ISLAMABAD, April 20: Senior writers, poets, intellectuals and a large number of citizens on Saturday visited the Pak-China Friendship Centre to participate in National Book Day celebrations organised by National Book Foundation (NBF).
Hosting 124 stalls, the venue has been decorated with colourful banners and hoardings with slogans of “Back to Book” and “Read for Life” to attract visitors especially children. Three day celebrations will continue by Monday (April 22).
Intazar Hussain who has been recently chosen as one of the nominees of the Man Booker Prize 2013, final list, was the first to arrive. He was presented ‘Basti’ his masterpiece by a smartly dressed school girl.
Likewise, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Assad Mohammad Khan, Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi, Turkish scholar Dr Durmush Bilger, Urdu scholar of Chinese origin Dr Tang Mengsheng, Ahmed Aqeel Rubi, Mehmood Sham and Javed Jabbar were given “book present” by the children.
For the children a mobile library was set up by the Bright Star Mobile Library (BSML) project.
They offered the children books to read on the spot and issued them library cards. Gogi cartoons were another attraction for the children.
A large number of people including youth and families turned up at the Authors Book Reading Festival. At the authors’ festival Intezar Hussain, read excerpts from Basti, Assad Mohammad Khan Jo Khaniyan Likheen, Ahmed Aqeel Rubi from Ilm-o-Adab ke Memaar, Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi from Majmooaa, Mehmood Sham from Manzelin and Asim Butt from Kafka Kahanyan.
Noted TV artist Qavi Khan read excerpts from Saadat Hasan Manto’s short stories on this occasion.
Talking to the media, Managing Director National Book Foundation, Mazhar-ul-Islam said it was the consecutive fourth national day dedicated to book.
The government has declared April 22 as the National Book Day and the NBF in recognition of that has decided to organise various programmes to generate awareness among the people, especially youth about the significance of the book reading.
A student of class seventh Rashida Tayyeb said that she purchased ‘fairy tales’ as they were being sold on discounted rates.
“Event of book anthem was most interesting. Besides, I and my brother had fun on escalators,” she said.
Shafeequr Rehman, owner of Book Corner Jhelum while talking to Dawn said that he paid Rs20,000 for the allotment of stall for three days but it seems NBF has not done proper advertisement due to which response was a bit poor.
“I have offered 50 per cent discount but visitors are less as compared to expo and other events held in Punjab University,” he said.
“Any how that kind of events should be arranged because only that is how we can attract people and encourage them that they should read books,” he said.
Secretary NBF Aftab Soomro claimed that according to his estimate over 10,000 persons visited the event and number of visitors will further increase on second and third day of the event.