In an effort to interpret the law banning the flying of kites with coated strings in Pakistan, the state of Punjab recently passed a law covering the manufacture and sale of kites and kite line that would require maunfacturers to register with the state. In addition, the ordinance permits kite flying under certain circumstances during a fifteen day period in the spring of each year.
On January 23, 2006, Geo TV of Pakistan reported:
LAHORE: Punjab Government has promulgated Punjab Prohibition of Kite flying (Amendment) Ordinance, 2006 which will come in to force immediately.
According to a press release issued by Government of Punjab, no person would be allowed to manufacture under the ordinance, sell or offer for sale metallic wire, nylon cord (tandi), any other thread coated with sharp maanjha or any other injurious material for the purpose of kite flying.
Violators of the Ordinance would be liable to imprisonment for 3 years or to a fine of Rs.40,000/- or both.
The Nazim of the concerned district, through a notification, issued with the prior approval of the government, could allow kite flying and sale of kites for a period not exceeding 15 days during the spring season in a year provided that kite manufacturing is allowed for such period as the government may specify by general or special order.
Every manufacturer, trader or seller of kites or kite flying materials will get himself registered with the concerned City District Government or the District Government in the manner as may be prescribed by the government through a notification.
However, this was immediately challenged the following day by the former Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The Daily Times of Pakistan reported that Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry called the ordinance “contempt of court”, saying that it allows kite flying for a specific time in Punjab despite the fact that the Pakistan's highest court has imposed a countrywide ban on it. Chaudhry claimed that the ordinance was a “clear violation” of the ban and also contrary to Article 9 (Safety and Security of Citizens) of the Constitution.
Adding to the volatility of the issue was another major power outage in Lahore, Pakistan caused by kite flying that took place in spite of the Supreme Court ban on the activity. The Daily Times of Pakistan suggested that police seem to be able to do little to control the sport.
Kite flying is so deeply imbedded in the culture of Pakistan that one wonders how the situation will be resolved. The high cost of power outages, the accidents causing injury to kite fliers and bystanders, and the occasional death all make the issue a very complex one for the nation.
Kite flying in Pakistan is very different from that in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In these nations, kite flyers do not engage in battles to cut one another out of the sky. Whereas in Pakistan, the measure of kite flying skill is the ability to outmaneuvre an opponent and take his or her kite out of the sky by cutting the flying line.
This issue will take a long time to resolve and I anticipate that there will be additional postings on this matter.