Punjab province lifts kite flying ban

Photo source: Daily Times

After a few weeks of rumors it looks like Punjab province in Pakistan has temporarily lifted the ban on kite flying for the Basant festival. This is bitter sweet, as I am sure some disrespectful fliers will still use chemical, glass or metal kite line and someone will likely get hurt. On the other hand kite flying is at the heart of the Basant festival for so many in Lahore and I am glad that thousands of kites will fill the skys again.

hopefully the police will actually enforce the no meta/chemical/glass line law and those who do still insist on using it are caught and they get the full penalty. When the ban was initially imposed last year the police were all but turning a blind eye to people flying kites.

Yahoo news writes

By ASIF SHAHZAD, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jan 4, 4:36 PM ET

LAHORE, Pakistan – Pakistani provincial authorities on Thursday lifted a ban on kite-flying imposed a year ago after several bystanders were fatally slashed by glass-coated strings used in the competitions.

The move came a month ahead of Basant, an annual festival that heralds spring and is marked by boisterous parties and the flying of colorful kites in the eastern province of Punjab and its capital, Lahore.

Fliers strengthen their kite strings with wire or glass, sometimes with bloody consequences, to give them an advantage in duels where competitors try to cut each others’ strings.

Even before last year’s festival got into full swing, seven people were fatally slashed, prompting authorities — with limited success — to ban kite-flying. They arrested hundreds who defied the regulation.

Among the dead was a 4-year-old boy whose throat was slit by a string coated with glass as he rode on a motorcycle with his father.

Salman Ghani, chairman of Punjab’s planning and development department, said the ban will be lifted during this year’s festival, scheduled for Feb. 25.

Glass-coated or metal strings will be prohibited, Ghani said, and authorities will issue licenses for selling kites and strings. Kites larger than 2-feet-by-2-feet will not be allowed, to prevent the use of heavy strings.

Offenders will face up to four years in jail or a fine of $1,800, Ghani said, adding that the kite-flying ban will be reimposed after the festival.

The Basant festival has been celebrated in Lahore for centuries. Basant means “yellow” in the Hindi language, a reference to the fields of blooming flowers that grace the area as spring approaches.

Islamic hard-liners in predominantly Muslim Pakistan oppose Basant because they consider it a Hindu festival.

Some more pictures of the Basant festival from Flickr…
Basant 2003 001.jpg

Shopping around

This is an awesome Flickr photo set from flickr user “AhMaD RoXx in VanCouVer’s”.