RAWALPINDI: For most people, getting legal documents prepared was never a cakewalk. Now, with frequent loadshedding causing even longer waits for documents, computer typists at the district court have found a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.
Mehboob Ilahi was typing up a sale deed on a typewriter at the courts. When he was done, he told The Express Tribune that he brought back his old typewriter “because people would complain about the long waits caused by load shedding, which has brought computer composing to a standstill”.
“My earnings have gone down this summer and I have no other source of income. Loadshedding makes my computer useless and I have resorted to using a typewriter to get some work done,” Ilahi said.
With a computer and uninterrupted power supply, a typist can earn Rs700 to Rs1,000 every day, but with typewriters now the only way to avoid unnecessary work stoppages, the speed of composing has reduced and affected the incomes of typists and stamp vendors, Ilahi explained.
Nowadays typists earn no more than Rs500 daily, the prolonged outages have disturbed the household budgets of low income workers, he added.
Documents such as domicile forms, sale deeds and affidavits are required by the visitors. Lawyers often dictate drafts of different petitions, pleas and suits to the typists, said Muhammad Asghar, a typist-cum-stamp vendor at the Rawalpindi District Courts.
“Almost all kinds of typing work had been transferred to computer composing from typewriters 15 years ago. We could just save samples and replicate with the relevant changes,” Asghar said, lamenting “now we have to rely on typewriters once again in the absence of power and we have to repeat the whole exercise of typing up each letter of every document”.
The typists were concerned about their livelihoods and could not wait for a resolution to the power crisis. “We have to put bread on the table for our children whether there is light or not,” said Asghar.
Shortage of electricity has been hammering the livelihood of those working on daily wages at the courts as the absence of light reduces the amount of work that can be done in courts and revenue offices are also hit as the income of stamp vendors are down, said President Rawalpindi Union of Stamp Vendors and Typists Malik Waheed Awan.
He suggested that the courts, like hospitals and jails, should also be exempted from load shedding as it affects a large number of citizens every day.
Unfortunately, until a solution to the power crisis is devised, the trusty old typewriter, once considered obsolete, is back in vogue.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2012.
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