July 07 - 13, 2003




It is not unusual to get a common person confused in three different branches of science, having close resemblance in their names i.e. Metallurgy, Meteorology, Metrology. The first two branches of science deal with properties of metals and study of motions and phenomena of atmosphere respectively, whereas Metrology is the field of knowledge concerned with the measurement. It includes both theoretical and practical aspects with reference to measurements, whatever their level of accuracy and in whatever fields of science or technology they may occur.

The system of measurement is a must for science, engineering, trade and every day life. Science and engineering need a more comprehensive system of measurement than trade but trade has been a driving force in the development of measurement techniques. Traders in old times spread a knowledge of measurements and mathematics as per requirement of trade. They encouraged the development of those fields which require precision measurement so that they could spread trade without risks of un‑acceptability. These days Metrology is a valuable tool in the constant struggle of manufacturing industry to improve competitiveness. It helps in the economic control of manufacturing processes and in convincing the customers that the product meets the specification and standards as he requires through demonstration.

In the year 1947 when Pakistan came into being as an independent state there was a tremendous diversity of Weights and Measures in the country for example copper and aluminum were measured and sold in tons and pounds whereas the finished copper utensils were sold in seers and aluminum utensils in tolas. Butter oil was sold in seers but butter itself was sold in pounds weights. Air freight was being collected in KG and seaborne freight in tons whereas the Railway freight in terms of seer, maunds, etc. A situation like this and the coexistence of the diverse systems of weights & measures in Pakistan was creating chaos and confusion on the one hand and on the other creating hindrance to the trade of the country. By 1960 majority of the countries of the world adopted the Metric system of weights and measures.



The Government of Pakistan also decided to introduce the Metric System of Weights & Measures in the country and entrusted Pakistan Standards Institution (PSI) the responsibility to prepare a comprehensive report on the subject for its consideration. The report was submitted to the Ministry of Industries by the then Director, PSI in 1962. Ultimately an act known as the Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act 1967 was enacted through the National Assembly, which was amended in 1974 as Pakistan Weights and Measures (International System) Act, 1967.

A division of Ministry of Industries was made responsible for the enforcement, calibration, training and publicity in connection of Weights & Measures System in accordance to the Act of 1967. PSI was simultaneously made responsible for laying down National Standards of Weights and Measures.

Following the national trend, Government of Pakistan made the rules exercising the powers conferred by the said act as Pakistan Weights and Measures (International System) Rules 1974. A separate department of Weights and Measures was established in the same year under the administrative control of Ministry of Industries. The entire responsibilities of Weights and Measures were assigned to that department.

Decentralization in the managing of such responsibilities was started in 1976 when the enforcement of the said Act at commercial level (the verification, stamping of weights and measures and their instruments) was handed over to the respective Provincial Governments. The Provincial Governments consequently enacted their Acts and Rules, for the statutory enforcement of the weights and measures, as under:

1)         Punjab Weights & Measures (International System) Enforcement Act, 1975.
            Punjab Weights & Measures (International System) Enforcement Rules 1976.
2)         Sindh Standard Weights & Measures Enforcement Act, 1975 (Sindh Act XX of 1975).



Sindh Standard Weights & Measures Enforcement Rules, 1976.
3)            North‑west Frontier Province Standard Weights & Measures Enforcement Act, 1976 (N.W.F.P. Act III of 1976)
North‑west Frontier Province Standard Weights & Measures Rules, 1976.
4)            Balochistan Weights & Measures (International System) Enforcement Ordinance, 1977.
Balochistan Weights & Measures (International System) Enforcement Rules, 1977.

The Provincial Governments, by the authority of above Acts and Rules, are responsible for carrying out following functions:

a) Enforcement of the new system.
b) To register and issue licences to manufacturers/repairers and dealers.
c) Maintenance of working standards.
d) Verification and re‑verification of Commercial Weights and Measures.
e) Survey of Industries.
f)  Inspections and prosecutions.

The Department of Weights & Measures was abolished w.e.f. 30th June 1980 and the functions of that department were distributed to Pakistan Standards Institution (PSI), Karachi and National Physical and Standard Laboratory (NPSL), Islamabad.

The functions allocated to PSI, were:

            Coordination with International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML).
            Establishment of Standards.
         Advice on adoption of new units to switching over organizations.
         Training of field staff of Provincial Government and other switching over organization.
            Coordination with Provincial Government regarding implementation of the system in various organizations.

The NPSL was allocated the following functions:

            Maintenance of the reference and secondary standards.
         Annual verification/Inspection of working standards of the Inspectors of Provincial Government.



The functions of PSI, on its being abolished, were, however, transferred to the Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority on the enactment of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Act (Act‑VI) of 1996.

The standards for weight and length have been enforced and are being used all over Pakistan as per Pakistan Weights and Measures (International System) Act, 1967. However, it is interesting to note that all the premier government organizations dealing in distribution and development of lands e.g. Central Board of Revenue (C.B.R.), Capital Development Authority (C.D.A.), Lahore Development Authority (L.D.A.), Karachi Development Authority (K.D.A.), Peshawar Development Authority (P.D.A.), Cantonment Boards, etc., even a lapse of more than 35 years, have not yet complied with the respective Acts and Rules and are still using the outlawed units/standards, i.e. acre, kanal, marla, square yards etc.