed, Ghazali Butt, Waheed Gul, Malik Saiful Malook, Mian Naseer Ahmed, Ramzan Siddique Bhatti, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Tahia Noon, Nighat Nasir Sheikh, Kanwal Nauman, Aalia Aftab and Rahila Khadim Hussain were also present.
Members of the national women kabbadi, hockey team and netball teams also attended the function.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2013.