Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dr Safdar Ali Shah’s Churches of Pakistan launched in Islamabad

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A coffee-table book, a first of its kind having 116 pages and nearly 300 pictures of different churches across the country titled ‘Churches of Pakistan’ was launched at Kuch Khaas, Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue, in Islamabad on March 29.

Dr Safdar Ali Shah has compiled the book in an effort to highlight the diversity of Pakistani culture and the role of religious minorities in its development. It highlights Pakistan’s tolerant nature towards the minorities.

It had taken the author more than a year to work with photographer Syed Javaid Kazi to travel all over Pakistan, take pictures, compile and publish the book. They also interacted with the locals to find out about the state of churches in Pakistan today.

“It was not by coincidence that the Christian community decided to join Pakistan, they had campaigned for a separate Pakistan along with the Muslims when the resolution was moved,” Dr Safdar Shah observed.

“It’s fascinating to see the architecture and design of the churches that just spoke for themselves, as Christianity in this part of the world was as old as Christianity in Europe,” he remarked.

“Some churches replicated the builders’ experiences back home with typical European gothic designs and stained glass especially imported for its construction, however. As the religion grew in Pakistan the locals started building churches with material which was available in their areas. An example of a church in Multan that resembled a Sufi shrine because it was made with marble and tiles produced there. Similarly, one can find churches made of wood in Nathiagali,” he explained.

“Having such unique architecture and historical significance there is an effort being made to put some of the churches on the list of heritage sites. Some buildings when visited were very well preserved whereas others were not so well kept due to lack of funding. Most of the buildings are very old and so huge that they cannot be maintained. Maintenance is an issue with some but not all. Majority are very well kept,” Dr Safdar Shah suggested.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Harry Potter books launched on Amazon Kindle

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There’s a breaking news for the bookworms as Amazon has announced that the famed Harry Potter books are now available on Kindle devices, although it is being thought that the retailer has made big concessions to JK Rowling to secure the hit series.

According to reports, the Harry Potter fans have now been offered the facility of purchasing the English-language versions of all seven best-selling books to read on Kindle devices and Kindle mobile apps.

This has been made possible through an agreement with JK Rowling's new website and eBook shop Pottermore, which will get a dedicated section on the Amazon UK site. Any books purchased will now be available as "buy once, read everywhere", meaning they can be 'pushed' to a Kindle library and any Kindle device or app.

"For years our customers have loved reading Harry Potter books in print, and have made them the best-selling print book series on We're excited that Harry Potter fans worldwide are now able to read JK Rowling's fantastic books on their Kindles and free Kindle reading apps," Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content, was quoted as saying.

A section of press, however, has speculated that Amazon appeared to have offered major concessions to Rowling in order to get the highly lucrative Harry Potter books on Kindle.

To complete a purchase of a Harry Potter eBook, consumers will be required to create an account at the Pottermore Shop, which allows the competing store to collect customer data and insight usually held by Amazon itself.

"They are her customers now. She knows about them because they have registered with her site. It's a huge concession. Amazing,” Mike Shatzkin, the helmsman of The Idea Logical Company, a digital publishing firm, observed.

Shatzkin reckoned that the case drew parallels with the impasse between Apple and The Beatles over getting the band's back catalogue on iTunes, which was finally resolved after years of negotiations.

"JK Rowling is the Beatles. Amazon decided that having the Potter books to sell was more important than the control they usually insist on," Shatzkin added.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Agha Nasir’s book on PTV launched at Karachi Press Club

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‘This is PTV: Another Day, Another World’ authored by Agha Nasir, a former Managing Director of Pakistan Television (PTV), was launched in a graceful ceremony at the Karachi Press Club on March 24 which was presided over by Farhad Zaidi, also an ex-MD of PTV.

Ghazi Salahuddin, the founding Editor of The News, was so impressed with the contents of the book that he recommended it to be made a part of the curriculam of colleges and universities to let the students learn about the evolution of electronic media in Pakistan, adding that the communication revolution in the country has come through television.

