A week long treat awaits book lovers at the New Delhi World Book Fair starting Saturday with books on sports as its theme in the backdrop of Commonwealth Games 2010 but a prominent absentee would be Pakistan’s state-run National Book Foundation.

Several publishers from India and abroad will take part in the fair including those from Pakistan but the National Book Foundation of Pakistan has decided to skip it.

“The National Book Foundation of Pakistan has informed us that they will be unable to participate in the fair”, Nuzhat Hassan, National Book Trust (NBT) Director, told reporters here today. The NBT organises the book fair.

Asked about the reasons for NBF’s withdrawal, Mr. Hassan said she was unaware of it. The Pakistan Education Minister is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of NBF.

After the IPL snub to Pakistani cricketers, a Parliamentary delegation, Election Commission team and kabaddi team from Pakistan had decided to cancel their scheduled visits to India.

NBT Chairman Bipin Chandra said, “This is our 19th book fair and by now it is well known not only in the country but around the world.”

This year the theme of the book fair is ‘Reading our Commonwealth: An International Rights Exhibition of Books on Sports’ on the occasion of XIX Commonwealth Games 2010.

Seven hundred titles published by around 75 publishers across the country on different genres of sports are to be exhibited at the theme pavilion. Mr. Hassan also informed that a special exhibit of books on and by Jawaharlal Nehru will also take place in this year’s fair.

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