The Pakistan Army (Urdu: پاکستان فوج Pãkistãn Fãuj; Reporting name: PA) is the principal land warfare uniformed service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It came into its modern existence from the British Indian Army that ceased to exist following the partition of British India that resulted in the parliamentary act that established the independence of Pakistan from the United Kingdom on 14 August 1947.:1–2 According to the estimation provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in 2017, the Pakistan Army has approximately 600,000 active duty personnel, supported by the Army Reserve and the National Guard. This effectively makes it the 6th largest army in world in terms of manpower. In Pakistan, the age of military enlistment is 16–23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18 according to its nation's constitution.
Emblem of the Pakistan Army
|Founded||14 August 1947|
|Size||550,000 active-duty personnel|
500,000 Reserve personnel:459
185,000 National Guard
6,500 civilian personnel
318 manned aircraft
|Part of||Ministry of Defence|
|Headquarter||Army GHQ, Rawalpindi Cantt, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Motto(s)||Arabic: إِيمَان, تقوى جهاد في سبيل الله|
English: A follower of none but Allah, the fear of Allah , strive for Allah
|Color||Green and White|
|Anniversaries||Defense Day: September 6|
|Commander-in-Chief||President Arif Alvi|
|Chief of Army Staff||General Qamar Javed Bajwa|
|Chief of General Staff||Lieutenant-General Sahir Shamshad Mirza|
|Attack||Bell AH-1 Cobra, Mil Mi-24, NESCOM Burraq, CASC Rainbow|
|Helicopter||Bell 412, Bell 407, Bell 206, Bell UH-1 Iroquois|
|Transport||Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-17, Aérospatiale Alouette III, Bell 412|
|Harbin Y-12, Cessna Citation Bravo|
The primary objective and its constitutional mission is to ensure the national security and national unity of Pakistan by defending it against external aggression or threat of war, and internal threat by maintaining peace and security within its land borders by requisitioning it by the federal government to cope with internal threats. During the events of national calamities and emergency, it conducts humanitarian rescue operations at home as well as participating in the peacekeeping missions mandated by the United Nations, most notably playing a major role in rescuing the trapped U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993 and Bosnian War in 1992–95.:70
The Pakistan Army, which is a major component of the national power alongside with the Pakistan's Navy, Air Force, and Marines, is a volunteer force which has been involved with four wars on its borders with neighboring India and several border skirmishes on its porous border with Afghanistan.:31 Since the 1960s, the elements of the army has been repeatedly deployed to act as military advisory in the Arab states during the events of Arab–Israeli wars, aided the UN-based coalition in the first Gulf War. Other notable military operations in the theater of War on Terror in the 21st century included: Zarb-e-Azb, Black Thunderstorm, and Rah-e-Nijat.
In violation of its constitutional mandate, it has overthrown elected governments overreaching its constitutional mandate protected by the Constitution to "act in aid of civilian federal government when called upon to do so", the army has been involved in enforcing martial law against the elected governments in claiming to restore law and order in the country by dismissing the legislative branch, the Parliament, four times in past decades, and has wider commercial, foreign, and political interests in the country, facing allegations of acting as state within a state.
The Pakistan Army has a regimental system but is operationally and geographically divided into command zones, with basic field of being the corps. The Constitution establishes the role of President of Pakistan to be the civilian Commander-in-Chief. The Pakistan Army is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff, by statute a four-star rank general, who is senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is appointed by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the President of Pakistan. The Pakistan Army is currently under the command of General Qamar Javed Bajwa appointed on 29 November 2016.
Existence and its constitutional role is protected by the Constitution of Pakistan, where its role to serves as land-based uniform service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. In the Chapter 2: Armed Forces in the PartXII: Miscellaneous codified the mission and purpose of the army as alongside with the other parts of the Armed Forces as such: The Constitution of Pakistan establishes the principal land warfare uniform branch in the Pakistan Armed Forces as its states:
The Armed Forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so
Division of British Indian Army and the first war with India (1947–52)
The Pakistan Army came into its modern birth from the division of the British Indian Army that ceased to exist as a result of the partition of India that resulted in the creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947.:1–2 Before even the partition took place, there were plans ahead of dividing the British Indian Army in different parts based on the religious and ethnic influence on the areas of India.:1–2
On 30 June 1947, the War Department of the British administration in India began planning the dividing of the ~400,000 men strong British Indian Army, but that only begin few weeks before the partition of India that resulted in violent religious violence in India.:1–2 The Armed Forces Reconstitution Committee (AFRC) under the chairmanship of British Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck had devised the formula to divide the military assets between India and Pakistan with ratio of 2:1, respectively.:conts.
Major division of the army was overseen by Sir Chandulal Madhavlal Trivedi, an Indian civil servant who was influential in making sure that ~260,000 men would be transferred into forming the Indian Army whilst the remainder balance going to Pakistan after the independence act was enacted by the United Kingdom on the night of 14/15 August 1947.:2–3
Command and control at all levels of the new army was extremely difficult, as Pakistan had received six armoured, eight artillery and eight infantry regiments compared to the twelve armoured, forty artillery and twenty-one infantry regiments that went to India.:155–156 In total, the size of the new army was about ~150,000 men strong.:155–156 To fill the vacancy in the command positions of the new army, around 13,500:2 military officers from the British Army had to be employed in the Pakistan Army, which was quiet in larger number, under the command of Lieutenant-General Frank Messervy, the first commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army.:70
Eminent fears of India's seizing the control over the state of Kashmir, the armed tribes and the irregular militia scouts entered in the Muslim-majority valley of Kashmir to oppose the rule of Hari Singh, a Hindu and the ruling Maharaja of Kashmir, in October 1947.:conts. Attempting to maintain his control over the princely state, Hari Singh deployed his troops to check on the tribal advances but his troops failed to halt the advancing tribes towards the valley.:40 Eventually, Hari Singh appealed to Louis Mountbatten, the Governor-General of India, requesting for the deployment of the Indian Armed Forces but Indian government maintained that the troops could be committed if Hari Singh's acceded to the Indian Union.:40 Hari Singh eventually agreed to concede into admission to the Indian Union on India government terms which eventually led to the deployment of the Indian Army in Kashmir– this agreement, however, was contested by Pakistan since the agreement did not include the consent of the Kashmiri people.:40 Sporadic fighting between militia and Indian Army broke out, and units of the Pakistan Army under Maj-Gen. Akbar Khan, eventually joined the militia in their fight against the Indian Army.:40
Although, it was Lieutenant-General Sir Frank Messervy who opposed the tribal invasion in a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1947, later leaving the command of the army in 1947,:447 in a view of that British officers in the Indian and Pakistan Army would be fighting with each other in the war front.:417 It was Lt-Gen. Douglas Gracey who reportedly disobeyed the direct orders from Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Governor-General of Pakistan, for the deployment of the army units and ultimately issued standing orders that refrained the units of Pakistan Army to further participate in the conflict.:59
By 1948, when it became imperative in Pakistan that India was about to mount a large scale operation against Pakistan, Gen. Gracey did not object the deployment of the army units in the conflict against the Indian Army.:59
This earlier insubordination of Gen. Gracey eventually forced India and Pakistan to reach a compromise through the United Nation's intervention with Pakistan controlling the Western Kashmir and India occupying the Eastern Kashmir.:417
20th Century: Cold war and conflict performances
Reorganization under the United States Army (1952–58)
At the time of the partition of British India, British Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck diveser favored the transfer of the infantry divisions to the Pakistan Army including the 7th, 8th and 9th.:55 In 1948, the British army officers in the Pakistan Army established and raised the 10th, 12th, and the 14th infantry divisions— with the 14th being established in East Bengal.:55 In 1950, the 15th Infantry Division was raised with the help from the United States Army, followed by the establishment of the 15th Lancers in Sialkot.:36 Dependence on the United States grew furthermore by the Pakistan Army despite it had worrisome concerns to the country's politicians.:36 Between 1950–54, Pakistan Army raised six more armoured regiments under the U.S. Army's guidance: including, 4th Cavalry, 12th Cavalry, 15th Lancers, and 20th Lancers.:36
After the Gracey's disobedience incident, there was a strong believe that a native commander of the army should be appointed and the Government of Pakistan had rejected the British Army Board's appointment upon the retirement of Gen. Gracey in 1951.:34 Eventually, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan approved the promotion paper of Maj-Gen. Iftikhar Khan as the first native commander-in-chief, a graduate of the Imperial Defence College in England, but died in an aviation accident en route to Pakistan from the United Kingdom.
