Weekday Squib: Kites and terrorism

One law to stop them all

Judging from media reports, it does appear that irresponsible, even purposely malicious kite-flying poses a threat to public safety in Pakistan’s Punjab province. It is also a traditional and popular pastime. But it has been seen to be enough of a public danger for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to ban it and for the provincial government to relax it through new legislation.

What’s this got to do with fighting terrorism? Well, just that the province’s chief minister has announced that offenders of kite-flying rules will be charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act. While that may or may not deter kite-flyers, it risks further devaluing the criminality of terrorism. Unless, of course, a Freakonomics-like effect occurs and real terrorists give up terrorism after being belittled in this manner.