Pakistan's Supreme Court extended it's kite making and kite flying ban at least until it next convenes on January 26, 2006. The ban, originally imposed on October 24, 2005 has created quite a stir across the nation. The ban was levied due to annual injuries, some deaths, and serious power outages caused by kite flying in the Basant festival.
Essentially the two issues that create danger are the use of dangerous kite line which can cut or cause power outages and the risks of flying from roof tops in the large cities. Glass powder coated lines can cause seious cuts. The other type of lines used, metal wire or metallic powder coated lines can cut flesh as well. However it is these metallic lines that cause the serious and expensive power outages when they come in contact with the power grid.
The ban has run up against strong cultural and economic resistance. The flying of kites during Basant, a spring festival, is deeply rooted in Pakistani culture. The making of kites and line for this festival employs thousands in the nation. Banning kite and line makers from making and selling their wares will result in some economic hardship for a segment of the population.
On Friday, December 9, 2005 a protest against the ban turned violent when police carrying batons tried to disperse a protest crowd. Dozens of proponents of the sport were hurt during the crackdown outside the Pakistani Supreme Court in Lahore.
Meanwhile, in Lahore, the regional and city government worked to provide alternate economic assistance to kite and line makers while also shoring up an official crackdown on matters outlined in the Supreme Court ban. The court had warned district assemblies that they would be held in contempt if they did not enforce the ban.
More details can be found in the following news stories:
- CNN - Kite Ban Sparks Violent Protest
- newKerala.com - Pakistan Supreme Court cracks whip on kite-flying
- Pakistan Daily Times - City government to form committees to ensure kite ban
- Andrew Miller's Pakistan Diary - The End of Kite Flying?
- Daily Times - Soft Loans to Kite Dealers - City gov't seeks recommendations from banks. (This article discusses the possibility of financial aid to merchants affected by the Supreme Court ban on kites.)
The government of the state of Punjab will be seeking a relaxation of the ban on kite flying that has been imposed by the Pakistan Supreme Court. The next scheduled hearing before the court is January 25th and officials in Punjab have indicated that they will petition the court to permit kite flying permitted if certain safety rules were implemented.
For a complete review of the story see the article: "Pakistani State to seek review of kite ban" in the December 28, 2005 NewKerala Times.