After the death of Maj-Gen. Iftikhar, there were four senior major-generals in the army in the race of promotion but the most junior, Maj-Gen. Ayub Khan, whose name was not included in the promotion list was elevated to the promotion that resulted in a lobbying provided by Iskandar Mirza, the Defense Secretary in Ali Khan administration. A tradition of appointment based on favoritism and qualification that is still in practice by the civilian Prime Ministers in Pakistan. Ayub was promoted to the acting rank of full general to command the army as his predecessors Frank Messervy and Douglas Gracey were performing the duty of commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army in the acting rank of general, the neighbouring country India's first commanders-in-chief were same in this context.
The department of army under General Ayub Khan steered the army's needs towards heavy focused and dependence towards the imported hardware acquired from the United States, in spite of acquiring it from the domestic industry, under the Military Assistance Advisory Group attached to Pakistan in 1954–56.:36 In 1953, the 6th Infantry Division was raised and disbanded the 6th Division in 1956 followed by the disbandment of the 9th Infantry Division as the American assistance was available only for one armored and six infantry divisions.:36 During this time, an army combat brigade team was readily made available by Gen. Ayub Khan to deploy to support the American Army's fighting troops in the Korean war.:270
Working as cabinet minister in Bogra administration, Gen. Ayub's impartiality was greatly questioned by country's politicians and drove Pakistan's defence policy towards the dependence on the United States when the country becoming the party of the CENTO and the SEATO, the U.S. active measures against the expansion of the global communism.:60
In 1956, the 1st Armored Division in Multan was established, followed by the Special Forces in Cherat under the supervision of the U.S Army's Special Forces.:55:133 Under Gen. Ayub's control, the army had eradicated the British influence but invited the American expansion and had reorganized the East Bengal Regiment in East Bengal, the Frontier Force Regiment in Northern Pakistan, Kashmir Regiment in Kashmir, and Frontier Corps in the Western Pakistan. The order of precedence change from Navy–Army–Air Force to Army–Navy-Air Force, with army being the most senior service branch in the structure of the Pakistani military.:98
In 1957, the I Corps was established and headquarter was located in Punjab.:55 Between 1956–58, the schools of infantry and tactics, artillery, ordnance, armoured, medical, engineering, services, aviation, and several other schools and training centers were established with or without U.S. participation.:60
Military takeovers in Pakistan and second war with India (1958–1969)
As early as 1953, the Pakistan Army became involved in the national politics in a view of restoring the law and order situation when Governor-General Malik Ghulam, with approval from Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin, dismissed the popularly-mandated state government of Chief Minister Mumtaz Daultana in Punjab in Pakistan, and declared martial law under Lt-Gen. Azam Khan and Col. Rahimuddin Khan who successfully quelled the religious agitation in Lahore.:17–18:158 In 1954, the Pakistan Army's Military Intelligence Corps reportedly sent the intelligence report indicating the rise of communism in East Pakistan during the legislative election held in East-Bengal.:75 Within two months of the elections, Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra, with approval from Governor-General Malik Ghulam, dismissed the another popularly-mandated state government of Chief Minister Fazlul Huq in East Bengal in Pakistan, and declared governor's rule under Iskandar Mirza who relied in the Pakistan Army to manage the control and security of the East Bengal at all levels of command.:75 With General Ayub Khan becoming the Defense Minister under Ministry of Talents led by Prime Minister Bogra, the involvement of the army in the national politics grew further with the implementation of the controversial One Unit program, abolishing the status of Four Provinces, despite the strong protests by the public and the West Pakistan's politicians.:80 Major defense funding and spending was solely focused towards Ayub's army department and the air force department led by Air Marshal Asghar Khan, giving less priority to the national needs for the Navy.
From 1954–58, General Ayub was made subjected with receiving multiple service extensions by the civilian Prime Ministers first receiving in 1954 that extended his commission to last till 1958.:contents:232
The Pakistan Army under General Ayub Khan had been less supportive towards the implementation of the first set of Constitution of Pakistan that had established the civilian control of the military, and the army went onto completely endorsed and support the first martial law in the country imposed by President Iskander Mirza– the army later took control of the power from President Mirza in mere two weeks and installed Gen. Ayub as the second President.:81 The subsequent change of command resulted in Gen. Musa Khan becoming the army commander with Ayub Khan promoting himself as controversial rank of field marshal.:22 In 1969, the Supreme Court reversed its decision and overturned its convictions that called for validation of martial law in 1958.:60
The army held the referendum and tightly control the political situation through the intelligence agencies, and banned the political activities in the country.
From 1961–62, military aid continued to Pakistan from the United States and they established the 25th Cavalry, followed by the 24th Cavalry, 22nd, and 23rd Cavalry.:36 In 1960–61, the Army Special Forces was reportedly involved in taking over the control of the administration of Dir from the Nawab of Dir in Chitral in North-West Frontier Province over the concerns of Afghan meddling in the region. In 1964–65, the border fighting and tensions flared with the Indian Army with a serious incident taking place near the Rann of Kutch, followed by the failed covert action to take control of the Indian-side of Kashmir resulted in a massive retaliation by the Indian Army on 5 August 1965. On the night of 6 September 1965, India opened the front against Pakistan when the Indian Army's mechanized corps charged forwards taking over the control of the Pakistan-side of Punjab, almost reaching Lahore.:294 At the time of the conflict in 1965, Pakistan's armory and mechanized units' hardware was imported from the United States including the M4 Sherman, M24 Chaffee, M36 Jackson, and the M47 and M48 Patton tanks, equipped with 90 mm guns. In contrast, the Indian Army's armor had outdated in technology with Korean war-usage American M4 Sherman and World War II manufactured British Centurion Tank, fitted with the French-made CN-75 guns.
In spite of Pakistan enjoying the numerical advantage in tanks and artillery, as well as better equipment overall,:69 the Indian Army successfully penetrated the defences of Pakistan's borderline and successfully conquered around 360 square kilometres (139 square miles)–500 square kilometres (193 square miles) of Pakistan-side Punjab territory on the outskirts of Lahore. Major tank battle took place in Chawinda, which the newly established 1st Armoured Division was able to halt the Indian invasion.:35 Eventually, the Indian invasion of Pakistan came to halt when the Indian Army concluded the battle near Burki. With diplomatic efforts and involvement by the Soviet Union to bring two nation to end the war, the Ayub administration had reached a compromise with Shastri ministry in India when both governments signed and ratified the peace treaty in the Soviet Union. According to the Library of Congress Country Studies conducted by the Federal Research Division of the United States:
The war was militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy—on the Pakistani side, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan's army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, schooled in the belief of their own martial prowess, refused to accept the possibility of their country's military defeat by "Hindu India" and were, instead, quick to blame their failure to attain their military aims on what they considered to be the ineptitude of Ayub Khan and his government.
