International System of Weights & Measures in Pakistan

A commemorative postage stamp on the Introduction of International System of Weights & Measures in Pakistan :

Issued by Pakistan

Issued on Jul 1, 1974

Design : The stamp is vertical in format. Three vertical panels of green, yellow and pink colours depict the International units of weight, capacity and length. The green panel at left shows weights, the second panel in yellow colour shows litres and the third panel in pink shows centimetre tape as a measure of length.

Type : Stamp, Postal Used

Denomination : 20 Paisa

Colour : YellowRed / Blue / Black

Size of stamp : 32.5 x 44.5 m.m.

Size of print : 29.5 x 41.5 m.m.

Perforation gauge : 13 x 13 c

Quantity printed : 5,00,000 stamps

Number of Stamps in each sheet : 50 (fifty)

Process of Printing : Litho Offset

Printers : The Pakistan Security Printing Corporation Ltd., Karachi

About : 

  • 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, metres, 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 fertilisers, 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 American 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 fertilisers 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 metre, the unit of Mass, that is, Kilogram and the unit of Capacity that is the litre are used. Today more and more 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 decimal 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 decimal system, or Metric System, or its modified form, generally called the ‘International 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 calculations 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 process.
  • 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 decided to introduce the International System in the Government scientific organizations like PCSIR, 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 the Central Government to follow.
  • In the past, the common man had an unpleasant experience of the currency decimalisation 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 over-charging and over-pricing.
  • 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-controlled agencies in the International System.
  • Issued by The Director-General, Pakistan Post Office, Karachi.

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