Thousands of books being offered on discounted rates; visitors meet NBF book ambassadors, take autographs

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Mega book event kicks off at Pak-China Friendship Centre

President inaugurates National Book Day

Zubair Qureshi

President Mamnoon Hussain Friday inaugurated the four-day National Book Day organized by the National Book Foundation at the Pak-China Friendship centre. Since the government had declared countrywide solidarity with Kashmiris on April 6, President Mamnoon in his inaugural address also spoke for the plight of the Kashmiri people being persecuted by the occupying Indian forces in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and strongly condemned the ongoing violence against innocent Kashmiris by the Indian occupation forces. He said Pakistani nation stood with their Kashmiri brothers in their just struggle.
The President appealed to the international community to realize and play its part in putting an end to the gross human rights violations by the Indian forces.
About the National Book Day event, the President appreciated the NBF MD Dr Inamul Haq Javed and Adviser to PM Irfan Siddiqui for holding of the annual book exhibition. He said the endeavour to inculcate the habit of reading amongst the young and old was getting a good response. President Mamnoon Hussain who himself is a great bibliophile and keeps quoting from Daag Dehlvi and Mir’s poetry in his speeches off and on expressed his optimism that the writers, scholars, scientists and researchers would be encouraged by the National Book Day events.
The President said the National Book Foundation had come a long way since its inception and was playing its part in propagating the habit of book reading. He said the NBF was serving the nation with a missionary zeal by extending support to the publishers and writers in bringing to the market books on new subjects and raising knowledge base of the common man.
He particularly mentioned inclusion of books from China, Iran and Turkey this time at the NBF National Book Day event. This is a welcome sign and would help the people get a better understanding of these brotherly countries.
Books on literature, science, technology, current affairs, history, philosophy, travelogue, religion have been put on display and are being offered at surprisingly low prices.
Addressing on the occasion, Adviser to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddique said the government departments related to literary activities generally had a history of not coming up to the mark due to bureaucratic hurdles. However, he said that with concerted efforts the National Book Foundation had overcome such problems and was striving hard to achieve its objectives. He said despite being in government control, the National Book Foundation had come a long way and was playing its role in publishing new works of literature, science and technology and encouraging book reading activities.
He said there was a need amongst the teachers, parents and students to encourage the habit of book reading. He said there had been an encouraging response from the book readers in the country and the culture of reading was still alive. He said those publishers who bring out better quality of literature also need to be recognized for their endeavours.
He said last year, over 300,000 book lovers participated in the National Book Fair and books of private publishers worth Rs. 18 million were sold out which reflect peoples’ urge and love for books.
Irfan Siddiqui revealed that the Endowment Fund of Rs. 500 million created by the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has started generating funds which would be utilized for the welfare of writers’ community.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Secretary, NH&LH division, Engineer Aamir Hasan and Managing Director, NBF, Dr. Inam ul Haq Javed said NBF book outlets will also be opened in five new cities to provide books on discounted rates. They informed that NBF is also opening Kitab Ghar at Islamabad and Karachi Airports soon. This year, 132 book stalls have been established at the National Book Festival and 70 different colourful programmes will be held to entertain the book lovers.

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