At the time of ceasefire declared, per neutral sources, Indian casualties stood at 3,000 whilst the Pakistani casualties were 3800. Pakistan lost between 200-300 tanks during the conflict and India lost approximately 150-190 tanks.
However, most neutral assessments agree that India had the upper hand over Pakistan when ceasefire was declared, but the propaganda in Pakistan about the war continued in favor of Pakistan Army. The war was not rationally analysed in Pakistan with most of the blame being heaped on the leadership and little importance given to intelligence failures that persisted until the debacle of the third war with India in 1971. There was no military action taken by the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan against the standing Indian Army, and at the end of the Indian army was in possession of 758.9 miles² (1,920 km²) of Pakistani territory and the Pakistan army held 210 mile² (550 km²) of Indian territory. The Indian Army's action was restricted to Punjab region of both sides with Indian Army mainly in fertile Sialkot, Lahore and Kashmir sectors, while Pakistani land gains were primarily in southern deserts opposite Sindh and in the Chumb sector near Kashmir in the north.
With the United States' arm embargo on Pakistan over the issue of the war, Pakistan Army's reliance turned over the Soviet Union and China for hardware acquisition, and correctly assessed that lack of infantry played a major role in the failure of Pakistani armour to translate its convincing material and technical superiority into a major operational or strategic success against the Indian Army. Ultimately, the army's high command established the 9th, 16th, and 17th infantry divisions in 1966–68. In 1966, the IV Corps was formed and its headquarter was established, and permanently stationed in Lahore, Punjab in Pakistan.
The army remained involved in the nation's civic affairs, and ultimately imposed the second martial law in 1969 when the writ of the constitution was abrogated by then-army commander, Gen. Yahya Khan, who took control of the nation's civic affairs after the resignation of President Ayub Khan, resulted in a massive labor strikes instigated by the Pakistan Peoples Party in West and Awami League in East.
In a lawsuit settled by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the legality of the martial law was deemed questionable as the Supreme Court settled the suit by retroactively invalidated the martial law that suspended the Constitution and notably ruled that Yahya Khan's assumption of power was "illegal usurpation".:59–60 In light of the Supreme Court's judgement, the army held the publicly televised conference when President Yahya Khan announced to hold the nationwide general elections in 1969–70.:59–60
Suppression, civil conflict in East Pakistan and Indian invasion (1969–1971)
In 1969, President Yahya Khan decided to make administrative changes in the army by appointing the Gen. Abdul Hamid Khan as the Army Chief of Staff (ACOS) of the Pakistan Army, who centralized the chain of command in Rawalpindi in a headquarters known as "High Command".:32 From 1967–69, there were series of major military exercises were conducted by the army's infantry units in East's borderline with India.:114–119 In 1970, the Pakistan army's military mission in Jordan was reportedly involved in tackling and curbing down the Palestinian infiltration in Jordan. In June 1971, the enlistment in the army had allowed the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi to raise and established the 18th infantry division, stationed in Hyderabad, Sindh, for the defence of 560 miles (900 km) from Rahimyar Khan to Rann of Kutch, and reestationed the 23rd infantry division for defending the Chhamb-Dewa Sector.
In 1971, the II Corps was established and headquartered in Multan, driven towards defending the mass incursion from the Indian Army. In December 1971, the 33rd infantry division was established from the army reserves of the II Corps, followed by raising the 37th Infantry Division. The Pakistan Army reportedly helped the Pakistan Navy to toward establishing the amphibious branch, the Pakistan Marines, whose battalion was airlifted to East alongside with the 9th Infantry Division. The other battalions of marines were stationed with the army troops in the skirts of Punjab to support the defence in the events of the war with India.
The intervention in civic matters in East-Pakistani government further grew when the major operation resulted overtaking of the government buildings, communication centers, and restricting the politicians opposing the military rule,:263 and within one month, Pakistani national security strategists realized their failure of implementing the plan which did not include the civil resistance in East, and the real nature of Indian strategy behind their support of the resistance.:2–3
The Yahya administration is widely held responsible and accused of permitting the army of committing the war crimes against the civilians in East and curbing civil liberties and human rights in Pakistan. The Eastern Command under Lt-Gen. A. A. K. Niazi, who had area responsibility of the defending the Eastern Front and had the responsibility to protect, was leveled with accusations of escalating the political violence in the East by the serving military officers, politicians, and journalists in Pakistan. Since the general elections in 1970, the army had detained several key politicians, journalists, peace activists, student unionists, and other members of civil society while curbing the freedoms of movement and speech in Pakistan.:112 In East, the unified Eastern Military Command under Lt-Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, began its engagement with the armed militia that had the direct terror support from India in April 1971, and eventually fought the war with Indian Army in December 1971.:596:596 The army, together with marines, launched ground offensives on both fronts but the Indian Army successfully held its ground and initiated well-coordinated ground operations on both fronts, initially capturing 5,795 square miles (15,010 km2):239 of Pakistan's territory; this land gained by India in Azad Kashmir, Punjab and Sindh sectors.:239
Responding to the ultimatum issued on 16 December 1971 by the Indian Army in East, Lt-Gen. Niazi agreed towards conceding the defeat and moved towards signing the documented surrender with the Indian Army to effectively and unilaterally ending the armed resistance that led the creation of Bangla Desh, only after India's official engagement that lasted 13-days. It was reported that the Eastern Command had reportedly surrendered ~93,000–97,000 uniform personnel to Indian Army– the largest surrender in a war by any country after the World War II. Casualties inflicted to army's I Corps, II Corps, and Marines did not sit well with President Yahya Khan who turned over the control of the civic government to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto through an executive decree.
Commenting on the defeat, the military observer in the Pakistan Army, Major A.H. Amin, reported that the war strategists in the army had not seriously considered a full-fledged invasion from India until December 1971, because it was presumed that the Indian military would not risk intervention by China or the United States, and the high command failed to realize that the Chinese would be unable to intervene during the winter months of November to December, due to snowbound Himalayan passes, and the Americans had not made any real effort to persuade India against attacking East Pakistan.
Restructuring of armed forces, stability and restoration (1971–1977)
In January 1972, the Bhutto administration formed the POW Commission to investigate the numbers of war prisoners held by the Indian Army while requesting the Supreme Court of Pakistan to investigate the causes of the war failure with India in 1971.:7–10 The Supreme Court formed the famed War Enquiry Commission (WEC) that identified many failures, fractures, and faults within the institution of the department of the army and submitted recommendations to strengthened the armed forces overall. Under the Yahya administration, the army was highly demoralized and there were unconfirmed reports of mutiny by soldiers against the senior army generals at the Corps garrisons and the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi.:5
Upon returning from the quick visit in the United States in 1971, President Bhutto forcefully dishonorably discharge the commission of seven senior army generals, which he called the "army waderas" (lit. Warlords).:71 In 1972, the army leadership under Lt-Gen. Gul Hassan refrained from acting under Bhutto administration's order to tackle the labor strikes in Karachi and to detained the labor union leaders in Karachi, instead advising the federal government to use the Police Department to take the actions.:7
On 2 March 1972, President Bhutto dismissed the commission of Lt-Gen. Gul Hassan as the army commander, replacing with Lt-Gen. Tikka Khan who was later promoted to four-star rank and appointed as the first Chief of Army Staff (COAS).:8 The army under Bhutto administration was reconstructed in its structure, improving its fighting ability, and reorganized with the establishment of the X Corps in Punjab in 1974, followed by the V Corps in Sindh and XI Corps in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan in 1975. The trilateral agreement in India, the Bhutto administration transferred all the war prisoners back to the country but the military struggle to fill in the vacancies and employments due to some suffering from the PTSD and other mental health complications, while others simply did not wanted to serve in the military any longer.:19–20 Under Bhutto administration, the army engage in self-reliance production and eventually reached to China for establishing the material and metal industries to overcome the material shortage and manufacturing of weapons industry in the country.
