By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The 15th Karachi International Book Fair 2019 got underway at the Karachi Expo Centre on a hazy morning of December 5 but there was plenty of action inside the three gigantic halls, attracting a large number of people. The event will continue until December 9.
Having been launched in 2005, it has gone on to become an important cultural event of the city. The 15th KIBF 2019 was inaugurated by the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, whose speech on the occasion was telecast live by the various television channels.
His assurance that the provincial government would take every possible step to enhance reading habits across the province was viewed with skepticism because of the dubious record of the various governmental organizations working under his command.
The Chief Minister, however, was spot on while having observed the gradual decline in reading the habit among younger generations which indeed was reflected, as pointed out by him, that there was hardly any youngster attending the ceremony itself which he was addressing.
He reckoned that efforts be made to revive our old culture of finding best books in the shelves of libraries, in the corners of bookstores, on the push-carts and footpaths.
He even correctly recalled the name of the then librarian (Habib Saheb) of the 1980s at the NED University who worked very efficiently with his team to facilitate the students.
The Chief Minister didn't mince words in declaring that he still derived more pleasure and satisfaction by reading a hard copy rather than its soft copy despite the availability of all kinds of modern gadgets like Ipads, laptops and tablets.