“Studying the early days of PTV would provide the basis for any examination, especially by the students of mass communication, of the evolution of all these developments. This book, therefore, holds immense value and it’s worthy to be included in the curriculum,” he reckoned.

Farhad Zaidi, while lavishing Agha Nasir with praise for coming up with an excellent book, was also of the opinion that it should be prescribed as textbook to let the students learn about the historical facts.

“When television came to Pakistan on November 26, 1964, it had a range of only 15 miles but today it encompassed the whole world being a global channel. It’s a real achievement. Television has gone a long way in creating awareness about the various problems and issues,” he noted.

Author Agha Nasir, who was decorated with the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, one of the highest civilian awards of Pakistan only the other day, remarked that the book has been produced to record the events of more four decades.

‘If the events were not recorded they were likely to get lost in the mists of time and that should not happen to PTV,” he observed while also talking about the difficulties he faced in writing the book.

Athar Viqar Azeem, who also remained associated with the PTV for a very long time as a current affairs producer besides doing administrative duties, described Agha Nasir as an exceptional drama producer who also excelled in managing matters related to current affairs.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Leadership Insights unfolds Pakistan’s success stories

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Leadership Insights, a book co-authored by Amer Qureshi and Qaiser Abbas, was launched at Khaas Art Gallery in Islamabad earlier this month. The book features insight from some of Pakistan’s leading entrepreneurs.

Leadership Insights, a collaborative effort between a Chartered Accountant/Business Consultant and an Organizational Psychologist/Motivational Speaker, has been hailed as a ground breaking and innovative book, written specifically for Pakistan. Based on dialogues and discussions with the leading CEOs of Pakistan, it provides practical and insightful strategies for young leaders and managers who aspire to become exceptional leaders.

Amer Qureshi and Qaiser Abbas have shared their own experiences and thoughts with the readers and outline strategies that will help to create the next generation of business leaders. They have noted that life in a developing country like Pakistan is never predictable and never simple or indeed, straightforward.

They have very rightly observed that running an organization in this part of the world requires leaders to be able to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions and environment that they find themselves in, adding that the leadership approaches of the west do not always work well in Pakistan.

Both the authors having worked with about 200 organisations of varying scales and currently affiliated with Possibilities, an international management training and consulting company headquartered in Pakistan, have expressed the hope that Leadership Insights would go some distance in helping the leaders of tomorrow acquire the skills and insights necessary to become truly great leaders.

The experts featured in the book include Nestle Chairperson, Syed Babar Ali, Dawood Foundation CEO, Sarfaraz Rehman, Gillette Pakistan CEO, Saad Amanullah Khan, Habib Metropolitan Bank CEO, Sirajuddin Aziz, and former Mobilink President, Zouhair Khaliq.

Amer Qureshi and Qaiser Abbas have previously authored books independently and Leadership Insights is their maiden joint venture. Aamer Qureshi is also the author of ‘A to Z of Healthy Small Business’ and ‘Making Money in Small Business’ while Qaiser Abbas has to his credit ‘Outclass Teams’, ‘Tick Tick Dollar’, and ‘Shabash Tum Kar Saktay Ho’.

Though the two didn’t promise that the book is a handbook to success, it is a tool to help entrepreneurs excel in what they do or want to do. Judging by the enthusiasm of the authors combined by the audience’s ability to intelligently tackle the business world, there is an apparent willingness towards success.

Lok Virsa launch Dr Fouzia Saeed’s Working with Sharks

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Lok Virsa launched Dr Fouzia Saeed’s latest book ‘Working with Sharks’ in Islamabad as part of their five-day Women’s Week Festival.

Dr Fouzia Saeed is acclaimed as a brave social activist having raised thorny issues. Her book ‘Taboo’ had provoked a national debate on women's morality while her previous book ‘Forgotten Faces’ brought to light the paradox of fame and stigma faced by the female stars of Pakistan's folk theatre.

