“Basically, the CM is not interested. Otherwise, it’s no big deal. Period. Kamran Lashari has said it on record that everyone in the [Basant] Committee had okayed everything. The Kite-flying Association people were saying they had regulated the dor size, removed the charkhi, etc. Everything was ready but just one person did not want it. So it wouldn’t take place. It is one person versus 10 million people of Lahore. I don’t know if that guy is scared of maulvis, or it’s about his ego. I am sure the guy has no vision. And he does not care that people are dying because they have been put out of work. The ustads are waiting tables.
“And they say that they cannot control the dor? How ridiculous! This whole ‘killer dor’ argument is nonsense. I mean, to think that our bureaucracy and state machinery cannot control a dor? They get out of government, then.
“Kamran Lashari, who is more of an insider, defines it as ‘extremism versus liberalism’. I am not sure about this, because for a politician it’s more about winning an election. It might be that the CM does not want to alienate religious groups. Even the PML-N’s own people, those at the councilor’s level, especially in the Walled City, were very clear till two or three months ago that basant was happening, because they’d need it for elections. The political people know that it’s a popular issue, it’ll help them in winning an election.
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“The biggest blame I’d put on the opposition parties. I believe the PTI and the PPP should be thrashed; this is the issue they should have taken a stand on.
“I went to a protest demonstration last Sunday, in front of the Lahore Press Club, and the people had showed up from places as far off as Bahria Town. I was told about another protest happening at Lakshmi, where there were hundreds of people, most of them middle-aged people, in their 40s and 50s. We are talking about economics, we’re talking about countering radicalisation and changing the mood of the place, and we are talking about heritage.
“I don’t want to bring in the State, because State, which was part of the Committee, was clear that it could do it. Either Shahbaz Sharif is a mullah or he is afraid of the mullahs, or else he is incompetent. If someone wants to argue with me on this, there’s no other issue on basant.”
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