Youth gives Karachi International Book Fair a dazzling start

Published December 9, 2022
People browse through books at a stall at the Expo Centre during the international exhibition on Thursday.
—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
People browse through books at a stall at the Expo Centre during the international exhibition on Thursday. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The 17th five-day Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) organised by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) and the National Book Foundation (NBF) opened at the Expo Centre on Thursday afternoon.

Delivering the welcome address on the occasion, the chairman of the PPBA, Aziz Khalid, said even before the formal inauguration of the event, children had already inaugurated it by being at the venue since 10am. When he arrived at the Expo Centre in the morning he saw 50 buses parked coming in. Students from all across Sindh were there. They proved the fact that the book reading culture had taken root.

He added that he’d been trying to get publishers from abroad involved in the fair and had once signed something to that effect in Frankfurt but unfortunately former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was martyred that year. This year, a British publisher — Hodder — is part of the event.

Charlie, representing Hodder (the announcer did not announce her full name), said she’s happy to be in Pakistan and the hospitality that she’s received in Karachi was unparalleled.

A large number of schoolchildren visit the fair on first day

Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah inaugurated the book fair.

Mehtab Akbar Rashdi was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony.

She said the last two to three years affected by the Covid pandemic had changed peoples’ lives. We lost people who were very close to us at a time when they needed us the most. But in those difficult days, if the one thing that remained with us (agar kisi ne saath diya tauwo kitab hai) was books. Touching them would freshen our breaths, reading them would increase the light in our eyes and our souls would be filled with courage and optimism. “[Now] in this last month of 2022 we find ourselves amidst books.”

She, emphasising the importance of reading, gave the religious reference of the word iqra.

She added, “You can’t be alone if you’re accompanied by a book, you have an entire universe with you. Those who befriend books immediately realise that no matter what part of the world they’re in, the information gleaned from a book connects you with the rest of the world. Reading expands the imagination of the reader. Every book’s subject differs from the other. Every reader reads books as per his/her interests… Book reading enhance the confidence of the reader. A reader of good books becomes mentally and emotionally strong.”

Education Minister Sardar Shah and others also spoke.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022

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