Pakistan’s Punjab province Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday imposed a “complete ban” on Basant, a seasonal festival celebrated by Punjabis of all faiths to mark the commencement of the spring season.
In a message posted on his official Twitter account, he said that none would be allowed to play with the lives of people and concerned District Police Officer would be held responsible in case a violation is reported.
“Complete BAN on Basant...No one can be allowed to play with the lives of ppl...concerned DPO will be responsible for any violation of ban,” Sharif tweeted.
Earlier, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that the provincial government could not permit a “throat-cutting kite flying festival”.
There is a long established tradition of flying kites and holding fairs on the occasion.
The festival was banned in Punjab in 2007 owing to deaths caused by sharply polished threads used to fly kites.
However, many analysts say the festival was banned due to pressure from hardline religious and extremist groups like the Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud Dawah, which claimed the festival had “Hindu origins” and was “un-Islamic”.