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Did you know about the postage stamps and postal history of Pakistan?

Updated: May 15, 2023

Did you know about the history of Pakistani postage stamps?

As a colony of the British Empire, postal stamps minted in the name of the British Monarch were used in the Indian Subcontinent.

The new state of Pakistan decided against using fresh postage stamps due to various constraints.

The problems surrounding designing, printing, and circulating new postal stationery were solved by overprinting old stamps from former British India. This was first done by the Indian Security Press and later by the government presses in Pakistan.

Known as the “Nasik Overprint”, - the first lot of these stamps, which date back to the 1940s, featuring George VI, was circulated in October 1947.

Pakistan's first ever new postage stamp was issued on 9th July 1948, with the five-ray star and the crescent moon.

Designed by the renowned artist A.R. Chaugtai and approved by Quaid-i-Azam, it is one of the four stamps issued to mark the first independence day of the new nation.

Featuring The First Constituent Assembly building, Karachi Airport Entrance, & Lahore Fort Gateway. The slogan and prayer, “Pakistan Zindabad” - Long Live Pakistan, was minted on each stamp.

One may wonder why these stamps are inscribed with “15th August 1947” as the first birth anniversary of the new nation, whilst Pakistan celebrates its official Independence on the 14th of August.

Now, the Constituent Assemblies for two new nations, India and Pakistan, took oath on 14th August, whilst they began to function on August 15th, thus confusion around the “actual” independence day. The declaration to celebrate independence on the 14th was made in early 1949, ending the debate.

Moreover, this set of stamps was printed by the Thomas De La Rue Company in London, for Pakistan did not have its printing press then.

These stamps, which were produced by independent Pakistan and India, show how their respective histories were also divided as a result of the division of British India. For instance, in the 1950s, India and Pakistan both released commemorative stamps to mark the 100th anniversary of the release of their first postal stamps, but they did so in two separate years to mark two distinct anniversaries. Pakistan released a stamp in 1952 to honor the 100th anniversary of the Scinde Dawk, and two years later, in 1954, India released four stamps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the postal stamp. India has made the decision to recognize the East India Company's acceptance of the stamps.


This blog has been written by Komal Salman.

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