The Partition of India in 1947 saw the creation of Pakistan after a vast and violent upheaval displacing millions of people.During this complex period it was assumed that the existing stamps of British India were being used as normal and indeed it is possible to find such unaltered stamps with Pakistan territory postmarks from this period.
The first stamps of Pakistan were stamps of India hand-stamped and overprinted ”PAKISTAN”. The postage and official stamps in the Stanley Gibbons listings are of the most common types which were machine overprinted at Nasik and issued on 1st October 1947. However it appears that during this period of upheaval there was a wide range of different locally-applied “Pakistan” overprints/handstamps on the postage and service stamps and postal stationery of British India and these are highly collectible and historically interesting.
The first stamps solely designed for Pakistan was the 1948 Independence set of 9th July 1948 and were printed by De La Rue of London and collectors of Pakistan stamps have enjoyed high quality issues ever since – with enough printing errors and other unusual items to keep philatelists on their toes!
The separation of East Pakistan in 1971 went unremarked on stamp designs although this alters things for collectors of postmarks and postal history. Pakistan left the Commonwealth in 1972 and rejoined in 1989 and continues to issue beautiful stamps.
We recommend “Pakistan. Overprints on Indian Stamps and Postal Stationery 1947–1949” by Ron Doubleday and Usman Ali Isani for those collectors interested in this fascinating formative period.