I RECENTLY heard the interior minister urging the nation to use the services of Pakistan post office for sending parcels. I was overcome by patriotic sentiments and decided to do my bit. Therefore, I went to the post office in Block 3 Gulshan-i-Iqbal to send a parcel to my daughter in Sydney.
When I entered the post office I saw I was the only customer. The staff member behind the counter who was engrossed in his smartphone looked up reluctantly. When I told him I wanted to send a parcel to Sydney, he said if I knew what the post office charged I wouldn’t have bothered, and he told me it would spoil my day. I insisted he tell me what it would cost to send a parcel weighing 5kgs.
He put down his phone and opened a drawer to retrieve some papers. He then did some calculations, tore a scrap of paper, wrote something on it and pushed it towards me. The paper had Rs11,140 written on it. Naturally, I left the post office.
I then approached the branch of a private courier. The staff member took the parcel and processed it in less than five minutes. He said the parcel actually weighed a little under 6kgs and charged me Rs 7,250. He also assured me that it would be delivered in 48 hours.
Can the postal authorities explain the large difference in cost? At such exorbitant rates, how does the honourable minister expect the post office to compete?
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2019