ISLAMABAD - All is set for 5-day Qaumi Kitab Mela (national book festival) organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) beginning today (Monday).Chairman PAL Abdul Hameed while addressing a press conference on Sunday highlighted various programmes including exhibition of books, mushairas, folk music and seminars planned in this regard. He said it is a deplorable fact that the culture of book reading is deteriorating day-by-day in the society and the prices of books are getting higher unduly broadening gap between readers and reading material. People’s distance with book and reading is one of the main causes of uncivilised behaviours and extremist thinking patterns prevailed in the society. It is the need of time to promote book culture and help the book market flourish to tackle violent fundamentalism. PAL has a tradition of arranging national book fairs since last some years. This year the national book festival will start on 16th April and will go on till 20 April 2012. A large number of publishers from all over the country will participate in the fair and display their books.He further added that to make participation of readers in the book fair exclusive PAL has particularly invited people from various walks of life and different age groups, and also requested universities, colleges & schools to encourage students to attend this five-day activity. Along with publishers some leading NGO’s will also set up their stalls in the book fair to avail the opportunity to reach a large gathering of educated public from all age groups under one roof.He said, the book fair gives not only readers a chance to buy books on cheep/concessional prices but also provide the publishes with an opportunity to directly get aware of readers’ demands and trends.The Chairman, PAL Abdul Hameed, announced the schedule of the activities during the five day national book fair which includes 16 April, 2012, at 11:00 A.M, Opening Ceremony Federal Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira will inaugurate the event. On 17 April, 2012 at 4:00 pm, Mushaira, Tauseef Tabassum will preside the event while Sajjad Babar from Peshawar and Sultan Sakoon from Abbotabad will be the chief guests. On 18 April, 2012 at 4:00 P.M:Folk Music with collaboration of Punjabi Adabi Parchar: Ghulam Shabbir from Chiniot Irfanullah Sagir  from Multan, Kamran Essa Khailivi from Mianwali and Muhammad Imran (violinist) will perform. On 19 April, 2012 at 4:00 pm:Mushira (Poems recitation): Aftab Iqbal Shamim will preside the event while Dr. Ishan Akbar & SarwatMohayyudin will be the chief guests.On 20 April, 2012 at 11:00 am: Closing ceremony, Federal Minister forMinistry of National Heritage & Integration, Samina Khalid Ghurki will be the chief guest of this ceremony and will also distribute certificates to the publishers. Seminar on “Book, Writer and Publisher” in collaboration with Halqa-e-Arbab Zauq. Secretary, Ministry of National Heritage & Integration, Asif Ghafoor will preside the event and Masood Mufti will be the chief guest. A special activity with the title Gosha-i-Musannaf (Author’s Corner) is also scheduled to be arranged during the fair. We have invited major writers and poets both from older and younger generations to appear in the corner & talk about their work to the readers and students. This is a consecutive activity, which will go on for the whole five days.