In 1973, the Bhutto administration dismissed the state government in Balochistan that resulting in another separatist movement, culminating the series of army actions in largest province of the country that ended in 1977.:319 With the military aid receiving from Iran including the transfer of the Bell AH-1 Cobra to Aviation Corps,:319 the conflict came to end with the Pakistani government offering the general amnesties to separatists in the 1980s.:151:319:319 Over the issue of Baloch conflict, the Pakistani military remained engage in Omani civil war in favor of Omani government until the rebels were defeated in 1979. The War Enquiry Commission noted the lack of joint grand strategy between the four-branches of the military during the first, the second, and the third wars with India, recommending the establishment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee to maintain strategic military communication between the inter-services and the federal government, that is to be chaired by the appointed Chairman joint chiefs as the government's principal military adviser.:145 In 1976, the first Chairman joint chiefs was appointed from the army with Gen. Muhammad Shariff taking over the chairmanship, but resigned a year later.:145 In 1975, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto controversially superseded at least seven senior army generals to promote Lt-Gen. Zia-ul-Haq to the four-star rank, appointing him the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in spite of army recommendations forwarded to the federal government.:24
In the 1970s, the army's engineering formations, notable the Corps of Engineers, played a crucial role in supporting the clandestine atomic bomb program to reach its parity and feasibility, including the constructions of iron-steel tunnels in the secretive nuclear weapons-testing sites in 1977–78.:144–145
PAF and Navy fighter pilots voluntarily served in Arab nations' militaries against Israel in the Yom Kippur War (1973). In the 1973 war one of the PAF pilots, Flt. Lt. Sattar Alvi flying a MiG-21 shot down an Israeli Air Force Mirage and was honoured by the Syrian government.
Middle East operations, peacekeeping missions, and covert actions (1977–1999)
The political instability increased in the country when the conservative alliance refused to accept the voting turnout in favor of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after the general elections held in 1977.:25–26 The army, under Gen. Zia-ul-Haq–the army chief, began planning the military takeover of the federal government under Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto, eventually leading the coup d'état that suspended the writ of the Constitution amid responding to the call from one of the opposition leader of threatening to call for another civil war.:27 The military interference in civic matters grew further when the martial law was extended for an infinite period despite maintaining that the elections to be held in 90-days prior.:30–31 At the request from the Saudi monarchy, the Zia administration deployed the company of the special forces to end seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca from Islamists.:265–280
The army under President Zia weakened due to the army officers were needed in running the affairs of civic government and the controversial military courts that held trials of the communists, dissidents, and the oppositions of Zia's administration.:31–32 In 1984–85, Pakistan lost the control of her northern glaciers due to the successful expedition and penetration by the Indian Army, and army had to engage in years long difficult battles with Indian Army to regain their areas from the Indian Army.:45 Concerns over the military officers and army personnel needed to counter the further advances by the Indian Army in Northern fronts in 1984, the martial law was lifted following the referendum that approved Zia's presidency and provided a way of holding the general elections in 1985.:45 The military control the under army administration had successfully stabilized the law and order in Balochistan despite the massive illegal immigration from Afghanistan, and issued the general amnesties to separatists and rebels. To address the Afghan containment and security, the army established the XII Corps in 1985 that is permanently headquartered in Quetta, that is designed to provide defence against the infiltration by the Afghan National Army from Afghanistan.
In 1985, the United States approved the military aid package, worth $4.02 billion, to Pakistan when the mujaheddin fighting with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan increased and intensified, with Soviet Army began violating and attacking the insurgents in the tribal areas in Pakistan.:45–46 In 1986, the tensions with India increased when the Indian Army's standing troops mobilized in combat position in Pakistan's southern frontier with India failing to give notification of exercise to Pakistan prior.:46 In 1987–88, the XXX Corps, headquartered in North of Punjab, and the XXXI Corps, headquartered in South of Punjab, was raised and established to provide defence against the Indian army's mass infiltration.
After the aviation accident that resulted in passing of President Zia in 1988, the army organized the massive military exercise with the Pakistan Air Force to evaluate the technological assessment of the weapon systems and operational readiness.:57 In the 1980s, Pakistan Army remained engage in the affairs of Middle East, first being deployed in Saudi Arabia during the Iran–Iraq War in 1980–1988, and later overseeing operational support measures and combat actions during the Gulf War in 1990–91.
The period from 1991–98 saw the army engaged in professionalism and proved its fighting skills in the Somalian theater (1991–94), Bosnian-Serb War (on Bosnian side from 1994–98), and the other theaters of the Yugoslav Wars, as part of the United Nation's deployment.:69–73 In 1998, the army's Corps of Engineers played a crucial role in providing the military administration of preparing the atomic weapon-testing in Balochistan when the air force's bombers flown and airlifted the atomic devices. The controversial relief of Gen. Jehangir Karamat by the Sharif administration reportedly disturbed the balance of the civil-military relations with the junior most Lt-Gen. Pervez Musharraf replacing it as chairman joint chiefs and the army chief in 1999.
In May 1999, the army's northern light infantry, the paramilitary unit at that time, slipped into Kargil that resulted in heavy border fighting with the Indian Army, inflicted with heavy casualties on both sides. The ill-devised plan without meaningful consideration of the outcomes of the border war with India, the army under Chairman joint chiefs Gen. Pervez Musharraf (also army chief at that time) failed to its combat performance and suffered with similar outcomes as the previous plan in 1965, with the American military observers in the Pakistan military famously commenting to news channels in Pakistan: Kargil was yet another example of Pakistan's (lack of) grand strategy, repeating the follies of the previous wars with India.":200
After its commendable performance, the President of Pakistan commissioned the Northern Light Infantry as a regular regiment in the army and its personnel eventually becoming officers and enlisted personnel in the army in 1999.
21st Century: War performances
Homegrown religious insurgency and War on terror (2001–Present)
In October 1999, the army engaged in another military takeover of the federal government from the Sharif administration when the Army GHQ refused to accept the relief of commission of Gen. Pervez Musharraf over his failure in succeeding the control of Kargil sector from India.:142 This controversial takeover of the federal government was subjected to a lengthy and an expensive lawsuit fought between the lawyers of the department of army and the former Sharif administration at the Supreme Court, with the landmark verdict rendered in 2009 ultimately sided and favored the Sharif administration's arguments as the Justices of the Supreme Court accepted the fact that the army's takeover was in fact a direct violation of the constitution and breach of its given constitutional mandate.:119–120:112–115
Responding to the terror attacks in New York in the United States, the army joined the combat actions in Afghanistan with the United States and simultaneously engage in military standoff with Indian Army in 2001–02. In 2004–06, the military observers from the army were deployed to guide the Sri Lankan army to end the civil war with the Tamil fighters.
