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Pak's Punjab govt lifts 12-year-old ban on celebrating Basant

Press Trust of India  |  Lahore 

Pakistan's Punjab province government on Tuesday lifted a 12-year-old ban imposed on celebrating Basant, a seasonal festival celebrated by Punjabis of all faiths to mark the commencement of the spring season.

Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said the traditional festival will be celebrated in the second week of February 2019, Dawn reported.

Addressing a press conference here, Chohan said 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 minister said the committee would give its recommendations within a week. "This time Lahoris will surely celebrate Basant," he added.

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".

Chohan said that the citizens and the civil society have been demanding permission to hold Basant festival for quite some time following which Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had sought recommendations about holding the Spring festival.

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, Chohan added.

The chief minister has said that Basant was a cultural festival, "it has no relation to religion. It is for enjoyment," the minister added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 18 2018. 21:25 IST