Tag Archives: officials

Pakistan’s cultural capital loses kite festival to violence, political turmoil

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan’s political turmoil and violence have claimed a high-profile cultural victim -a centuries-old kite-flying festival that draws thousands of visitors.

The Basant festival brings a springtime buzz to eastern Pakistan and its regional capital, Lahore. Officials usually relax a ban on the pastime — imposed to prevent abandoned strings that are often covered with crushed glass from slitting people’s throats.

But the festival has been canceled this year amid tensions spawned by terrorist attacks and the country’s rocky return to democracy after years of military rule.

Sohail Janjua, a city government spokesman, said the festival was first postponed due to national mourning for assassinated ex-leader Benazir Bhutto, then because of Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

Lahore has suffered three suicide attacks since, including two that killed 27 people on March 11, resulting in increased concerns about security.

“How can we ignore the deaths of innocent people to celebrate anything?” Janjua said.

In the past, the city’s youth have sent thousands of brightly colored kites into the sky during the festival, held on a weekend in February or March. Basant means yellow in Hindi, a reference to the mustard flowers that blossom in the region in early spring.

Crowds of Lahoris typically clamber onto rooftops to watch. Well-heeled guests from around the country and beyond pack city hotels for a few days of late-night festivities. Continue reading

No parking plaza constructed in seven years in Lahore

I remember that the former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was concerned about the state of traffic congestion and inadequate parking. Well, this report from the Daily Times should be enough to provide the incoming government, most likely to be a PML-N coalition, to put this in the urgent priority list for improving the glorious Lahore… (RR)

By Muzaffar Ali

LAHORE: Despite tall claims, the city government and the Punjab government have failed to construct a single parking lot in the city to reduce the growing traffic problems, said All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) General Secretary Abdur Razzaq on Wednesday.

The officials in the city government blamed the Punjab government for not releasing funds for the purpose. After this, both governments have been asking traders to build parking lots. The APAT asked the Punjab government in 2007 to lease out 14 places for 100 years and said the organisation itself would build parking lots. The APAT general secretary said the Punjab government, however, failed to provide places in this regard. Continue reading