KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Industries and Commerce Rauf Siddique has said that to trigger interest of knowledge seeking and memory building, which is getting dormant with the passage of time, more book fairs and exhibitions should be arranged. Talking at the inauguration ceremony of Karachi International book fair here on Friday, he said that reading habits provides "food for thought" because the knowledge and information acquired through reading was long lasting and was retained in the brain. Though the information technology has provided updated knowledge on all the subjects through internet, there is no substitute for the knowledge acquired from constant reading, he aid. He praised the organisers for arranging the book fair the fourth consecutive year. He also appreciated the wide range of books being displayed on various subjects that include arts, culture and heritage, music and drama, finance and economics, sports, science, politics and others. Guest of honour, the VC of Karachi University, Dr Peerzada Qasim, said, "The developed world has got knowledge based society, and hence their values are sustained. Those societies which are in the process of development, will have to rely on it otherwise a single prick will deflate the balloon of development. Now we have time to think or rethink to create a stronger bond between people and books." Iqbal Saleh Mohammad, convener of the fair, said, "The last Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH), had free prisoners of war on a condition that they should spread knowledge free of cost amongst the Muslims. This example give us an indication that 1400 years ago, knowledge wherever it came from was highly appreciated and it showed the respect even showered on Pagans who were informed individuals." He said, "In the 17th century when the Muslims of the subcontinent were busy constructing Taj Mahal, on the other hand the English were busy in establishing the Oxford University, a school of learning. Moreover, the most poignant shame that came to us was in the form of Halaku Khan who did burn down thousands of books in Baghdad, depriving the Muslims from scientific-technological discovery." Javed Akhtar, managing director National Book Foundation, Islamabad said, "Such book fairs must come to Lahore and Islamabad, as well." Niaz Ahmad Siddiqui, former IG police, Sindh said: "The first revelation that came from the sky was 'Read, Read and Read.' The book of Divine Revelation is one of the most referred book on earth and one can seek enlightenment through it. Books have led to great discovery and Muslim Renaissance brought enlightenment and led an end to dark ages in Europe, eventually. But sadly we are not accumulating knowledge nor disseminating. We should not develop a vulture in ourselves but a culture of knowledge amongst us." Later, the minister visited various stalls in the fair and was impressed by the keen interest shown by students and people from all walks of life in book fair. He assured the publishers and printers that the Sindh government would take measures to ensure that their printing and publishing costs are brought down so that they could provide low cost reading material to the public. The book fair will continue till December 30, 2008.