To overcome the governance crises in 2004–07, the Musharraf administration appointed several army officers in the civilian institutions with some receiving extensions while others were deployed from their combat service– thus affecting the fighting capabilities and weakening the army.:37 Under Gen. Musharraf's leadership, the army's capabilities fighting the fanatic Talibans and Afghan Arab fighters in Pakistan further weakened and suffered serious setbacks in gaining control of the tribal belt that fell under the control of the Afghan Arabs and Uzbek fighters.:37 From 2006–09, the army fought the series of bloody battles with the fanatic Afghan Arabs and other foreign fighters including the army action in a Red Mosque in Islamabad to control the religious fanaticism.:37 With the controversial assassination of Baloch politician in 2006, the army had to engage in battles with the Baloch separatists fighting for the Balochistan's autonomy.:37
In April 2007, the major reorganization of the commands of the army was taken place under Gen. Ahsan S. Hyatt, the vice army chief under Gen. Musharraf, establishing the Southern, Central, and the Northern Commands to "improve the operational efficiency and working of its land forces." With Gen. Musharraf's resignation and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani becoming the army chief, the army realigned itself to review its combat policies and withdrew officers in civilian institutions to focus on its primary constitutional mission to protect and responsible in 2009–14.:37 In 2012, there was a serious accident involving the entire battalion from the Northern Light Infantry when the avalanche struck the battalion base in Siachen, entrapping 135 soldiers and including several army officers.
In 2013–16, the homegrown far-right guerrilla war with the Taliban, Afghan Arabs, and the Central Asian fighters took the decisive turn in favor of the army under Sharif administration, eventually gaining the control of the entire country and established the writ of the constitution in the affected lawless regions. As of its current deployment as of 2019, the army remained engage in border fighting with the Indian Army while deploying its combat strike brigade teams in Saudi Arabia in a response of Saudi intervention in Yemen.
UN peacekeeping missions
In the wake of the new world power equilibrium, a more complex security environment has emerged. It is characterized by growing national power politics
The table below shows the current deployment of Pakistani forces in UN Peacekeeping missions.
|Start of operation||Name of Operation||Location||Conflict||Contribution|
|1999||United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)||Second Congo War||3,556 Troops.|
|2003||United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)||Second Liberian Civil War||2,741 Troops.|
|2004||United Nations Operation in Burundi ONUB||Burundi Civil War||1,185 Troops.|
|2004||United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI)||Civil war in Côte d'Ivoire||1,145 Troops.|
|2005||United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS)||Second Sudanese Civil War||1,542 Troops.|
Command and control structure
Leadership in the army is provided by the Minister of Defense, usually leading and controlling the direction of the department of the army from the Army Secretariat-I at the Ministry of Defense, with the Defense Secretary who is responsible for the bureaucratic affairs of the army's department. The Constitution allows the President of Pakistan, an elected civilian official, to act as the civilian Commander-in-Chief while the Prime Minister, an elected civilian, to act as the Chief Executive. The Chief of Army Staff, an appointed four-star rank army general, is the highest general officer who acts as the principal military adviser on the expeditionary and land/ground warfare affairs, and a senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee– a military body that advises and briefs the elected civilian Prime Minister and its executive cabinet on national security affairs and operational military matters under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
The single combat headquarter, the Army GHQ, is located in Rawalpindi Cantonment in Punjab in Pakistan, in the vicinity of the Joint Staff Headquarters. The Chief of Army Staff controls and commands the army at all levels of operational command, and is assisted the number of Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) who are commissioned at the three-star rank generals.
- Chief of General Staff, under whom the Military Operations and Intelligence Directorates function.
- Chief of Logistics Staff.
- Quartermaster General (QMG).
- Master General of Ordnance (MGO).
- Engineer-in-Chief, the chief army engineer and topographer.
- Judge Advocate General.
- Military Secretary.
- Comptroller of Civilian Personnel.
- Note: See Chief of Army Staff for more command PSO-level appointments
In 2008, a major introduction was made in the military bureaucracy at the Army GHQ under Gene. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, when two new PSO positions were introduced: the Inspector-General of Arms and the Inspector-General Communications and IT.
The commissioned army ranks and insignia authorized in the Pakistan Army are modified and patterned on the British Army's officer ranks and insignia system. There are several paths of becoming the commissioned officer in the army including the admission and required graduation from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Cadet Colleges or the Officer Candidate Schools (OCS i.e. Sui or Jhelum).:134 To become an officer in the army, the academic four-year college degree is required for the candidates to become officers in the army, and therefore they are designated by insignia unique to their staff community.:134
Selection to the officer candidates is highly competitive with ~320–700 individuals are allowed to entered in the Pakistan Military Academy annually, with a small number of already graduated physicians, specialists, veterinaries and the engineers from the civilian universities are directly recruited in the administrative staff corps such as Medical Corps, Veterinary Corps, Engineering Corps, Dental Corps— and these graduated individuals are the heart of the administrative corps.:293 The product of a highly competitive selection process, members of the staff corps have completed twelve years of education in their respected fields (such as attending the schools and universities), and has to spend two years at the Pakistan Military Academy, with their time divided about equally between military training and academic work to bring them up to a baccalaureate education level, which includes English-language skills.:293 The Department of Army also offers employment to civilians in financial management, accountancy, engineering, construction, and administration, and has currently employed 6,500 civilians.
The military officers in the Pakistani military seeks retirement between the ages of forty-two and seventy , depending on their ranks, and often seeks employment in the federal government or the private sector where the pay scales are higher as well as opportunity for gain considerably greater.:294
Estimations by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) the Pakistan Army's combined strength of the standing army is ~815,000 including the active duty personnels from the Regular Army, Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and is additionally supported by the ~70,000 personnel from the Frontier Corps–the military provost under the command of the Pakistan Army as of 2018.
The Pakistan Army uniquely uses the junior commissioned officer (JCO) ranks, equivalent of the Warrant officers or the Limited duty officers in the United States military, inherited from the former British Indian Army introduced by the British Army in India between the enlisted and officer ranks.:134 The JCOs are single-track specialists with their subject of expertise in their particular part of the job and initially appointed (NS1) after risen from their enlisted ranks, receiving the promotion (SM3) from the commanding officer.:134
The usage of the junior commissioned officer is the continuation of the former Viceroy's commissioned officer rank, and the JCO ranking system benefited the army since there was a large gap existed between the officers and the enlisted personnel at the time of the establishment of the new army in 1947.:134 Over the several years, the JCOs rank system has outlived its usefulness because of the educational level of the enlisted personnel has risen and army has more comfortably adopted the U.S. Army's ranking platform than the British.:134 Promotion to the JCOs/WO ranks remains a powerful and influential incentive for those enlisted personnel desire not to attend the accredit four-year college.:134
The recruiting and enlistment in the army is nationwide but the army's recruiting command maintains an ethnic balance, with those who turned away are encourage to join the either the Marines or the Air Force.:292 Most enlisted personnel had come from the poor and rural families with many had only rudimentary literacy skills in the past, but with the increase in the affordable education have risen to the matriculation level (12th Grade).:292 In the past, the army recruits had to re-educate the illiterate personnel while processing them gradually through a paternalistically run regimental training center, teaching the official language, Urdu, if necessary, and given a period of elementary education before their military training actually starts.:292
In the thirty-six-week training period, they develop an attachment to the regiment they will remain with through much of their careers and begin to develop a sense of being a Pakistani rather than primarily a member of a tribe or a village.:292 Enlisted personnel usually serve for eighteen to twenty years, before retiring or gaining commission, during which they participate in regular military training cycles and have the opportunity to take academic courses to help them advance.:292
The noncommissioned officers (or enlists) wear respective regimental color chevrons on the right sleeve.:292 Center point of the uppermost chevron must remain 10 cm from the point of the shoulder.:292 The Company/battalion appointments wear the appointments badges on the right wrist.:292 Pay scales and incentives are greater and attractive upon enlistment including the allocation of land, free housing, and financial aid to attend the colleges and universities.:294 Retirement age for the enlisted personnel varies and depends on the enlisted ranks that they have attained during their services.:294
|Structure of Enlisted Ranks of the Pakistan Army|
|Insignia||No insignia||No insignia|
|Title||Battalion Havildar Major||Battalion Quartermaster Havildar||Company Havildar Major||Company Quartermaster Havildar||Havildar||Naik||Lance Naik||Sepoy||No Equivalent|
Recruitment and training
Prior to August 1947, the British Army's recruiting administration had recruited the enlists from the districts of the Jhelum, Rawalpindi, and Campbellpur that dominated the recruitment flows. From 1947–71, the Pakistan Army was predominantly favored to recruit from Punjab and was popular in the country as the "Punjabi Army" because of heavy recruiting interests coming from the rural and poor families of villages in Punjab as well as being the most populous province of Pakistan.:149
Even as of today, the Pakistan Army's recruiters struggle to enlist citizens and their selfless commitment to the military from the urban areas (i.e. Karachi and Peshawar) where the preference of the college education is quiet popular (especially attending post-graduate schools in the United States and the English-speaking countries) as well as working in the settled private industry for lucrative salaries and benefits, while the military enlistment still comes from the most rural and remote areas of Pakistan, where commitment to the military is much greater than in the metropolitan cities.:31
After 1971, the Bhutto administration introduced the Quota system and drastically reduced the officers and enlists from Punjab and gave strong preference to residents in Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and such policy continue to exists to maintain an ethnic balance in the army.:163 Those who are turned away are strongly encourage to join the Marines Corps or the Air Force.
