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Third World fun

11 die in Pakistan kite festival

At least 11 people have died and more than 100 injured at an annual kite flying festival in eastern Pakistan. The spring festival is traditionally celebrated with the flying of thousands of colourful kites.

The deaths and injuries were caused by stray bullets, sharpened kite-strings, electrocution and people falling off rooftops at the conclusion of the two-day Basant festival on Sunday, Ruqia Bano, spokeswoman for the emergency services in the city of Lahore, said on Monday.

The festival is regularly marred by casualties caused by sharp kite strings or celebratory gunshots fired into the air. Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cross and cut a rival's string or damage the other kite, often after betting on the outcome.

Authorities temporarily lifted a ban on kite-flying that was imposed following a string of deaths at the festival last year. Mian Amier Mahmood, the Lahore mayor, said the two-day permission to fly kites ended on Sunday and that the ban had been re-imposed.

Police arrested more than 700 people for using sharpened kite strings or firing guns, and seized 282 illegally held weapons during this year's festival, said Aftab Cheema, a senior police officer in Lahore. [Al-Jazeera]


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
stray bullets, sharpened kite-strings, electrocution and people falling off rooftops

Holy shit. My initial thought was something along the lines of The Wasp Factory. That now seems an innocent, naive assumption.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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