With 47 people injured and 450 arrested as a result of the outlawed Basant celebrations in Rawalpindi, these incidents throughout the years have made it abundantly clear that the ban on Basant is not working. This time, string cuts were not only to blame; in fact, celebratory firing looks to be the major culprit.

Instead of banning a major cultural event that can be potentially used as a major tourist trap, perhaps the government should try a different tack when forbidding all kite flying is not working. A multi-faceted solution is needed to both minimise injuries and allow for this to become a yearly source of revenue for the government and the general public as well.

Restricting kite-flying to designated spaces must be the first step in slowly bringing Basant back to Pakistan. Open parks would be the best for an activity of this sort. Flying kites from buildings or the tops of houses in busy city centres is an unmitigated disaster if allowed to continue unchecked. The government can help cater to the peoples’ desire while ensuring that no lives are lost. Regulating the twine used in Basant is also something the government must manage. Perhaps the best way to do this would be to provide it onsite, making sure that wires cut with glass and potentially dangerous chemicals are not proliferated. Quite obviously, a strict ban on aerial firing is necessary regardless of whether Basant is celebrated or not. Too often have we seen reports of innocent bystanders injured by stray bullets. This must not be allowed to happen.

The ongoing edition of PSL is indicative of the success we can have in promoting events seasonally. The inflow of potential revenue from such occasions is too high to be just ignored. Basant can be a well-managed annual festival that draws in tourists from all over the world, or it can be an unregulated and hazardous activity that causes problems for us on a yearly basis. It is up to the government to choose the best option.