RIYADH — The Pakistan Writers Club ( PWC) honored Saudi Gazette Editor at Large Khaled Almaeena here on the occasion marking the UN/UNESCO International Day for Book and Copyright. Almaeena was the keynote speaker. UN/UNESCO as International Day for Book and Copyright is celebrated on April 23 with the purpose of honoring writers worldwide and to safeguard and protect their intellectual property rights.
This year’s theme is based on the famous quote from the historic speech at the UN by Malala Yousufzai where she is quoted to have said: Quote: “Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”
Deputy Head of the Mission at the Pakistan Embassy Khayyam Akbar was the chief guest and noted Pakistani businessman Muhammad Asghar Qureshi was the guest of honor.
Prof. Hisham Abad of Al-Faisal University in Riyadh, a noted academic and a writer, and Cyma Azyz, host of the Saudi TV Channel-2 morning show “Good Morning Saudi Arabia,” also attended as the guests of honor and invited speaker.
General Secretary of PWC Ashiq Hussain gave an introductory speech following the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an by Intezam-ul-Haq Thanvi. Secretary IT of PWC Abdul Rauf Moghal captivated all by stressing on the theme of the event.
Aymen Zaheer, PRO of PWC, presented his poetry in relation to the occasion. Syed Naqi Haider Rizvi, the young electrical engineer who is visually impaired, then held the audience in thrall with his heart-warming speech.
Prof. Dr. Hisham Abad said books were one’s best companions. He revealed the grand project for igniting creativity among young Saudi minds that he and two of his colleagues have embarked upon.
Asma Tariq, an artist and a member of PWC-LC, made a very impressive presentation on instilling the habit of book reading among the young minds. She quoted John F. Kennedy who had said that: “A child mis-educated is a child lost”.
Syed Khwaja Nehaluddin presented a quatrain from his Urdu poetry marking the occasion. Dr Erum’s presentation on the fallen journalists who laid down their lives in the line of duty was superb. She also read out a welcome note for Almaeena, who was accorded a standing ovation by the audience.
Azyz talked about the role of UN in keeping book reading alive was a commendable job. She emphasized the fact that since many could not afford to buy books we should pass it on to others after reading.
She specially made a mention of Saudi writer and a breast cancer survivor, Ms. Tamimi, who has written a book entitled, “From Riyadh to London with something in my chest.”
Almaeena, in his address, said that in 1982 Saudi Arabia had issued a Royal Decree on this subject and called on all young readers to cultivate this habit.
He then spoke at length about his experiences as the Editors in Chief of both the English languages dailies of Saudi Arabia.
He also narrated several real-life anecdotes that he had experienced throughout his career and kept the audience captivated.
After his talk, he also entertained questions form the audience, responding to all of them in his unique style.
Muhammad Asghar Qureshi spoke on the significance of the day and mentioned that he was a book lover and an avid reader too.
“I have love for the books and this is the reason I have also encouraged all of my children to make a book their best friend,” he said.
Akbar mentioned that books were powerful resource for poverty eradication and peace building.
“More than 50 percent of the population in Pakistan does not have access to books. Those of us who can afford to buy books are duty bound to make these books also available to them,” Akbar remarked.
At the end memento shields were awarded to Almaeena in recognition of his services to Saudi media.
Ambassador of Pakistan was also awarded a memento shield in recognition of his services for Pakistan and the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. PWC President Faiz Al-Najdi thanked all for attending this event.