LAHORE, April 1: The hope of revival of the country’s most important and once vibrant cultural festival -- Basant -- in Lahore have been rekindled after Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi sought an action plan from the quarters concerned in this regard.
Earlier, in last November, the city district government had initiated an extensive exercise, holding a couple of meetings with various stakeholders, including police, social and cultural activists, legal experts, kite-flying associations and public representatives, to discuss the idea of reviving the cultural event in the city. But the CDGL postponed the plan after the city police ‘flatly refused’ to guarantee a casualty-free Basant.
Officials told Dawn on Monday that the interim CM had asked the departments concerned as well as the CDGL to prepare a comprehensive plan for reviving the event soon.
“We have received instructions from the quarters concerned of the Punjab government to start preparing an action plan in this (Basant) regard after the CM asked them to do so,” Tariq Zaman, CDGL’s Admin Officer told this reporter.
When asked whether or not the CM had formally given a go-ahead to revive Basant in the coming days, the official said: “Since it is just a proposal floated by the CM, who has sought our input amid submission of the plan, the caretaker government is likely to hold the event keeping in view recommendations of those assigned to devise a viable plan in this regard.
APPRECIATION: All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association (APPMA) vice-president Khwaja Nadeem Saeed Wayeen has welcomed the move, stating it would go a long way in highlighting the soft image of the country.
In a press statement issued here on Monday, Wayeen said the decision would also help cut rate of unemployment in the province as thousands of people were directly or indirectly attached with kite making.
He urged the CM to also order establishment of special ‘kite-flying zones’ out of the city so that people could take part in the sport throughout the year.
“Kite-making alone had been providing livelihood to more than 150,000 people in Lahore and its suburbs, besides 180,000 others in Gujranwala and Kasur districts. Most of these artisans are now facing difficult times,” said Mr Wayeen “It will not only strengthen the cottage industry but also help (the country) earn much-needed foreign exchange through tourism industry,” he added. He said the decision had won the hearts of Zinda Dilan-i-Lahore. — Staff Reporter