Pakistan maintains ban on Basant festivities

Lahore: Even as Basant Panchmi, the festival marking the onset of spring, is celebrated with great pomp and show, the occasion remains lackluster in Pakistan.

The government imposed a strict ban on Basant, a festival earlier celebrated by Punjabis of all faiths to mark the commencement of the spring season.

Authorities cite safety reasons behind the diktat, even as clerics issue edicts branding the festival as pagan in origin.

The ban is now in its twelfth year. In 2013, a plan to revive the celebrations was dropped after the terror group Jamat-ud-Dawa said the festivities were un-Islamic.

Last year, restrictions got stricter when Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, said that no one would be allowed to play with the lives of people and concerned District Police Officer would be held responsible for any violation.

“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 had tweeted.

However, the order remains ineffective in some parts as people, mainly in Lahore, can be seen flying kites, which is an essential part of the Basant celebrations. (ANI)