A letter was known as a half meeting between two people living far away from each other, but with the advent of so many new technologies, this half meeting almost turned into a full meeting through mobile messages, emails, audio calls, and now even video calls. But still, a letter sent by post has its own charm.
World Post Day is celebrated all over the world on October 9. The date is actually an anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day in Tokyo, Japan, in 1969. Since then, all the countries celebrate World Post Day annually on the said date.
Pakistan Post Director General Khalid Javed, while talking with Minute Mirror said, “Despite getting so many alternates of sending a message, a letter in the hard copy still holds its importance as it is tangible and can be protected for decades. If you forget the password of your electronic devices, you can lose all your correspondents and data, on the other hand in the paper form, everything remains intact and we can make the copies as well to protect it.”
Pakistan Post Office began functioning in 1947 as the Department of Post and Telegraph. Later in 1962, it was separated and started working as an independent department. This is one of the oldest government departments in the sub-continent.
“We started at a very small scale at that time but according to official data, now we have almost 13,000 post offices around the country, which delivered almost 241 million letters in 2017-18. I can proudly say that we are providing delivery services to about 20 million households and businesses as community service without any cost considerations,” said Javed.
While keeping the old traditions alive, Pakistan Post is also facilitating the sellers from our country to send their products to amazon’s warehouses in the world.
“Amazon is world’s one of the largest online platforms and recently when Pakistan got on the list of sellers, we chalked out a plan to create facilitation centers immediately. Now we have our facilitation centers at Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Gujrat, Multan, Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Faisalabad, from where our sellers can send the products easily to amazon’s warehouses around the world,” he added.
Lahore General Post Office (GPO)
In Lahore, the GPO does not only hold the importance of a post office but the building has a significant presence in history also.
In 1849, a barrack-like building was constructed near Anarkali Lahore to house the first-ever post office. It was then headed by Mr. W.T.Clifford, the first postmaster who took charge on June 2, 1849. Clifford was then working under the postmaster general of the northwestern provinces with his headquarters in Agra.
Saman Sherazi, the chief post master of Lahore GPO said, “Working in this historic building gives us a huge honour. You can see the art and the minds of the people who made this glorious building. All of its domes are in the shape of a crown. This is actually a blended piece of Muslim, Hindu, and European styles of architecture. The arches and the staircase are still in their original form.”
The building still has a bell from 1860, which used to ring by the postmaster when the letters used to arrive at the place.
“The postmaster used that bell to notify people about the dispatch and arrival of post, or to gather everyone. After some preservation, the building is now standing in the full glow of its former glory,” said Sherazi.
Other than facilitating the exchange of letters and parcels, the Pakistan Post also performs agency functions on behalf of federal and provincial governments, which includes, inter alia, savings bank functions, postal life insurance, collection of taxes, and collection of electricity, water, natural gas, and telephone bills.
“We are not limited to just letters. We also have a network in harmony with the Universal Postal Union which helps us ensure secure and timely delivery of mail. The new generation should at least in their lives try to write an actual letter rather than using digital platforms. That experience will last with them forever,” Sherazi said.