KARACHI - The five-day long Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) 2017, organised in collaboration with Pakistan Publishers and Book Sellers’ Association and National Book Foundation, concluded here at the Expo Centre on Monday.

KIBF 2017 organisers said that record number of book-lovers, more than six million, visited the Expo Centre this year compared to five million in the previous year. Prominent figures, belonging to different backgrounds such as political, social, education, art and literature also visited venue of the event.

KIBF Chairman Aziz Khalid, while addressing the media persons, said that the 13th Edition of Karachi International Book Fair had changed the locals’ perception about such events, and it would not be wrong to term it an educational fair.

Khalid said that KIBF had played a vital role in the promotion of reading culture. While giving the statistics, he revealed that this time the bestsellers were related to educational subjects followed by religious publications.

While answering a question about participation of publishers from other parts of Pakistan, Khalid said that most of the publishers who participated in the event belonged to Karachi. “However, a few publishers from Jhelum and Hyderabad were also present alongside the international publishers,” he clarified.

Revealing the future plans, the chairman said that a literary festival would also be part of the next edition of the event to which renowned poets and writers will be invited from across the country.

Coordinator Shaikh Alamgir Yousuf said that people’s participation on the fifth and last day in great numbers was admirable since it was a working day.

He wished that attendees would remember the mega event for years. Alamgir said that prominent personalities, who visited the fair, unanimously admitted that KIBF had bettered the image of Pakistan, especially of Karachi internationally and they urged continuity of such positive events.

Giving further details, the event coordinator said that the event was participated by renowned book publishers from Iran, India, Turkey, Singapore, China, Malaysia, United Kingdom (UK) and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Speaking on the occasion, Faisal Sabzwari recalled his childhood days, saying that he was a reader of Naunehal, but now he usually preferred books on politics.

Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal was seen standing at Paramount Publishers’ stall during the event where he read and purchased Ruth Pfau’s book. Talking to media, Kamal said that he had made full efforts to promote book reading culture when he was mayor of Karachi.

He expressed the desire to continue to promote such activities in future also.

Eminent figures, belonging to different walks of life, who visited the international book fair, included Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar, MQM-P’s Faisal Sabzwari, MNA Shaikh Salahuddin, Rabita Committee member Aminul Haq, Dr Adeeb Rizvi, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) senior leader Dr Hussain Mehenti, JI Karachi Chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal, poet and author Seher Ansari, senior journalist Mehmood Sham, Qazi Asad Abid, Mujahid Barelvi, Nawai Waqt resident editor Saeed Khawar, Nasira Zuberi of Aaj TV as well as a large number of journalists, representatives of educational and social associations.

Welcome Book Port Director Asghar Zaidi said that the highest number of visitors had increased the morale of publishers. He vowed to organise curricular activities besides introducing modern educational trends in future also.

While talking to our correspondent, different visitors expressed desire for holding such educational events twice a year.

A visitor said that importance of books could never diminish even in the modern era of internet and WhatsApp. And the crowded event was definitely the proof of that.

According to the administration, students of more than 45 educational institutions attended the event on the last day of KIBF, which led to overall figures of the institutions’ participation more than 100 till its conclusion.

It is noteworthy here that it was the 13th (Thirteenth) edition of the book fair held in the metropolis at which 330 stalls were set up.