LAHORE - The ban on brutal Basant was flouted Friday in Kasur district, neighbouring Lahore – the bastion of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The Lahore cops reported to have caught 170 violators with seizure of 15,000 kites and 300 string spools in a swoop launched on February 19, a day after Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif fired two DSPs and four SHOs. The chief minister took the action after stray string claimed two lives in Faisalabad.

On Friday, the elite of Lalliani, a Kasur area, flew kites and fired aerial shots. Dance parties and other activities – a tradition of the elite – too continued in the area from where PML-N candidates were elected to the parliament.

Some prayer leaders also made appeals to bring the festival to a halt but to no avail. The celebrations raised question how Lalliani residents broke the law when the principal capital police were cracking down on deadly game players.

On March 16, 2012, the Supreme Court directed the Punjab government to strictly implement kite-flying prohibition law. A two-judge bench, comprising Justices Saqib Nisar and Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, passed the directives while hearing a suo moto notice taken in 2005 over the deaths due to the kite flying.

According to the kite flying prohibition law, the nazim of the concerned district may, through a notification issued with the prior approval of the government, allow kite flying and sale of kites for a period not exceeding more than fifteen days during the spring season in a year. Provided that manufacturing of kites and permissible kite flying material may be allowed for such period as the government may specify by a general or special order.

However, the law doesn’t allow aerial firing and chemical thread that killed several innocent people in the past.

Following the Faisalabad tragedy, the chief minister passed special directives to the Punjab IGP to adopt all preventive measures against kite flying and take stern action against the officers who ignore their duties. The IG was directed to lay hand on the violators without considering political affiliations or social statuses adding that police favouring violators would also be taken to task.

It has been decided that action would not be taken against kite flyers but owner of house. Sources say that the government is also mulling legislation to make kite flying exercise non-bailable offence as well as expeditious hearing of the relevant cases before the of law and to award exemplary punishment. Sources further say a committee of the Punjab parliamentarians is also being formed to monitor implementation of the ban.

Previously, the government had decided to allow kite flying in limited area of Changa Manga from February 21 to March 5 as part of the spring festivities but seeing through the fact that this activity was still not safe, it withdrew kite flying from its proceedings.

Now the government has started campaign against kite flying on much serious note particularly after Faisalabad and Lahore incidents. Sources say that the police may plant informers in the areas in Lahore and other parts where ban on kite flying is blatantly infringed.