Her booklet and video ‘Women in Bondage’ had exposed the conditions of women living in interior Sindh while she also edited a collection of articles on Violence Against Women in 1990 when such issues were not openly discussed.

‘Working with Sharks’ deals with her personal experiences as a working woman in Pakistan and how she countered the unpleasant circumstances that come with it.

Lok Virsa’s Executive Director, Khalid Javaid, praising Dr Fouzia Saeed’s work, disclosed that the painting competition’s main purpose was to bring young girls together to paint and create awareness on themes of ‘women’s empowerment’ and ‘harassment of women at work’.

Famous artist Jamal Shah, who was the chief guest, lauded the paintings hanging all around the hall, conceding that many of them depicted our patriarchal social attitude and the extreme level of intolerance towards females, especially at work.

He was presented a copy of the book by the author, who later distributed shields to the winners of the painting exhibition in which 55 students took part and those belonging to Fatima Jinnah University having lion’s share in the prizes.

Dr Fouzia Saeed, after having earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota, USA, returned to Pakistan to pursue a career in social change. She has worked for the United Nations and other international development organizations. Her main identity remains her activist work on women's issues, social justice and democracy. She is currently the Director of Mehergarh, a human rights institute.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mukalma’s 19th issue enriches Urdu literature

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Mukalma is a biannual series of books being published by Academy Bazyaft, housed in Karachi’s famous Urdu Bazar, which is the leading market in the metropolis for all kinds of books and magazines besides stationery items.

Mukalma’s latest issue, which is 19th in the series, is as rich in content, if not richer, than its previous issues. Compiled by Mubeen Mirza, who is also the publisher, it seems to be having all ingredients of a top class literary publication worthy to be compared with the very best of works being done in Urdu language.

Spread over 530 pages, the 19th issue of Mukalma, covering the period of July to December 2011, has a selection of high-quality articles, features, poetry, profiles and reviews by the eminent literary personalities.

Its contributors include Shamim Hanfi, Qazi Afzal Hussain, Professor Fateh Mohammad Malik, Professor Saher Ansari, Zafar Iqbal, Dr Ali Ahmed Fatmi, Amjad Tufail, Zafar Sippal, Intizar Hussain, Mohammad Hamza Farooqui, Baqar Naqvi, Iftikhar Arif, Khurshid Rizvi, Anwar Shawoor, Raza Mujtaba, Ahmed Sagheer Siddiqui, Fatima Hasan, Zia-ul-Hasan, Ajmal Siraj, Aftab Hussain, Hameeda Shaheen, Tasneem Abidi, Ambreen Haseeb Amber, Bushra Hashmi, Nabil Ahmed Nabil, Shafi Aqeel, Saleem Yazdani, Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Nasim Syed, Mazhar Jamil, Mansha Yad, Shams-ur-Rahman Farooqui, Rasheed Amjad, Najm-ul-Hasan Rizvi, Mohammad Hameed Shahid and Mubeen Mirza.

The printing of Mukalma is of the highest class with every page being clearly legible even on the ordinary paper which, in all probability, has been used to prevent it from becoming out of reach of the people who value reading literature in the age of laptops and ipads. It’s priced Rs 450 in Pakistan and US$ 25 abroad.

There is limited advertisement support in the closing pages but that seems to be far too little to subsidize the ever-rising production costs drastically.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brief Profile: Baqar Naqvi

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Baqar Naqvi, whose latest book titled Nobel Amn Kay Sou Baras was launched in Karachi on March 16, has been doing terrific work in the fields of Urdu prose as well as poetry. He is acclaimed as a leading modern poet, whose poetry, although using the traditional Urdu genre Ghazal is full of very fresh sensibility of the modern world.

His full name is Syed Mohammad Baqar Naqvi but he is more famous in the Urdu literary circles as Baqar Naqvi. Born in Allahabad, UP, India, on February 4 1936, he moved to London, UK, in 1975 but he visits his home and office Karachi, Pakistan, after every few months.