In 1991, the department of army drastically reduced the size of personnel from Punjab, downsizing the army personnel to 63%, and issues acceptable medical waivers interested enlists while encourage citizens of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. This decision has given a fair chance to every citizen of Pakistan to be part of the Pakistan Army as each district possesses a fixed percentage of seats in all branches of the Army, as per census records. By 2003–05, the department of army continued its policy by drastically downsizing the personnel from Punjab to 43–70%.
The Department of Army has relaxes its recruitment and medical standards in Sindh and Balochistan where the height requirement of 5 feet 4 inches is considered acceptable even with the enlists educational level at eight grade is acceptable for the waiver; since the army recruiters takes responsibility of providing education to 12th grade to the interested enlists from Balochistan and Sindh.:31 In Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the recruitment is popular, the height requirement remains to be at 5 feet 6 inches with minimum education of 10th grade.:31
The army has only one bootcamp that is located in Kakul at the Pakistan Military Academy where basic training takes place. Such training usually lasts for two years until the cadets are able to meet their graduation requirements from the Academy. All the recruits, enlists, and officer candidates have to attend and be trained at the PMA regardless of attending the military schools and colleges in other parts of the country.
It is one of the longest boot camp in the country, and the boot camp training continues for two years until the cadet is being able pass out from the academy, before selecting the college to start their career of their choice in the military.
Women and religion in the Pakistan Army
Since the establishment of the army in 1947, the women have been part of the Pakistan Army, and currently there are ~4,000 women are serving in administrative positions in the department of the army. In the past, the women were inducted in the Women's Guard Section of the Army National Guard who were trained in medical works, welfare, and clerical positions but the combat positions have been opened to women due to shortage in the qualifications filled by males in the combat positions.
In the Islamic world, Pakistan has a distinction of appointing and promoting women to the general officer ranks, the major-generals, in the army, and Major-General Shahida Malik was the first woman army officer and military physician by profession who was promoted to the two-star rank. Major-General Shahida Malik, a military physician by profession, was Pakistan's first female two-star army general. In 2015, Pakistan Army reportedly trained a sizeable contingent of women unit in infantry, airborne, and sniper missions, and are deployed in combat zone alongside with the males.
The military service with the army does not restrict to the Muslims but is open to other religions in Pakistan and Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Christians have served in the army at the commanding level positions. The religious services in the military is provided by the Chaplain Corps for Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians.
In 1993, Major-General Julian Peter was the first Christian to be appointed at the command position while Hercharn Singh became the first Sikh to be commissioned in the army. Between 1947–2000, a policy of restricting Hindus prior enlisting in the Pakistan Army was in practice until the policy was reversed by the federal government. In 2006, army recruiters began recruiting Hindus into the army and people of all faith or no faith can be promoted to any rank or commanding position in the army.
Components and structure
Army components and branches
Since its organization that commenced in 1947, the army's functionality is broadly maintained in two main branches: Combat Arms and Administrative Services.:46:570:127 From 1947–71, the Pakistan Army had responsibility of maintaining the British-built Forts, till the new and modern garrisons were built in post 1971, and performs the non-combat duties such as engineering and construction.
Currently, the Army's combat services are kept in active-duty personnel and reservists that operates as members of either Reserves and National Guard. In addition, the workforce of the army is supported by the Frontier Corps (a paramilitary) and Rangers that performs military police duty within the state governments in Pakistan to help control and manage the law and control situation.
The two main branches of the army, Combat Arms and Administrative Services, are also consists of into several branches and functional areas that includes the army officers, junior commissioned (or warrant officers), and the enlisted personnel who are classified from their branches in their uniforms and berets. In Pakistan Army, the careers are not restricted to military officials but are extended to civilian personnel and contractors who can progress in administrative branches of the army.
|Combat Arms||Insignia||Administrative Services||Insignia|
|Armoured Corps (AR)||Services (ASC)|
|Air Defence Corps (AD)||Military Police (MP)|
|Aviation Corps (AVN)||Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME)|
|Artillery Corps (Art)||Medical Corps (AMC)|
|Signals Corps (Sigs)||Education Corps (EC)|
|Engineer Corps (EN)||Remount Veterinary and Farms (RVF)|
|Infantry Regiments (Inf)||Ordnance Corps (AOC)|
|Special Forces (SSG)||Military Intelligence Corps (MI)|
|Coast Guards (CG)||Chaplain Corps (ChC)|
|—||—||Dental Corps (DC)|
The reorganization of the position standing army in 2008, the Pakistan Army now operates six tactical commands, each commanded by the GOC-in-C, with a holding three-star rank: Lieutenant-General. The each of the six tactical commands directly reports to the office of Chief of Army Staff, operating directly at the Army GHQ. Each command consists of two or more Corps– an army field formation responsible for zone within a command theater.
There are nine active Corps in the Pakistan Army, composing of mixed infantry, mechanized, armored, artillery divisions, while the Air Defense, Aviation, and the Aviation and Special Forces are organized and maintained in separate level of their commands.
Established and organized in March 2000, the Army Strategic Forces Command is exercise its authority for responsible training in safety, weapons deployments, and activation of the atomic missile systems.
The peacetime commands and the Corps allocated to each command are given below.
|Regional Combat Commands||Reporting Command Combat Headquarters||Corps and subordinate combat units and arms||Corps Commanders||Corps Headquarters|
|Punjab Strike Command |
(Formerly Central Command)
|Rawalpindi Cantt.||Lt-Gen. N.Z. Manj|
Lt-Gen. Naeem Ashraf
|Punjab Holding Command||Lahore Catt.||Lt-Gen. Majid Ehsan|
Lt-Gen. Aamir Abbasi
Lt-Gen. Javed Bukhari
|Sindh Command||Karachi Cantt.||Lt-Gen. Humayun Aziz||Karachi|
(Formerly Northern Command)
|Rawalpindi Cantt.||Lt-Gen. Bilal Akbar|
Maj-Gen. Ehsan Khan
|Western Command||Quetta Cantt.||Lt-Gen. A. S. Bajwa|
Lt-Gen. Shaheen Mehmud
|Strategic Command||Chaklala Cantt.||Lt-Gen. H. Z. Khan|
Lt-Gen. Qazi Ikram Ahmad
Notes: Sources: GlobalSecurity.org and the textbook: Pakistan Army: Modernisation, Arms Procurement and Capacity Building.
