Islamabad- Staff Reporter:
Hundreds of children of working journalists from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad took part in the online ‘Qirat’ and ‘Naat’ competition, organized by National Press Club (NPC) Islamabad on the 27th night of the blessed month of Ramazan.
The competition, perhaps, the first of its kind not only in Pakistan but in the entire world for journalists’ kids was the part of NPC’s annual mega event, ‘Ramazan Family Festival’. Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and Overseas Pakistanis Global Foundation (OPGF) collaborated with NPC to hold the event.
The event was earlier scheduled to take place at the NPC lawn but owing to the ongoing COVID-19 onslaught, it was decided to hold it on Zoom.
Among others, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib, renowned Quranic reciter, Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali and prominent ‘Naat Khawan’ Noor Mohammad Jaral attended the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Farrukh Habib hailed the NPC for holding such a grand online programme. “I feel honoured to become part of this auspicious programme. The NPC’s efforts to engage kids in noble deeds in such a large number during the shutdown period are highly commendable,” added the minister, who also recited a naat on the occasion.
Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali recited a few verses of Holy, while USA-based Noor Mohammad recited naat, adding beauty to the programme.
In his welcome remarks, erstwhile President of NPC and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Afzal Butt thanked Chairman OPGF Mehar Zaheer Akhtar, Chairman Women Chapter of OPGF Tahira Din, President New York chapter Shakeel Sheikh and General Secretary Abdul Rauf for cooperating to hold the programme.
He lauded NPC President Shakeel Anjam, Secretary NPC Anwar Raza, RIUJ President Aamir Sajjad Syed, RIUJ Acting General Secretary Tariq Ali Virk for working diligently over the past two weeks to make the event a real success.
Meanwhile, the NPC president informed that hundreds of boys and girls aged between 4-16 years participated in the competition. He said the winner pocketed a cash prize of Rs 15,000, the runner-up Rs 10,000, and the third position-holder received Rs 5000. “Besides, each participant was given Rs 1000 as ‘Eidi’,” he added.
According to Shakeel, the credit to hold the contest on Zoom goes to the Afzal Butt. “We must acknowledge that it was he, who actually floated the idea.
“Initially, it was looking a herculean task but with Afzal Butt and Tariq Chaudhry’s (another former NPC president) guidance and encouragement we managed to hold it quite successfully,” he added.
Anwar Raza on the occasion informed that there had been several brainstorming sessions for holding the competition in a befitting manner. “We even held two back-to-back long-duration Zoom meetings wherein seasoned journalists chipped in to give their suggestions,” he said.
“We really appreciate the NPC management for bringing over such a huge number of attendees to the Zoom ‘Qirat’ and ‘Naat’ competition. It is indeed a remarkable contribution to provide kids a platform to showcase their talent during this period of nothingness,” senior journalist Muhammad Ashraf Wani said.
“When my kids heard about this contest they became excited. It was absolutely stunning to see them making preparations for the competition,” journalist Tahir Ahmed said.
“It was amazing to see kids reciting the Holy Quran and Naats in sweet and melodious voices. I feel this activity will not only boost their confidence but also inculcate special love and reverence for the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him),” Umar Hashmi, another journalist opined.
“It is heartening to note that the NPC has turned into a family club. Our kids are getting much-needed exposure,” said the wife of a journalist.