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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Centenary of Universal Postal Union (UPU) (October 9, 1974)

20-PAISA STAMP: The stamp is vertical in format. The emblem of “Universal Postal Union” appears in reverse form against a dark Ultra Marine colour sky fading away near the centre of the stamp. A few stars are shown around the emblem in pale colour. Denomination figure ‘20-Paisa’ appears in the top left corner and the word ‘Postage’ in small letters in the top right corner, both in yellow colour.
A typical scroll representing “Movement and flow” appears at the bottom of the stamp in yellow, blue and green colours, the left portion of which rises upwards to up-hold the emblem. In the white space in between the scroll and the fading sky at right appears the wording “Union Postale Universelle” with the year ‘1874’ and ‘1974’ in red colour. “Pakistan” in English and Urdu appears in left and right bottom corners of the stamp in red colour. Rs. 2.25 STAMP: Stamp is vertical in format. The emblem of “Universal Postal Union” is featured in the centre of the stamp. The globe appears in blue and brown colours with the human figures around it iii black colour. The upper half portion of the stamp is blue representing sky which fades away to-ward the centre and the lower half portion is yel-low colour representing land. The wording “Union Postale Universelle” appears at the top of the stamp in reverse form and below it a modern jet plane is shown in flight in blue and black colours.
An old fashioned horse-drawn Mail wagon in red colour is shown at the bottom of stamp. ‘Pakistan’ in English and Urdu appears in red colour both at the left and right side of the emblem, while the years ‘1874’ and ‘1974’ in Mauve colour appear on either side of the Aeroplane. The denomi-nation ‘Rs. 2.25’ appears in the bottom left corner of the stamp in black while the word ‘Postage’ in small letters ap-pears in the bottom right corner in red colour.
Rs. 2.45 SOUVENIR SHEET: Souvenir is a yellow colour square sheet inside which appears a thick outline of Red colour square enclosing the two stamps, the UPU emblem and the caption. The two stamps appear in Grey colour outline in the top right side of the square, while the wording “Union Postale Universelle” and the years ‘1874’ and ‘1974’ in the bottom right corner of the square in greenish colour.
On October 9, 1974 the world celebrates the centenary of the Universal Postal Union, an organisation comparatively little known but which has through the 100 years of its existence provided the most universal link among free mankind by the establishment of the exchange of international letter mail.
Whereas there are many obstacles in the way of a man moving from one country to another, there are no frontiers for the post. A letter must reach the addressee regardless of his social status, political views, religion or race. The world postal service is part of the daily life of people everywhere. Its proper running is essential to society and, still more, to the life of the international community. Although the Universal Postal Union is one of the oldest inter-governmental organizations in exist-ence, yet it is not widely known to the public at large Without going back to the origin of the post in remote antiquity and still less dwelling on its embryonic state in the Middle Ages, it may nevertheless be pointed out that the dispatch of letters then depended on the messenger services of royal households, univer-sities and major religious orders. Not until the 16th century was an international postal service worthy of the name set up.
However in 1863, on the initiative of Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General of the United States of America,’ a confer-ence was held in Paris. This conference, which was attended by delegates from fifteen European and American countries, estab-lished the general principles recommended to Administrations as a basis for their mutual agreements. Eleven years later another conference was held which was attended by representatives from twenty-two States. An agreement was quickly reached and on 9 October a Treaty concerning the Establishment of a General Postal Union—commonly known as the Berne Treaty—was signed. This was the forerunner of the multilateral Convention governing the international postal service. The Convention came into force on 1 July, 1875. In 1878, the General Postal Union became the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
The main objects of the Union are: to form a single postal territory for the reciprocal exchange of letter-post items; to ensure the organization and improvement of the various postal services; to promote in this sphere the development of internatonal collaboration; and to participate in technical assistance in the postal field with a view to developing and modernizing the Postal Services.
The Universal Postal Congress is the supreme legislative authority of the Union. It consists of representatives of all mem-ber countries and is convened every five years. Its main function is to study and revise the acts of the Union on the basis of proposals put forward by member countries, the Executive Council or the Consultative Council for Postal Studies. The Executive Council (EC), composed of 40 members of whom 39 are elected by the Congress, meets each year at UPU headquarters. It ensures the continuity of the Union’s work between the Congresses, supervises the activities of the International Bureau, undertakes studies, draws up proposals, and makes recommendations to Congress. It is responsible for encouraging, supervising and coordinating international cooperation in the form of postal technical assistance and vocational training.
The Consultative Council for Postal Studies (CCPS), composed of 35 members elected by the Congress. meets annually at UPU headquarters. It is responsible for organizing studies on major problems affecting postal administration of member countries, in the technical, operational and economic fields and in the sphere of technical cooperation. The CCPS also provides information and opinions on these matters, and exam ines training needs of the developing countries.
The International Bureau provides secretarial services for UPU bodies and promotes technical assistance. Established at Berne, it is responsible for the coordination, publication and dissemination of all manner of information about the inter-national postal services. At the request of the parties concerned, it gives opinion on disputes. It considers requests for amendments to the acts of the Union, gives notice of changes adopted and takes part in the preparation of the work of Congress.
The establishment of the Union has made it possible to standardize the international postage rates of various postal items. The volume of air mail has grown enormously with the rapid development of civil aviation. Distances no longer count, for mail is flown from one continent to another with great speed. By allowing free postage for items concerning prisoners of war and civilian internees, as well as for literature for the blind, and by conveying periodicals at considerably reduced rate, the Union has transformed its humanitarian aims into reality. Technical assistance is provided from three sources Multilateral aid accorded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UPU Special Fund raised from voluntary contributions from member countries and direct bilateral technical assistance between postal administrations.
The expenses of the U.P.U. are borne jointly by all the member countries, which for this purpose are divided into 8 categories, paying between one and fifty units. The total budget of the UPU during 1973 was 85,05,840 Swiss Francs and Pakistan being a first class member contributed 2,13,500 Swiss Francs.
Throughout her association with UPU, Pakistan has play-ed an active role in the affairs of the Union and has taken every opportunity to highlight the problems of new and developing nations before the World body. In her work on the many import-ant Committees and Sub-Committees, she has made a substantial contribution in finding solution to the problems of Postal Ser-vice, which has drawn high praise from members of the Union.
Pakistan was admitted as a first class member of the UPU in 1947. It has participated in all the five Postal Congresses since then i.e. Brussels (1952), Ottawa (1957), Vienna (1964)~ Tokyo (1969) and Lausanne (1974). At the Congress of Brussels in 1952 Pakistan was elected as a member of the Executive Council. She served as a member of the Executive Council for 12 years, having been re-elected at the Ottawa Congress. At the 1964 Vienna Congress it was not eligible for re2election after being in the Executive Council for two successive terms. How-ever, it was re-elected to the Executive Council again in 1969 at Tokyo and re-elected in 1974 at Lausanne. Pakistan was also elected as a member of the C.C.P.S. in 1964 and has been on this body ever since. It was elected as a Vice-Chairman of the C.C.P.S. in Vienna Congress in 1964 and continued in this capacity till 1974.
The successive election of Pakistan to the Executive Council and the C.C.P.S. is a tribute to its outstanding contribution in this field of International Cooperation and bears eloquent testimony to the continued condense reposed in it by the members of the Union.
Ever since its inception the Union has been wholly devoted to the task assigned to it by the founders and has done still better, for despite its age, it has managed to maintain the youth and vigour needed to adjust to new technical requirements. Even in the critical days of the two world wars, its stability was evident. By constant efforts and intensifying international collaboration, the Union is contributing to bringing men and nations closer together.