Combat maneuvering organizations
In an events involving the large and massive foreign invasion by the Indian Army charging towards the Pakistan-side Punjab sector, the Pakistan Army maintains the Pakistan Army Reserves as a strategic reserve component for conducting the offense and defense measures against the advancing enemy.
In the infantry branch, there are originally six regiments are in fact the administrative military organization that are not combat field formation, and the size of the regiments are vary as their rotation and deployments including assisting the federal government in civic administration.
In each of original six regiments, there are multiple battalions that are associated together to form an infantry regiment and such battalions do not fight together as one formation as they are all deployed over various formations in shape of being part of the brigade combat team (under a Brigadier), division, or a being part of much larger corps.
After the independence from the Great Britain in 1947, the Pakistan Army begin to follow the U.S. Army's standing formation of their Infantry Branch, having the infantry battalion serving for a time period under a different command zone before being deployed to another command zone, usually in another sector or terrain when its tenure is over.
|The Infantry Regiments by seniority||Insignia||Activation Date||Commanding Regimental Center||Motto||War Cry|
|Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa||Urdu: نارا-یا-حیدری یا علی |
(English lit. Ali the Great)
غازی یا شہید
(English lit. Honored or Martyr)
کی کی بلوچ
(English lit. Of the Baloch)
|Frontier Force Regiment|
(English lit. Lucky)
|Azad Kashmir Regiment|
|Northern Light Infantry Regiment|
|Gilgit, Gilgit Baltistan|
(English lit. Consistent)
|Other type of Regiments||Insignia||Activation Date||Regimental Center||Motto||War Cry|
|Regiment of Artillery|
|Mujahid Force Regiment|
|Bhimber, Azad Kashmir|
|Regiment of Air Defense|
Special operations forces
The Pakistan Army has a military division dedicated towards conducting the unconventional and asymmetric warfare operations, established with the guidance provided by the United States Army in 1956. This competitive special operation force is known as the Special Services Group (Army SSG, distinguishing the Navy SSG), and is assembled in eight battalions, commanded by the Lieutenant-Colonel, with addition of three companies commanded by the Major or a Captain, depending on the availability.
The special operation forces training school is located in Cherat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan where the training and education on the philosophy of military arts and tactics takes place by the army instructors.
Each battalion in the Pakistan Army Special Forces is specifically trained for a specific type of operation, and each battalion is a specialist in their nature of conducting the operation. Due to their distinctive service headgear, the Army SSG is colloquially known as the Maroon Berets. In 2000, the Pakistan Army established the Army Strategic Forces Command that is charged with overseeing the operational readiness and various deployment of the Army SSG, Special Forces, Special Support Group, Army Rangers, and the Strategic Plans Division Force— the CBRN defense component of the department of army.
Besides the Army SSG and the Special Forces (SF), the Pakistan Army has trained a specific Rangers team that is especially trained in counter tactics, and is trained for carrying out the difficult counter-terrorism operation involving the civilian hostages in Karachi, and helping the state governments in Sindh and Punjab maintaining the law and order situation intact.
Implementing the counterterrorism tactics in 2004, the Army has been training the specific Army Ranger company, known as the Rangers Anti-terrorist Force (ATF), alongside with the Army SSG company, often conduct training with the U.S. Army Ranger in terror and infantry tactics.
Combat doctrine (1947–2007)
In 1947, the Pakistan Army's war strategists developed a combat doctrine which was called "The Riposte", which featured a strategy of "offensive-defense".:310 In 1989, the first and official implementation of this strategy was refined and featured in the major military exercise, Exercise Zab-e-Momin, organized under Lt-Gen. Hamid Gul– this combat doctrine was fully focused in engaging towards its primary adversary, Indian Army.:310
In 1989–99, the JS HQ, working with the Army GHQ to identify several key factors considering the large conventional attacks from the better equipped and numerically advantage adversary, the Indian Army, derived the combat doctrine to assess the vulnerability of Pakistan where its vast majority of population centers as well as political and military targets lies closer to the international border with India.
The national security strategists explored the controversial idea of strategic depth in form of fomenting friendly foreign relations with Afghanistan and Iran while India substantially enhancing its offensive capabilities designed in its doctrine, the Cold Start Doctrine. Due to the numerical advantage of Indian Army over its small adversary, the Pakistan Army, the Pakistani national security analysts noted that any counterattack on advancing Indian Army would be very tricky and miscalculated– the ideal response of countering the attacks from the Indian ground forces would be operationalizing the battle-ranged Hatf-IA/Hatf-IB missiles. The Pakistan Army Reserves, supported by the Army National Guard, and India's Territorial Army would eventually forward towards the defensive positions and fortifications in less than 24 hours. However, the Corps in both nation's commands with large stockpiles of ordnance will take between 24–72 hours for logistically mobilized its combat assets after the orders are authorized; therefore, both nation's armies will be evenly matched in the first 24 hours since the Pakistani units have to travel a shorter distance to their forward positions.
The war doctrine of "offensive-defense" entailed Pakistan of not waiting to be attacked but instead launching an offense of its own, with an offense being a limited advance along with narrow fronts aiming towards occupying enemy territory near the border to a depth of 40–50 km. Pakistani national security calculated that since Indian forces will not reach their maximum strength near the border for another 48–72 hours, Pakistan might have parity or numerical superiority against the India. Earlier studies in "Offensive-defense" doctrine validated results of finding and keeping the enemy forces off-balance as the Indian Army engage in containing the Pakistan Army forces into its territory rather than concentrating towards launching an attack onto Pakistan's territory. The strategic calculations by Pakistan Army's war strategists hoped that the Pakistan Army's soldiers would keep the Indian Army soldiers engage in fighting on the Indian territory, therefore the collateral damage being suffered by the Indian Army at most. An important aspect in "offensive-defense" doctrine was to seize sizable Indian territory which gives Pakistan an issue to negotiate with India in the aftermath of a ceasefire brought about by international pressure after 3–4 weeks of fighting.
Due to fortification of LoC in Kashmir and difficult terrains in Northern Punjab, the Army created the Pakistan Army Reserves in the 1990s that is concentrated in desert terrain of Sindh-Rajasthan sector, The Army Reserve South of the Pakistan Army Reserves is grouped in several powerful field-level corps and designed to provide a defensive maneuvers in case of war with the Indian Army.
The limitation and constraint of the "offensive-defense" doctrine was eventually exposed by the Indian Army's performance in the Kargil war in 1999, as Indian Army decided to take an action with full offense that forced Pakistan Army to go into full defense. Without the synergy between the Air Force, Navy and Marines, the doctrine became redundant, and the Pakistan Army had to rely on international pressure on India to desist from an assault as it exactly happened, according to the Indian author, RSN Singh in 2011.
Threat Matrix (2010–Present)
After the failure of the "Offensive-defense" in 1999, the national security institutions engaged in critical thinking to evaluate new doctrine that would provide a comprehensive grand strategy against the infiltrating enemy forces, and development began 2010–11 for the new combat doctrine. In 2013, the new combat doctrine, the Threat Matrix, was unveiled by the ISPR, that first time, in its history, the army's national security analysts realized that Pakistan faces the real threat from within, a threat that is concentrated in areas along western borders. The Threat Matrix doctrine analyze the military's comprehensive operational priorities and goes beyond in comprehensively describing both existential and non-existential threats to the country.
