I WAS quite surprised after reading Nadeem F. Paracha’s inaccurate and exaggerated account of the Karachi International Book Fair (Images, Dec 16).

This particular book fair was one of the healthiest events to happen in Karachi, and the city needs more of such activities. Books of all genre and topics were available under one roof and, yes, religion was also one of those topics and it’s true that one hall was devoted to religious books.

But Mr Paracha completely failed to mention the amazing variety of fiction and nonfiction titles available from writers all over the world in the other two halls.

The crowd that was visiting the book fair comprised not only Arabic-chanting mullahs, but avid readers from all over the city, schoolchildren, parents with their families, and the sheer love of reading could be felt in the atmosphere.

It is pretty obvious that the writer is just exaggerating the presence of religious books to create some controversy and to stir the drawing activists who want to blame the mullahs for all the failures of this country.

I myself am no pro-mullah, but yes a reader I am and the Karachi International Book Fair is one of the best places for a reader to be.

ZAINAB GHANI BALAGAM Karachi

Updated Dec 22, 2012 11:05pm

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Comments (1) (Closed)


Kamal Hussain
Dec 23, 2012 05:54pm
Nadeem F. Paracha, like many liberals in Pakistan, blames all the ills in that country on mullahs and Islam. He used his 'review' of the Karachi Book Fair to propagate his prejudiced views. Mr. Paracha stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that religion is only a part of the problems in Pakistan. The problems in Pakistan, like in any other Third World country, stems from festering social-political-economic issues exacerbated by bad governance and rampant corruption. However, Mr. Paracha calls this a "lazy explanation" citing a number of well-educated extremists born in middle-class families in Western countries; he does not realize that young, educated Muslims in Western countries are dealing with completely different set of social problems there.