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Qirat, Naat contest at NPC ends on high note

Islamabad : The National Press Club (NPC) Islamabad’s three-day virtual Qirat and Naat competition concluded on Tuesday night with a large number of children participating in the event, reciting Holy Quran and Naats in their sweet and touching voices.

The competition, a one-of-a-kind for journalists’ kids was part of NPC’s annual mega event, the Ramazan Family Festival. Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and Overseas Pakistanis Global Foundation (OPGF) collaborated with NPC to hold the event in a befitting manner.

The event was earlier scheduled to take place at the NPC lawn but owing to the COVID-19 lockdown, it held via Zoom.

Former NPC president Afzal Butt, who acted as the moderator during the entire programme said that around 400 children of working journalists aged between 4-16 years participated in the competition.

“We tried our best to involve our every member’s family. Some members could not participate as they are not familiar with Zoom. But, all in all, the turnout for the event is quite encouraging,” he said.

“The most exciting element of this virtual competition is that we actually had guests from Europe, America and other countries, who attended the programme with us throughout these days. That could not have happened under the normal circumstances,” he added.

Butt, who is also former President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) commended NPC President Shakeel Anjam, Secretary NPC Anwar Raza, RIUJ President Aamir Sajjad Syed, RIUJ Acting General Secretary Tariq Ali Virk for putting in all their efforts to make the event a real success.

The winner of each Qirat and Naat contest took home a cash prize of Rs15,000, the runner-up got Rs10,000, while the third position-holder pocketed Rs5000.

The club also gave away Rs1000 as ‘Eidi’ to each participating kid. The amount was sent to them via the Easypaisa accounts of their parents.

President NPC Shakeel Anjam said that the club was considering holding similar events in the coming days. “Initially, it was looking quite a challenging task as we had to scramble on a new path. But the programme has been a great success. “I’m sure our successful experience will help others as to how to adapt to the uncertain future,” he reckoned.

NPC Secretary Anwar Raza in his remarks said: “We’ve been holding the festival every year on regular basis, but this year’s programme is unique and the one that our children will remember forever.”

OPGF’s USA-based Chairman Mehar Zaheer Akhtar said that it was very important try to continue such programmes for children during the shutdown period.

Chairman Women Chapter of OPGF Tahira Din, who is also USA-based thanked the NPC management for taking them along during the entire event. Tahira also announced special prizes for the position-holders of the competition.

Among others, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib, renowned Quran reciter, Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali and prominent ‘Naat Khawans’, Qari Shahid Mehmood, Shehzad Madni and Noor Mohammad Jaral also attended the programme.