Apart from poetry, he has done some monumental historical work in the field of Urdu literature prose. He wrote the first-ever comprehensive book in Urdu language on Alfred Nobel titled Nobel Adabiyaat before following up with Nobel Amn Kay Sou Baras in which he has profiled the Nobel Peace Laureates of 100 years. He has also written books on the subjects of genetics, electronics and artificial intelligence.

The books written by him include EFU Saga, Masnooei Zehaanat, Barqiyaat, Daaman, Ganga, Jamna, Saaraswati, Khaliyay ki Duniya, Moti Moti Rang, Mutthi Bhar Taaray and Taaza Hava. He received UBL-Jang Literary Award in 2010 for Nobel Adbiyaat while Taaza Hava won him the Best Book in the West Award from Urdu Markaz in Los Angeles, USA.

While doing jobs in life insurance industry he took up professional education of the Chartered Insurance Institute, London and qualified to become a Chartered Insurer. He has held various senior management and Executive positions, the last being that of the Chief Executive of a multinational health insurance company.

Baqar Naqvi’s Nobel Amn Kay Sou Baras launched at Karachi Gymkhana

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The launching ceremony of Baqar Naqvi’s ‘Nobel Amn Kay Sou Baras’ was held at the Karachi Gymkhana on March 16. It was presided over by Prof Saher Ansari, one of the leading Urdu poets.

The hardbound Nobel Amn Kay Sou Baras, spread over 1104 pages, has been published by Academy Bazyaft and priced Rs 3,000 per copy.

“It’s a voluminous book, not a travelogue. It is a pure labour of love. It is a momentous effort. Baqar Naqvi has done a terrific work by conceiving the different philosophies and cultures of the various Nobel Peace Laureates and having profiled them so nicely in the typically fluent style of his own,” Prof Saher Ansari remarked in his presidential address.

He lauded Baqar Naqvi for his resilience and described his new book as an invaluable addition to Urdu literature.

Mubeen Mirza of Academy Bazyaft delivered a brief welcome speech in which he threw light about the significance of the book.

Baqar Naqvi, an eminent Urdu writer and poet, having relocated in the United Kingdom, hoped that the readers will gain knowledge by reading his book which him more than two years to compile.

“There were moments when thoughts of abandoning the book crossed my mind during these two years. But finally I was motivated to complete it by the enormity of subject. Now when the book has seen the light of the day I hope it would help in enlightening people with the accomplishments of the Nobel Peace Laureates,” he observed.

Ambreen Haseeb Amber conducted the proceedings in a delightful manner as she narrated the highlights of the book precisely and crisply in between introducing the three speakers.

Alfred Nobel, in 1895, had signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". 92 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded since 1901

Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, shared the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 with Frédéric Passy, a leading international pacifist of the time. In addition to humanitarian efforts and peace movements, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded for work in a wide range of fields including advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

GC University Lahore Book Fair ignites passion for reading

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The success of the recently held three-day Book Fair by the GC University Lahore Library Society dispelled the impression that the Pakistan youth was moving away from book reading in the cyber age.

The Book Fair received a warm response from the students as well as the faculty members. It brought more than 250,000 books under one-roof with an aim to rejuvenate students’ love for books. Besides the booksellers, as many as 55 publishers set up their stalls and offered up to 50 percent discount on their books.

Prof. Dr Mohammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman; Vice Chancellor, GC University Lahore, visited all the book stalls and advised the publishers to provide maximum discounts to the students in particular.

Prof. Khaleeq said that the GCU would continue to organize such activities in future also to promote reading culture among the youth who have greater options with the advent of web tools.

Talking to students and media, GCU Vice Chancellor said that books still have their own significance in the age of internet. He expressed, the vision, awareness, understating and knowledge you get by reading books; you can never have it by just reading book reviews and summaries by virtue of internet.

Leading by example, he himself purchased a large number of books on literature, physics and religion from his pocket, saying that reading and writing is a tradition that needs to be preserved.

People from different walks of life praised the GC University Library management for organizing successful Book Fair and motivating them to develop reading habits. The GC University faculty members, students and all others showed special interest for purchasing books at discount prices.

