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“If we sell basant properly, it has the potential to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry”

Mian Yousuf Salahuddin, socialite, former politician, philanthropist; member, CM Punjab’s Basant Committee

“If we sell basant properly, it has the potential to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry”
Mian Yousuf Salahuddin.

“This festival can be a game changer for Pakistan. That’s why I support it. I don’t support it because I am a great kite flier or because it is great fun. And I don’t support it because it’s a colourful festival that was enjoyed by people of all ages, all faiths and all classes. I strongly believe that if we plan it properly, this can be the biggest festival in all of Asia. And we can take it to an international level. So far, we haven’t had many international/foreign tourists over to Lahore [for basant]; we’ve only had Pakistanis coming in from abroad to celebrate it. Also, we haven’t tapped into the Indian market yet. We would receive over 70,000 applications from India every year, for basant. People wanted a two-day visa for Lahore.

“See, there’s no festival in the world where the entire city is in the streets. If we sell basant properly, it has the potential to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry.

“I believe 100 per cent deaths are caused by motorcycles. So, control the motorcycles! Just open basant for two days, and ban it for the rest of the year. Go on regulating the dor, the charkhi, et al. Once the government has made sure that the bad dor is completely eliminated, the ban on kite-flying should be lifted altogether.

“The people’s fascination for the sport isn’t going to die. There are reports of people flying kites in Faisalabad and in Islamabad as well. We have presented our proposals to the Committee. The police, for the first time, are with us; they even said they could manage it. I think the chief minister was very serious about planning basant but he was held back by the terrorist threats in the city.”

Read also: The kite’s the limit

 

Usman Ghafoor

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