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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Kite deaths spark ban in Lahore
By Shahid Malik
BBC correspondent in Lahore

Kite flying in Lahore
The ban is to protect both citizens and power supplies, says Lahore
The Pakistani city of Lahore has banned kite flying for three months after a number of people were killed by sharpened strings.

District mayor Mian Amer Mahmud said the ban would take effect in the capital of Punjab province from 30 June.

At least a dozen people have had their throats cut over the past year by strings that are either metallic or coated with abrasive materials.

The province announced earlier this month that offending kite flyers could face murder charges.

Kite flyers use metallic strings or coat them with glass shards to take part in "dog fights" where the objective is to cut their opponent's string.

Mr Mahmud said the ban would be reinforced by a set of detailed rules to ensure the safety of citizens and uninterrupted power supplies to the city.

The kites have been known to cause power cuts by interfering with electricity lines.

Assurance

Under the new ban, the sale and manufacture of kites and thread has also been prohibited.

Kite Flying Association president Malik Shafi gave an assurance that there would be maximum co-operation to implement the safety plans.

This month, the Punjab chief minister's adviser on law and human rights, Rana Ejaz Ahmad Khan, said dangerous kite flying practices had forced the government to introduce the new murder charges.

Some of the victims had been young children, he said.

Police were instructed to carry out raids on shops selling banned strings and make arrests.

Kite flying reaches its climax during the Basant festival at the beginning of spring but is a popular pastime all year round.

The kites pose a particular threat to motorcyclists and pedestrians in busy residential areas.

People have also been killed or injured falling from buildings or by walking into the paths of cars while flying kites or gazing at them in the sky.


SEE ALSO:
Pakistan tackles killer kites
10 Jun 03  |  South Asia
Lahore kite festival takes off
11 Feb 03  |  South Asia
India celebrates kite flying
14 Jan 03  |  South Asia
India's birds face kite threat
17 Jan 03  |  South Asia


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