Since the days of independence up till the 1970s, Karachi was known for its libraries and bookshops that comprised of new and old books . However, as the city has experienced a growth in new bookstores in the last decade or so, the availability of old books has been compromised. There was a time when Karachi’s Urdu Bazaar was touted as the hub of old books . From Ibn Safi’s works to Manto’s stories, everything could be found in the bazaar. The rise of the internet proved harmful for this industry. The books that were once hosted at Khori Garden were now available, at a nominal charge, on the world wide web. 

Fortunately, two bookshops, one at Boating Basin and the other in Clifton, have survived. As time passes, and hardcovers and paperbacks experience a decline in their popularity, no one knows how long can these bookshops survive. 

It hope that the Education Minister of Pakistan takes notice of this situation and takes appropriate measures. Old books are still a source of invaluable knowledge. The restoration of these books must happen under the supervision of educational experts. 

ZEESHAN NASIR, 

Turbat, September 28.