Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Punjab govt's decision to lift Basant ban challenged in LHC

December 19, 2018

Email

Punjab government recently announced that Basant will be celebrated in the second week of February 2019. — File
Punjab government recently announced that Basant will be celebrated in the second week of February 2019. — File

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".

Read: Basant means happiness and all it takes are a few precautions

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.