The Punjab government's decision to lift the 12-year-old ban imposed on celebrating Basant was challenged in the Lahore High Court on Wednesday.
The provincial administration had removed the ban on the kite-flying festival a day earlier, saying that it will be celebrated in the second week of February 2019. Advocate Safdar Shaheed Pirzada challenged that decision in court, complaining that the festival had been banned in the first place because it had taken the form of a "blood sport".
The petitioner claimed that it was "unconstitutional" to allow a leisure activity "that results in the loss of human lives", and accused the government of lifting the ban to divert attention from public issues.
Furthermore, the petitioner prayed to the court to declare the government's decision as illegal.
The court accepted the petition and fixed it for hearing on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan had announced the government's decision to lift Basant ban, adding that a committee comprising the Punjab law minister, the provincial chief secretary, and other administrative officials, will be formed to deliberate on the modalities about how the negative aspects of the festival can be avoided and overcome.
The provincial minister said the committee would give its recommendations within a week. "This time, Lahore's population will surely celebrate Basant," Chohan had said.
"The Supreme Court in its order had clarified that there was no restriction on holding the Basant festival and that it should be celebrated while staying within the ambit of law, as well as the rules and regulations defined by the government," the minister said.
Chohan further claimed that citizens and the civil society had been demanding permission to organise Basant festivities for quite some time, following which Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had sought recommendations about holding the Spring festival.
"The chief minister has said that Basant is a cultural festival, 'it has no relation to religion. It is for enjoyment,'" the provincial information minister said.