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BAHAWALPUR: The two-day Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) kicked off with colourful programmes at the Library Complex here on Saturday. The historic library’s majestic building stood illuminated at night adding to the grandeur of the festival.

The district administration organised the festival that coincides with the Universal Children’s Day on Nov 20 (today) in collaboration with Oxford University Press (OUP) and Idara-i-Taleem-o-Agahi.

The inaugural function that attracted a large crowd was marked with a bhangra performance. CLF anthem ‘Hamain Kitab Chahiye’ written by Zehra Nigah was rendered by schoolchildren. National song ‘Hamara parcham’ was performed by students of a government school for the visually impaired, and a performance highlighting society’s ills was also staged. Students of Daniel and Model Town A schools presented a special performance on ‘Bol Ke Lab Azad Hain Tere’.

OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid lauded the district administration’s efforts to arrange the CLF on a large scale here. She said OUP was trying to promote book-reading among children and exhorted them to divert their attention towards it, which would help expose their hidden capabilities. She announced that the next Karachi Literary Festival would be held from Feb10 to 12, 2017, while for the first time the festival would be held in London on May 20, 2017.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Dr Ehtesham Anwar Mahar said that as part of its endeavours to make Bahawalpur a vibrant city and grant it the place it deserved among big cities, the district administration had arranged the CLF for the first time.

He said the government would be suggested to own this festival on official level for motivating children to adopt the habit of reading books.

CLF founder and Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi adviser, Baela Raza Jamil, asked teachers and parents to urge their children to read books as children possessed a lot of talent and qualities.

Chief guest, Provincial Archives Secretary Ahmad Raza Sarwar, while acknowledging the services of the district administration for the cause of inculcating a spirit of writing among children underlined the need to strengthen the role of public libraries for the sake of children.

Published in Dawn November 20th, 2016