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Kite Flying: A Potential Threat to Human Life

OpinionKite Flying: A Potential Threat to Human Life
By: Dr. Muhammad Rizwan Bhatti

Kite flying is no longer an enjoyable leisure. It has become dangerous pastime. In the wake of the macabre incident of deaths in Faisalabad and Sargodha due to metal string, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz showed indignation and grief over the loss of precious lives. She further directed IGP Punjab Dr. Usman Anwar to apprehend the criminals involved in the dangerous sport. Though, Faisalabad Police, under the perspicacious command of RPO Dr. Muhammad Abid Khan arrested the five accused in the case of deceased Asif Ashfaq through human intelligence and employing technical sources including monitoring of more than 37 cameras. Kite flying has been prohibited through the Punjab prohibition of dangerous Kite flying activities ordinance 2001, due to increasing death and injuries.

 The disadvantages of kite flying have transcended the spirit of pleasant sport. Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif has shown determination to end this deadly activity that once was celebrated with great fanfare. The Casualities caused by Kite flying have accrued noisome and horrible impact on society. As per reports, kite flying has claimed 3 precious lives in the last two months and injured dozens of people which is really gruesome figure.

Undoubtedly, the fatalities due to kite flying are colossal failure of governance. As kite flying was prohibited firstly in 2005 due to its worst impacts on society. After banning in 2005, two time permission was given for kite flying but again blanket ban was  imposed in 2009. Legal regime is crystal clear as the violators will get six month imprisonment with fine up to one Lac rupees.

Earlier, kite flying was the celebration of arrival of spring season. It was festivity marking the gathering of relatives and friends. It also promoted the tourism as the guest used to visit Pakistan to enjoy the Besant festival. But, with time, fun sport took the form of blood sport.

Greed overpowers the pleasant sport. To get more profit, the manufacturers started using metal strings to augment the enthusiasm and rivalry during kite flying. Aerial firing has become the permanent feature of Basanat. Children run after stray kites that cause accidents. The usage of metallic string has increased the ratio of electrocution. The scenario is really horrible. Furthermore, the usage of Nylon and plastic Manja, Chemical string, prominently, kite Manja coated with cotton thread with a mix of glue and crushed glass are redoubtable mixture which causes death of commuters, because of this deadly mixture make the thread unbreakable that cut the neck of innocent riders.

In view of the precious loss of life in Faisalabad, RPO Dr. Muhammad Abid Khan took the judicious decision to adopt zero-tolerance policy against the kite flying violators. As per data, Faisalabad region police registered 2710 cases and arrested 2715 accused including vendors and manufacturers. As many as 254321 kites and 7214 bundle of kite strings were seized. Likewise, the massive crackdown is ongoing across the province.

As the kite flying is prohibited. Therefore, there is a dire need to curb this menace with iron hands. Simply, banning kite flying is not a perfect solution as people resort to surreptitious and stealthy kite flying and manufacturing practices. Moreover, the community is insensitive to the perils of kite flying. Given the grim situation, it has become necessary to eradicate this nasty practice by using all possible measures. No one can gainsay the fact that human life is most precious and no compromise can be done at the cost of human life.

Banning kite-flying requires whole of society approach. The community should play its pro-active role in the eradication of this menace. The campaign should include but not limited to conduct awareness seminars, walks and exercising of dialogue at academic institutions to sensitize students and community about the hazards of kite flying.  Pamphlets and awareness books should be distributed among citizens and students. People can also be educated through announcements on electronic, print and social media about the potential tragedies of this fun sport. The punishment of kite flying offence is not enough. So, punishment should be enhanced keeping in view the role of violators. There should be commensurate punishments for manufacturers, vendors and kite flyers. Police require stringent measures to curb the manufacturing, transportation, dispatching, vending, and flying of kites.

However, in order to escape arrests, people are now involved in online sale of Manja string and kites. So, police should monitor online sale sites to identify the culprits and apprehend the accused involved in deadly business. Moreover, police should take words from courier services, and transporters to not cater the delivery relates to kites and chemical string.

Given the grievous hurt and death caused by kite flying, it is an undeniable fact that it is no longer a recreational activity. Though some segment of society views that there should be some relaxation for safe kite flying keeping the sentiment and enthusiasm of people rather having a broad prohibition of kite flying. But, the perils are galore. Kite flying is not only dangerous for people but also for birds and other animals. The responsible must be taken to task and crackdown against the violators must be sustained and culminated to the logical end.

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