NO Basant says Punjab govt
LAHORE: The Punjab government on Monday categorically stated that the province will not celebrate Basant or any other cultural activity which poses a potential threat to human life. Replying to a point of order during the Punjab Assembly (PA) session, Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Minister Kamran Michael informed the PA that the provincial government could not permit the festival of Basant to take place, as kite flying posed a serious threat to human life. Michael said that despite the ban on the use of dangerous kite-strings, the people of Punjab do not refrain from using banned varieties of kite-strings during the annual kite-flying event, which has resulted in the loss of several lives over the years. In light of the numerous reported deaths due to kite flying, the government would continue its ban on kite flying on Basant, he added. Terming the government ban on Basant the right decision, Michael said the government lifted the ban for just one night last year, which resulted in a number of deaths in several parts of the city.
Bold decision: Earlier, on a point of order, Pakistan People Party MPA Hassan Murtaza opposed the ban on Basant festivities, saying that the government should take a bold decision by lifting the ban in order to ensure that the centuries-old cultural activity remains a part of Punjabs heritage. Unfortunately, Basant has always been looked down upon as a Hindu festival, the MPA said. MPA Sheikh Allauddin voiced support for the government ban, saying that Basant was a Hindu festival. According to an opinion poll conducted last year, about 75 percent of Lahoris favoured celebrating the kite flying festival to mark the arrival of spring.