THIS is apropos of Parvez Rahim’s letter ‘Era of postman gone?’ (Dec 19). The writer says that with the advent of technological advancement the era of postman has passed into oblivion.
This is not true. Why has the writer assumed that the entire population of Pakistan has access to e-mailing\SMS, etc? If we take illiteracy and poverty percentage of Pakistanis, probably only five per cent people may be blessed with the luxury of a PC, laptop, mobile phone, etc.
Post offices and postmen still play a vital role in the lives of the people of Pakistan. Agreed that the influx of courier services and easy money, etc., has offered various options to people, but it is expensive and an unaffordable choice.
In a country where per capita income is less than two dollars a day, such luxuries are unthinkable. Postal service is by far the cheapest and it reaches the farthest corner of the country. In the mountainous region of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan people anxiously wait for postmen who deliver either their mails or money order.
People still tip them to win their goodwill. The beauty of the postal system is that it carries sizable package at a considerable low cost. Even in most advanced country like the US every home has its post-box where postmen efficiently deliver the mail for the affluent and the poor alike.
In the recent past the US government floated a feeler that it was doing away with post offices at cities and towns where the income generated by the post offices could not meet the expenses incurred.
There was an instant uproar that they would never allow their traditional post offices to be closed or dismantled. They cited the example that why the administration is bailing out Amtrack by paying it a billion dollars every year just to keep it rolling.
In England, when authorities tried to remove the typical red-coloured telephone booths in some of the counties, the people stood firm and said ‘our town is incomplete without the landmark of telephone booths’.
The readers will agree that unless poverty and illiteracy are completely wiped out from the country, the concept of post office and postmen cannot be erased from the minds of the people.
Lastly, letters and messages written by one’s own hand carry a special fragrance, be it written by a quill or a fountain pen.
SAFIR A. SIDDIQUI Karachi