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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Introduction of International System of Weights and Measurements in Pakistan (July 01, 1974)

The stamp is vertical in format. Three vertical panels of green, yellow sand pink colours depict the International units of weight, capacity and length.
The green panel at left shows weights, tile second panel in yellow colour shows litres and the third panel in pink shows centimeter tape as a measure of length.
At the moment all the three systems of weights and measures are prevailing in Pakistan viz.: (i) Indigenous i.e. tolas, seers, yards, girahs,
(ii) Imperial System i.e. feet, inch, mile, cwt. ton;
(iii) The Metric System i.e. Kilos, meters, Metric tons. etc. There is a confusion about the whole thing.
To quote an example, the manufacturers of vegetable ghee use all the three systems. They import certain raw materials and chemicals in Kilograms, they purchase oil from local market in maunds and seers but they sell the ghee in pounds. Similar is the case with the manufacturers of fertilizers, yarn and cement etc. Our trade with the Socialist Bloc and the Middle East countries is increasing day by day. All these countries have switched over to the International System. It is becoming very difficult for our traders, manufacturers, bankers and the Govt. to carry on the conversion between the, two systems. Our exports of finished industrial goods are particularly handicapped because of the difference in the two systems. Even the word ‘TON’ has three different values. Long British ton (2240 Lbs.). Short Ameri-can ton (2000 Lbs.) and Metric ton(2204 Lbs.). There is an utter confusion. Sometimes one Cwt. is taken to be equal to 50 kilos which is not exactly true. The factories, importers and stockists of cement and fertilizers are freely using one term for the other.
In order to end all this confusion it is necessary to adopt one coherent system viz: ‘International System of Weights and Measures’ which is being adopted by more and more countries of the world. The International System of Weights & Measures is based on decimal system or the use of multiples and sub-multiples of 10. In this system, the unit of length that is the meter, the unit of Mass, that is, Kilo-gram and the unit of Capacity that is The litre are used. Today more and morn countries are adopting this system. The decimal system has come to us from France but France got it from the- Arabs. Centuries ago when there was deci-mal system in Arabian countries the French people were ignorant of even zero. The concept of zero was given to the West by the Arabs. So when we return to deci-mal system, or Metric System, or its modi-fied form, generally called the ‘Internatio-nal System’, we are not adopting a new system, but just going back to the system of our ancestors.
The International System is better than the old system, more useful to the nation, and more beneficial to the common man. it has implications for us all. For the children and their teachers in our schools, it means saving of precious time on calcula-tions of all kinds not only in mathematics and science classes but also in geography and domestic studies. It means a new generation of more numerate young people, thinking in the common measurement language of the world. For the manufacturing and construction industries, for scientific organisations and in fact for everyone, it means simpler and quicker calculations with less chances of error. More generally it means better designs, and a rethinking of established habits and processes.
In Pakistan because of these manifold advantages it has been decided to introduce the International System of Weights and Measures from 1st July, 1974.
The Government of Pakistan has decid-ed to introduce the International System in the Government scientific organizations like PCSLR, Atomic Energy etc, and the PIA from 1st July, 1974. These organizations will form the nucleus and will have a snowball effect for other departments of 4he Central Government to follow. In the past, the common man had an unpleasant experience of the currency decimalization in the country. The shopkeeper, the bus conductor, everybody looted the common man in the name of decimal system. That is why the people do not welcome any more change, even if they are convinced that the new system is better than the old one. We will have to avoid this overcharging and overpricing That is why this programme has been spread over a period of 4 years and the introduction of the system has been started from the Government-controlled organizations, where the question of over-charging and over-invoicing does not arise. This process will go upto June 1978. By that time most of the people will be able to understand the new system better, as they will be dealing with the Government-con-trolled agencies in the International System.