Friday, October 10, 2014

PLEASE MR. POSTMAN ...

World Post Day: remembering where it all started from

MAHTAB BASHIR
ISLAMABAD

'Stop! Oh yes, wait a minute, Mr. Postman, Wait, Wait Mr. Postman, Please Mr. Postman look and see, If there's a letter in your bag for me, Why's it takin' such a long time, For me to hear from that boy of mine. There must be some word today, From my boyfriend, So far away, Please Mr. Postman Look and see, If there's a letter, A letter for me'. Many of us have heard this classic hit song of 1960's from Marvelettes pleading postman to deliver letter from her beloved.

With the same urge of Marvelettes, World Post Day is going to be observed throughout the world including Pakistan today (Thursday) to create and maintain a structure for the free flow of international mail around the world.

World Post Day is celebrated every year on October 9 and it commemorates founding of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland Capital.

Today, across the world, post offices are celebrating this special day in many different ways. This includes special philatelic exhibitions, free entrance in postal museums, introducing new products and services, seminars, workshops and more.

From the earliest times in history, 'postal services' existed in the form of messengers who travelled large distances on foot or horseback. In the 1600s and 1700s, many countries set up national postage systems and entered into bilateral agreements for the exchange of mail between countries.

By late 1800s, there was a large web of bilateral agreements that made distribution of international mail complicated, nontransparent and inefficient.

In 1863, Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General in the United States of America, organized a conference of representatives from 15 European and American countries.

During this conference, delegates laid down a number of general principles for mutual agreements on international postal services but did not create an international postal agreement.

On September 15, 1874, Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official in the North German Confederation (an area that now forms parts of Germany, Poland and Russia), opened a conference in Berne, Switzerland, with delegates from 22 countries.

On October 9, 1874, the delegates signed the Treaty of Berne and established the General Postal Union.

Number of countries that were members of the General Postal Union grew rapidly and the union's name was changed to the Universal Postal Union in 1878.

In 1948, the Universal Postal Union became a specialized agency of the United Nations. The 16th Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Tokyo, Japan, from October 1 to November 16, 1969. During this conference the delegates voted to declare October 9 each year as World Post Day.

Postal Staff College: On the day, various organizations will hold functions at Postal Staff Collage, G-8/4 Islamabad, to celebrate the World Post Day, where Senior Postal Executives and heads of other departments will participate.  

Other activities that will take places include presentation of Universal Postal Union (UPU) documentary, reading out message of D.G. UPU presentations, songs by a group school children, acting play of selected song containing the theme of UPU written by Additional Director General (Operational) Fazli Sattar Khan.

The ministry will also distribute aid packets among flood-affected postal employees in different parts of the country. Musical performance by Ustad Raees Ahmad Khan & group, speech by chief guest and also presentation of souvenirs to Turkish ambassador and chief guest by the chairman Abdul Hameed will be hallmarks of the ceremony.

So, go out, buy some postcards or some nice letter paper and write to all your friends and family; remind them that the post is a very important part of our lives. Happy World Post Day!

Also published in Daily Times

http://archives.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/09-Oct-2010/please-mr-postman