Saturday April 13, 2024

Libraries symbolise progress of civilisation, says Dr Alvi

By News Desk
March 04, 2024
President Dr. Arif Alvi addresses the 1st Karachi Festival of Books and Libraries on March 2, 2024. — APP
 President Dr. Arif Alvi addresses the 1st Karachi Festival of Books and Libraries on March 2, 2024. — APP

Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi inaugurated the Karachi Festival of Books & Libraries (KFBL), the first-ever event of its kind to be held in Pakistan, in a graceful event at the Sindh Governor House on Saturday.

A large number of librarians, academics, scholars, authors and designers attended the one-hour inauguration and recognition ceremony of the KFBL, being produced by Jumbo Publishing in collaboration with the English-Speaking Union of Pakistan, with technical assistance being provided by the Karachi Library Association (KLA).

Dr Alvi, the chief guest, bestowed Lifetime Achievement Recognition mementoes upon the famed quintet of Abdul Qadir Qureshi (Journalism), Iqbal Saleh Muhammad (Publishing & Bookselling), Syed Ahmed Naqvi (Librarianship), AG Khalid (Graphic Designing) and Ehsan Qureshi (Sports Authorship), besides presenting shields to Aziz Memon, Jahangir Moghul, Syed Khalid Mahmood and Khalid Mumtaz Ansari in recognition of their library activism.

KLA founders Prof Farheen Mahmood, Prof Shama Bano, Prof Bushra Roohi, Prof Syed Munawwar Ali, Prof Amir Subhani, Nasir Mustafa, Wajid Ali Chandio, Ali Asghar Dars, Rehana Sadiq, Farzana Zafar and Muhammad Younus Hashmi received mementoes from the president for their overwhelming contributions to librarianship.

Dr Alvi lauded the initiative of holding the KFBL at a time when the nation is moving towards undertaking new challenges in the age of digital technology and artificial intelligence. “We needed such a mega event with a focus on libraries to bring people towards books. There’s no doubt about it that libraries symbolise the progress of civilisation,” he pointed out.

“Therefore, libraries need to be preserved, protected, promoted, developed, redeveloped and reshaped. As all of you know, there are multiple benefits of reading books, which can be most conveniently done by visiting libraries,” he remarked.

“The KFBL can help fill this vacuum as they plan to make sustainable efforts in this direction. The creation of awareness about libraries among the masses will enable a larger pool of people to utilise the facilities, and students and professionals in particular will get the opportunity to sharpen their skills by visiting libraries.”

The president talked about the much-needed efforts for digitalisation of content in order to reach a wider audience as well as attract the younger generation, who are more inclined to read on their own gadgets.

KFBL co-founders Aziz Memon and Syed Khalid Mahmood also spoke on the occasion, along with Past District Governor of Rotary International Jahangir Moghul and KLA President Prof Farheen Mahmood.

The citations of the five recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Recognition were also declared on the occasion. The career of Abdul Qadir Qureshi as a working journalist spanned well over half a century. He made the national news agency of the country, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), proud by filing a record number of stories.

He is now heading a private news agency, the Pakistan News & Features Services, while he has been the chief editor of the Jumbo Karachi Guide since its inception. He has done a commendable job by making Karachi’s first-ever comprehensive travel guide a real historic document.

Iqbal Saleh Muhammad was credited to have added enormous value to the profession of publishing & bookselling with his creativity, visionary approach and professional management. Paramount Books, established in 1948 by his father as a small bookshop selling second-hand books, has become a market leader under his dynamic leadership.

His company has played a pivotal role in the educational development of Pakistan, gaining a reputation for excellence at home and abroad. Education and learning have remained very dear to his heart. He has endeavoured to cultivate a literate society where education is accessible to every individual.

AG Khalid has been hailed as the guru for majority of the graphic designers in the present generation in Pakistan. Many of the saplings planted by him have grown into gigantic trees. Most of his own creative designs have stood the test of time. He surely is the living legend of the communication, design & graphic industry.

He is acclaimed to be the first person to have gained command in technology in Pakistan, then he passed on the skills to his contemporaries and students. He founded the graphic department in some of the most prestigious media organisations to be regarded as the trendsetter in the world of arts & design.

Although Syed Ahmed Naqvi started his career as a teacher of chemistry at the Cadet College Petaro, he quickly turned towards the profession of librarianship where he proved his mettle from the outset.

During his long stint as chief librarian at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, he led and groomed a team of capable librarians. An enlightened and highly educated person, he has acquired knowledge of numerous fields. He is a proficient speaker who has been gifted with the rare ability of convincing others with powerful references.

Ehsan Qureshi, a familiar figure in sports circles, particularly cricket, has lately been proactive on digital media with analyses, comments and narratives. He, however, has come this far because of his writing skills which he possessed from a very young age.

Besides pursuing a career as a sports reporter at APP, which took him to many Olympic Games, Asian Games and World Cups, he rose to fame by setting a trend of authoring books to document such historic events. He has authored a dozen books on sports, thus immortalising himself.