Addressing the closing ceremony at Bukhari Auditorium, GCU Chief Librarian, Abdul Waheed, remarked that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) monitors both the number and type of books published per country per year as an important index of standard of living and education, and of a country's self-awareness.

GCU Library Society Advisor, Samreen Lateef claimed that the Book Fair implied as if the fountain of knowledge itself had walked up to them to quench their thirst. She stated that it was not less than a blessing to have all the books one needed available on special concession under one roof. She further revealed that 21, 101 books were purchased at the Book Fair according to the survey of Library Society.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Management guru Tanri Abeng launches ‘No Regrets’ on his 70th birthday

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Indonesia’s famous entrepreneur and management guru, Tanri Abeng, celebrated his 70th birthday on March 7 with the launch of his latest book ‘No Regrets’ at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jakarta.

Abeng, in his book, has divided his seven decades into 10 periods. To the last five, he gave titles beginning with the word “half.” They were, consecutively, Half Proud, Half Mad, Half Conscious, Half a Teacher and Half an Entrepreneur.

The septuagenarian declared that while he had no regrets being half this and half that in the past, he had now reached a point where he wanted to be 100 percent a teacher. After three years of preparation, the Tanri Abeng University, to be headed by the man himself, is scheduled to open its doors in September.

“We have a system. Each student should have a focus and specialty. For example, for economy, they should not only be knowledgeable in macro but also in finance,” Abeng disclosed, adding that the university will have five schools with the first batch to comprise of around 100 students.

“The weakness of the current education system is that it did not do enough to prepare students for work upon graduation and thus contributed to unemployment. We want to produce quality,” he said of his own university.

He is currently a member of the editorial board of Berita Satu Media Holdings, with which the Jakarta Globe is affiliated while in the past he has held several positions including President Commissioner of Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Commissioner of Sepatu Bata, President Director and President Commissioner of Multi Bintang Indonesia, President Director of Bakrie & Brothers and President Commissioner of British American Tobacco Indonesia. He also served as Minister of State Enterprises in 1998 and 1999.

“He may be 70 years old, but his mind is still young, still dynamic,” said former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who said he had known Abeng for 51 years.

Besides Kalla, those present included former President B.J. Habibie, Education Minister Mohammad Nuh, Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakri, several Golkar senior executives and top executives of state enterprises.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Delhi World Book Fair 2012 attracts 700,000 visitors

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The 20th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair, held in the Indian capital from February 25 to March 4, was reported to have registered more than 700,000 visitors.

Over 1,300 Indian and foreign publishers participated in the nine-day event which was organized by the National Book Trust (NBT) who hold it after every two years. It is recognized as the biggest book-event in the Afro-Asian region.

The New Delhi World Book Fair 2012, drawing huge crowds, was divided into three pavilions, rights pavilion, theme pavilion and children's pavilion with 2,500 stalls and 1,300 exhibitors belonging to Bangladesh, France, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Spain, China, Canada, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Germany besides hosts India.

The theme pavilion, celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema, attracted a large number of book lovers as well as cine buffs. Many film and theatre personalities like Javed Akhtar, Farooq Sheikh, Amol Palekar, Satish Kaushik, Sushma Seth, Muzaffar Ali, Shahbaz Khan participated in panel discussions and other literary activities at the pavilion.

The NBT in association with National Film Archive of India, Pune, under the section Literature that Walks, Talks and Sings screened some of the classic movies like Devdas, Pather Panchali, Umrao Jaan, Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, Charulata,, Uski Roti, and Athithi, were screened.

The children’s pavilion exhibited 1200 books in several languages and organized several activities for children. Activity based workshops Kabaad Se Jugaad and Aoo Jadoo Seekhein were organized.

"We organized the fair to promote book-mindedness among people and to showcase the strengths and diversity of Indian book trade with its multilingual profile. Many books on Indian cinema that document the history of Indian cinema and its influence on our society, polity and culture, were an eye-opener for most of us in the fair," M A Sikander, Director, NBT, who also launched the trust’s new website, was quoted as saying.

