Postal services – thriving in the age of internetArchive
Although letters may no longer be the primary way people stay in touch, Pakistan’s postal service remains active; from the Siachen Glacier to the Arabian Sea. With its network of post offices across the country, the Pakistan Post mostly serves people who live in remote parts of the country without internet services or even electricity.
The General Post Office (GPO) in Rawalpindi was established in 1876, and has been standing for 141 years. Although the post office no longer deals with the same number of letters or with the telegraph system, it still provides other services, such as the distribution of letters, parcels, pensions, money order deliveries, utility bill collections, post boxes, life insurance and urgent mail services.
Work at GPO starts early in the morning and continues until night time.
Letters, money orders and parcels come from the District Postal Office at the Rawalpindi Railway Station from around the country, and the items are then divided between Rawalpindi, Islamabad and international destinations. The items for international destinations are then transported to the airport.
Back at the GPO, letters, money orders and parcels are received at the delivery desk, where supervisors and clerks separate the posts zone-wise and hand them over to the relevant workers. Rawalpindi is divided into 80 zones.
The work of a mail carrier begins once they have received the mail and ends in the evening, when they return with any post that could not be delivered.
In addition, the post office consists of a room that contains 1,600 post boxes. By paying Rs500 per year, people can use them to receive their post themselves.
In the past, a mail carrier or daakia, travelled from small villages to hilly areas on foot or on bicycles. Under British rule, they were given batons, ankle bells and a dagger for their safety, as they had to travel through jungles, deserts and farms. Nowadays, mail carriers use motorcycles to make their deliveries.
“With the passage of time, the post office has seen a lot of changes. The logo of the post office has changed and so has the uniform,” Chief Post Master Ahsanullah Marwat told Dawn.
He said the post office was divided into three sections – customer care, the delivery desk and the pension desk.
“In the main hall, there are desks for ordinary mail, parcels, money orders, utility bill collections, tax collection and other services,” Mr Marwat added.
“We have glass display units for stamps, and history books about the Pakistan Post.
He added that under the reform agenda, post offices were receiving facelifts and services were being improved.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2017