To achieve this objective at the international level, the Universal Postal Union has played a significant role in establishing and maintaining a uniform, efficient and reliable postal services amongst the member postal administrations. The Union, also, recognising the in-creasing importance of mutual cooperation among countries of a region has authorised them under Article 8 of the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union to form restricted postal unions and make special arrangements for improving the international postal services in a region. For the developing countries in particular with limited resources sustained development is possible through pooling of resources amongst such countries situated in close proximity. Apart from this the formation of such Unions gives the member administrations an I opportunity of collective bargaining in the international affairs and thus they are able to exert substantial influence and can make their voice felt.
In order to develop the postal services in this region with mutual cooperation, the governments of the three countries viz Iran, Pakistan and Turkey while taking a decision on the formation of the Economic Cooperation Organization admitted the importance of the postal services in the achievement of the laid down objectives of the Economic Cooperation Organization and thereby decided to form a restricted postal union known as South and West Asia Postal Union. The preparatory meetings of the senior officers of the three member countries were held at Tehran on 17-20 November, 1986 and final Acts of the Union were signed by the plenipotentiary delegates o~ Iran, Pakistan and Turkey at Ankara on 12-13 March, 1988.
The main aims and objectives of the South and West Asia Postal Union are to: - Develop and strengthen the cultural and economic relations based on historical background of the three nations.
- Extend assistance to solve common problems faced by the postal administrations of the region.
- Facilitate and improve the postal relations and services among the member countries. - Evolve as far as possible a common approach on important issues to be taken up by various bodies of the Union.
- Provide technical assistance to each other in postal spheres such as training facilities, exchange of experts etc.
- Exchange information on the subjects of interest.
The South and West Asia Postal Union has taken various steps to achieve its laid down objectives. Operating as a close fraternity, the three countries are applying domestic postage rates in relation to each other. The first meeting of the Executive Council of South and West Asia Postal Union held in Islamabad from 29-31 May 1989 took many far reaching decisions. Important of these are briefly summarised as under:-
- Adoption of the Rules of Procedures of the Executive Council and the Congress. - Adoption of insignia for the Union.
- Improvements in arrangements for the exchange of surface and airmails between Union countries.
- Exchange of postal experts among Union countries.
- Utilization of training facilities in Training Institutions of Union countries.
- Study visits by senior officers of Postal Administrations to Union countries.
- Issue of commemorative postage stamps by union countries on the next EGO Summit etc.
- Extension of EMS/International Speed Post between the member countries.
The first congress of the Union was held at Ankara from 3-7 December, 1990.
The formation of the South and West Asia Postal Union has given further impetus to the existing cordial cultural and economic relations between the three countries. The collective endeavours of these countries would enable them to extend and improve the postal services in the region. The Government of Pakistan has extended all possible cooperation and support to all such initiatives taken for closer collaboration in the field of postal services so that facilities could be speedily developed in the region for the benefit of the people at large with the help of postal expertise and existing resources.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 5/- denomination on March 12, 1991.