A special Delhi pavilion was put up to celebrate 100 years of Delhi as the capital of India in which rare paintings and photographs on the city were exhibited. A special pavilion was also set up to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore in which selected books on and by the great poet as well as posters, sketches and paintings of Tagore were exhibited.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New edition of Bazm-e-Akram's Adab-o-Kutub Khana arrives

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Some of the luminaries of library and information science in Pakistan have joined hands to form and run Bazm-e-Akram, a forum named after the respected figure of Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, one of the pioneers of the profession in the country.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, a former Chairperson of the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Karachi, is credited to have kept the movement alive by bringing out new edition of Adab-o-Kutub Khana very early in the year. She was edited the fourth publication in this series, known as Bazm-e-Akram 2012, which saw the light of the day in January.

Abdul Wahab Khan Saleem, in his message, has described it a noble way to pay tribute to the legendary teacher besides producing quality literature to enlighten the young minds in particular who have the responsibility of spreading the message to future generations.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, in her preface, has touched on brief history of Bazm-e-Akram which was founded in 1976 with Adil Usmani being its Founder President. Initially there were a few like-minded persons but it has grown and the presently the 58 listed members of Bazm-e-Akram are Mohammad Wasil Usmani, Abdul Wahab Khan Saleem, Dr Rafia Ahmed Shaikh, Abdul Samad Ansari, Dr Rais Ahmed Samdani, Dr Mohammad Fazil Khan, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, Dr Amna Khatoon, Dr Nargis Shagufta, Zainuddin Siddiqui, Syed Abad Ali, Dr Khadim Khams, Dr Kousar, Dr Shafqat Mokhari, Rafia Hasan Abidi, Shamsher Khan, Mohammad Naeemuddin, Samad Baig, Zakia Sultana Zaki, Sibte Haider Naseeri, Noor Amrohvi, Huma Mannan Butt, Nazia Mukhtar, Hina Naz, Iqbal-ur-Rahman Farooqui, Syed Ahmed Naqvi, Azra Qureshi, Ikram-ul-Haq, Fatima Hasni Khayal, Syed Khalid Mahmood, Dr Nigar Sajjad Zaheer, Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, Dr Mughees Ahmed, Dr Shama Aziz, Jamaluddin Akhtar, Syed Ateeb Ahmed, Aamir Subhani, Saima Qadeer, Farzana Abbas, Sohail Danish, Sohail Mahmood Qureshi, Syeda Najma Sultana, Naheed Jahan, Nuzhat Bano Siddiqui, Abida Sultana, Dr Shamshad Ahmed, Mian Mohammad Aslam Bhatti, Noor Mustafa Khan, Dr Zarin Ilyas, Ramoz Ahmed Khan, Durdana Anwar, Akhtar Ali, Khalida Saeed, Razia Sultana and Zafar-uz-Zaman.

The latest edition of Adab-o-Kutub Khana, spread over 164 pages, has been divided in three parts. The first part is dedicated to literature, second to research and third to librarianship. In the literature section there are poems and essays by learned individuals. One of the contributions in Urdu came from as far as Toronto, the commercial capital of Canada and one of the most famous cities of North America.

The great services rendered by Hakim Mohammad Said Shaheed in the various fields have been covered comprehensively by Dr Rais Ahmed Samdani in the research section in which Ikram-ul-Haq and Prof Dr Nasim Fatima have written about Dr Mahmood Hussain and Zain Siddiqui respectively.

Sheema Siddiqui, Photo Librarian at Daily Jang, the largest circulated newspaper of the country, has been interviewed in detail by Huma Mannan Butt in the librarianship section in which Dr Amna Khatoon has written about the Pakistan culture while Kahkashan Naz has thrown light on role of libraries in social welfare and Nazia Mukhtar has talked about Mushfiq Khawaja Trust Library. Farzana Abbas has compiled an article of websites for children in Urdu, describing their utility and highlights.