Original Articles

Basant: has Elvis left the building? – by Qudrat Ullah


The constitutional head of the largest province of Pakistan Mr Salman Taseer never hides any feeding frenzy when it comes to unreasonably rag the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. And, he did not even spare any second to create panicky on the dead issue of Basant. As the Basant date is nearing, the frightened parents of Lahore or anywhere else in Punjab, are praying to Allah Almighty to save them from the cruel fun which has already played havoc with the lives of scores of people, especially the children, who in their innocence, easily succumb to cultural spite of the people using metallic twine.

The apex court had outlawed kite flying in 2005 after several people were killed by glass-coated or metal kite strings. Metal or glass-coated strings help cut the strings of rival kites, the main objective of the sport, but they can catch unsuspecting motorcyclists and children across the throat, at times with fatal consequences.

People thanked Allah when Supreme Court of Pakistan disallowed Basant and they were hopeful that their innocent children will now be saved this time but the gubernatorial constitutional head in the province has once again proved that he can go to any length to unnerve the whole prefecture. Some demagogues claim that Basant and kites flying are our historical events. And around 20, 00000 families are related to the kite flying business have already lost their sources of livelihood because of the ban on kites and Basant event. Can such claim be used by thieves in support of their profession against the police?

On the other side, it is a good omen that Chief Minister Punjab Mohammed Shahbaz Sharif ordered to launch a massive crackdown against the manufacturers of kites and metallic threads. It is good that the anti-kite manufacturing law will strictly be implemented all across province and no kind of negligence, including the loss of life through kite-flying, will be allowed at any cost. People are appreciative of the government decision to declare that the anti-kite manufacturing law will be firmly implemented all across province and no kind of laxity, including the loss of life through kite-flying, will be tolerable at any cost. In accordance with the directives of the Chief Minister, the DCO Lahore has also announced that the district management would ensure the implementation of the court orders on Basant, adding that those violating the law could be charged a fine of Rs 300,000 and a three-year imprisonment. “Kite flying will not be allowed, not even at the Governor’s House,” the DCO has announced. This is the true spirit of democracy in Punjab.

Kites were used approximately 2,800 years ago in ancient China. Kup, Patang, Guda, and Nakhlaoo are some of the kite shapes used in fighting and they vary in balance, weight and speed through the air to entertain the flier. There is no doubt that it is an unhealthy activity which does not suit a country like Pakistan. Kite flying has many hazards; metal strings also cause short circuits by touching overhead electricity cables, leading to heavy losses for power utilities. By celebrating these events parents are losing precious lives of their children, the young children run blindly on busy roads to catch the kites, and many of them face deadly accidents. Some children fall down from the roofs tops. Apart from this, the twine which is made of sharp materials is also becoming a cause of life losses. Dozens of incidents have happened in Lahore or elsewhere where people travelling on bikes lost their children when the twine cuts of their necks but still no steps were taken by the government.

It is strange that when the Punjab government is trying to implement the court judgment, the Governor has started to blame the chief executive of the province who is public friendly and promoter of good social order. This adaptation is of Mr. Salman is in direct contradistinction of the high office of the Governor, he is representing. The court ban is intact and in the collective interest as it is helpful to save lives of millions of people.

Meanwhile, Lahore police, in its special campaign against the violators of kite-flying ban, have arrested more than 97 accused and registered 91 cases. Police also seized 235 kites and string. One can only hope that may the smaller children of Lahore stay protected in the days to come as we have adopted the routine of enjoying at the expense of others.

The Basant lovers should remember that Hindus have long left our motherland in 1947 but some Pakistani Muslims have taken charge of discharging Islam by celebrating Basant.

Is there a more shameful act than what Pakistani Basant is proving today?

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Abdul Nishapuri

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