Islamabad - Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui on Saturday announced to establish ‘Shehr-e-Kitab’ in other cities as well to promote book reading culture among the youth.

He was speaking during inauguration ceremony of Book Cafe and Reading Room at ‘Shehr-e-Kitab’ established by National Book Foundation at F-7 Markaz. He said that the government was taking several initiatives to promote book reading culture among the citizens, however; parents also must play their role to build a strong relation of their children with books.

The Shehr-e-Kitab, consisting over 30 stalls, was launched by the NBF in 2016 to promote book reading culture through providing books on diversified subjects, academic books and educational material on discounted rates. The facilities of Book Cafe and Reading Room at Shehr-e-Kitab will be a gift for the youth of capital, Siddiqui said. Shehr-e-Kitab after addition of these two facilities will prove as more attractive and effective for the local dwellers, he added.

The book-friendly initiative of Shehr-e-Kitab received overwhelming response from the local visitors during the span of two years, he observed. Siddiqui said that it was a matter of satisfaction that books were being published, sold and studied in a large number during the present era of digitalisation.

The books worth Rs 27 million were sold out at the small showroom of the NBF in Lahore last year. The central showroom of NBF in Islamabad sells books worth around Rs60 million every year.

The sale point of NBF in Peshawar sold out books worth Rs 35 million last year, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Romina Khurshid Alam appreciated the efforts of NH&LH division under the leadership of Irfan Siddiqui for promoting book culture. She said that promotion of book reading culture is indispensable for creating a peaceful society.

Chairman National Vocational and Technical Training Commision (NAVTTC) Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema said that connection of youth with books was vital to maintain balance in society. Promotion of book reading culture discourages intolerance and imbalanced attitudes, he said. Managing Director NBF, Dr Inam ul Haq Javed said quality food on discounted rates would be provided to the readers at Book Cafe. Addition of new facilities at Shehr-e-Kitab would attract more visitors, he hoped.

Earlier,  Siddiqui formally inaugurated the facilities of Book Cafe and Reading Room. A number of officials, diplomats and prominent social activist Dr Jamal Nasir were also present on the occasion.