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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 11:46 GMT
Pakistan province lifts kite ban
Pakistanis on rooftops watch kites flying over Lahore
Kite flying is a popular sport in Pakistan
The government of Pakistan's Punjab province is to allow kite-flying during the Basant spring festival in February.

But officials said the kite-makers and those flying them would have to follow certain rules to minimise risk to life.

The Supreme Court outlawed the sport in 2005 after several people were killed by glass-coated or metal kite strings.

Basant, which begins on 25 February, is popular with tourists but religious leaders say kite-flying is un-Islamic. The ban will return after the festival.


Officials said the regulations, announced by the government on Thursday, would be presented before the Supreme Court for approval.

Under the new proposals:

  • metal-reinforced and glass-coated strings are banned
  • only cotton strings up to a certain thickness are allowed
  • kites larger than 2x2 feet, that require a thicker string, are prohibited
  • kite strings can only be coated with wheat-flour glue, dye and soft, finely-ground glass.

    In an attempt to regulate kite-making and kite-flying, the government says it will issue licences to retailers selling kites and strings, and only those dealers and manufacturers who are members of a single association registered under the Companies Act would qualify.

    One of the kites being prepared before the start of the Basant festival
    The kite-flying can get very competitive during Basant

    Officials said bikers in Punjab had also been told to affix protective antennae on their bikes to protect them against the kite strings.

    They said those violating the rules would be punished with imprisonment of up to four years and a monetary fine.

    Fatal consequences

    Metal or glass-coated strings help cut the strings of rival kites - the main objective of the sport.

    But they can catch unsuspecting bikers across the throat, at times with fatal consequences.

    Metal string can also cause short-circuits in overhead power cables, leading to heavy losses for electricity utilities.

    The festival, praised by President Pervez Musharraf who often flies down to Lahore to participate, is traditionally held in the second week of February.

    But for the last two years, it has been delayed because of the ban. In 2006, the authorities also announced a lifting of the ban for the duration of the festival.

    The country's religious parties have traditionally opposed the festival for its supposedly Hindu origin, and have been demanding that it should be banned.

    Over the years, the Basant festival has drawn thousands of revellers to Lahore from all over the world.

    Even Indian movie stars have started participating in the festival which peaks with an all-night flood-lit kite-flying marathon on the eve of the festival.

    Pakistan's NWFP bans kite-flying
    04 Apr 06 |  South Asia
    Kite flyers arrested in Pakistan
    12 Mar 06 |  South Asia
    Pakistan province kite-flying ban
    10 Mar 06 |  South Asia
    Lahore's kite festival kicks off
    06 Feb 05 |  South Asia
    Kite deaths mar Pakistan festival
    15 Feb 04 |  South Asia
    Kite deaths spark ban in Lahore
    25 Jun 03 |  South Asia
    Pakistan tackles killer kites
    10 Jun 03 |  South Asia

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