Based on that strategy in 2013, the Pakistani military organized a massive four-tier joint-military exercise, code named: Exercise Azm-e-Nau, in which the aim was to update the military's "readiness strategy for dealing with the complex security threat environment" was evaluate simultaneously by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. In successive years, the Pakistani military combined all the Army-Navy-Air Force-Marines military exercises into joint warfare exercise, in which, all four branches participating in the military exercise regardless of the terrain, platform, and the control of command of the military exercise.
The objective of the exercise was to assess military tactics, procedures and techniques in the event of an emerging threat environment, and explore joint operations strategies in response to combating the threat with all four branches of the military: the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy.
Corporate and business activities
According to the international news agencies and investigation reports by international financial regulatory institutions, the department of army controls, manages, and runs the large number of business enterprises and conglomerates, that is estimated to be revenue at US$ 20 billion in 2007–08. One of the largest real estate conglomerate that is run by the army is known as the Defense Housing Authority (DHA), as well as the Army Welfare Trust (AWT), and out 46 housing schemes directly built by the armed forces, none of the scheme is for ordinary soldiers or civilian officers and personnel employed by the army.
The Fauji Foundation (lit. Military Foundation) has shares in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and involves in manufacturing and selling the process meat, stud, and dairy farms meant for the military's own use while there are enterprises perform functions in local civilian economy such as bakeries, security and the banking services. The army factories managed by the Fauji Foundation produces such goods such as sugar, Fauji Fertilizer, brass castings, and sells its products to civilian consumers albeit at prices higher than those charged from military personnel. The Pakistani military has a largest shares in the PSX and has financial stakes in commercial banking, airlines, steel businesses, cement, telecoms, petroleum and energy, education, sports, health care and even chains of grocery shops and bakeries.
Involvement in Pakistani society
The Pakistan Army has played an integral part in the civil society of Pakistan, almost since its inception. In 1996, General Jehangir Karamat described Pakistan armed forces' relations with the society:
In my opinion, if we have to repeat of past events then we must understand that Military leaders can pressure only up to a point. Beyond that their own position starts getting undermined because the military is after all is a mirror image of the civil society from which it is drawn.
In times of national calamities and natural disasters, including the devastating earthquake in 2005 or the great floods in 2010, the army engineering corps, medical, logistical personnel, and other armed forces services have played a major role in area rehabilitation and reconstruction of cities and towns while distributing the relief goods and military rations to the affected civilians. Since 1948, the army has been involved in providing power generation to affected areas, building dams, and construction of towns and cities, and conducting rescue operations for evacuations of general public and animals from endangerment.
To coordinate and manage the proper relief operations, reconstructions, and rehabilitation, the federal government appoints the active-duty officers, as an external billets appointments, to lead federal agencies such as ERRA and the NDMA. Besides relief activities in the country, the Pakistan Army has also engaged in other parts of the world such as coordinating and leading the relief efforts in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka after these countries were affected by the underwater earthquake that resulted in tsunami in 2004.
Education and training
Schooling, teachings, and institutions
The Pakistan Army offers wide range of extensive and lucrative careers in the military to young high school graduates and the college degree holders upon enlistment, and Pakistan Army operates the large number of training schools in all over the country. The overall directions and management of the army training schools are supervised and controlled by the policies devised by the Education Corps, and philosophy on instructions in army schools involves in modern education with combat training.
At the time of its establishment of the Pakistan Army in 1947, the Command and Staff College in Quetta was inherited to Pakistan, and is the oldest college established during the colonial period in India in 1905. The British officers in the Pakistan Army had to established the wide range of schools to provide education and to train the army personnel in order to raise the dedicated and professional army. The wide range of military officers in the Pakistani military were sent to attend the staff colleges in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada who were trained and excelled in courses in armory, infantry, artillery, and ordnance in 1950–1961.:293
The United States eventually took over the overall training programs in the Pakistan Army under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) but the U.S. coordination with Pakistan varied along with the vicissitudes of the military relations between two countries.:12 In the 1980s, the army had sent ~200 army officers abroad annually, two-thirds actually decided to attend schooling in the United States but the cessation of the United States' aid to Pakistan led the suspension of the IMET, leading Pakistani military officers to choose the schooling in the United Kingdom.:294
After the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, the IMET cooperation was again activated with army officers begin attending the schooling in the United States but the training program was again suspended in 2018 by the Trump administration, leveling accusations on supporting armed Jihadi groups in Afghanistan.
During the reconstruction and reorganization of the armed forces in the 1970s, the army established more training schools as below:
The Pakistan Army's training schools are not restricted to the department of army only but inter-services officers and personnel have been trained and educated as part of the interdepartmental cooperation. The Pakistan Army takes responsibility of providing the military training and education to Pakistan Marines at their School of Infantry and Tactics, and military officers in other branches have attended and qualified psc from the Command and Staff College in Quetta. Officers holding the ranks of captains, majors, lieutenants and lieutenant-commanders in marines are usually invited to attend the courses at the Command and Staff College in Quetta to be qualified as psc.:9
Established in 1971, the National Defense University (NDU) in Islamabad is the senior and higher education learning institution that provides the advance critical thinking level and research-based strategy level education to the senior military officers in the Pakistani military. The NDU in Islamabad is a significant institution of higher learning in understanding the institutional norms of military tutelage in Pakistan because it constitutes the "highest learning platform where the military leadership comes together for common instruction", according to thesis written by Pakistani author Aqil Shah.:8 Without securing their graduation from their master's program, no officer in the Pakistani military can be promoted as general in the army or air force, or admiral in the navy or marines as it is a prerequisite for their promotion to become a senior member at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.:8–9
Besides, the platform provided at the NDU in Islamabad represents a radical shift from the emphasis on operational and staff functions and the level of ranks are imposed as qualification to attend the master's program at the NDU, usually brigadiers, air commodores, and commodores, are invited to given admission in broad range of strategic, political, social, and economic factors as these factors affects the country's national security.:8–9 In this sense, the NDU becomes the critical thinking institution as its constitutes active-duty senior military officers corps' baptism into a shared ideological framework about the military's appropriate role, status, and behavior in relation to state and society, and shared values affect how these officers perceive and respond to civilian governmental decisions, policies, and political crises.:9–10 Admissions to the army's military engineering colleges and NDU is not restricted to military officials but the civilians can also attend and graduate from the NDU, allowing the civilians to explore the broader aspects of national security.:8–9
Established in 1991, the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has now absorbed and amalgamated the existing military engineering colleges of engineering, signals, aeronautical, and medicines, and is a counterpart institution in science and technology to that of the National Defense University (NDU) in Islamabad.
The foreign military officials and students, including from the United States, have attended the Command and Staff College in Quetta and the National Defense University (NDU) in Islamabad but the American instructors and observers have penned critical analysis by reporting the curriculum offered by the Command and Staff College in Quetta to be narrow focus and failure to encourage speculative thinking or to give adequate attention to less glamorous subjects, such as logistics.:293:518
Civil engineering and construction
Since the 1970s, the Pakistan Army's engineering formations have been involved in civil engineering of the important landmarks in the country, hydroelectricity, power generation, dams, and national freeways.
The Pakistan Army builds major civil engineering landmarks in the country, including the Karakoram Highway, Skardu Airport, and the national security sites in Kahuta. The Frontier Works Organization of the army, has built several infrastructure with the Corps of Engineers in all over the country, and has built the communications lines in Northern Pakistan through its Special Communications Organization (SCO).
The Corps of Engineers are the major civil engineering contractor and engineering consultant employed by the federal government, advising on construction management and on to improving the efficiency of construction measures in times of natural calamities.
The Pakistan Army's landmark civil engineering projects included the Lyari Expressway in Karachi, Makran Coastal Highway in Balochistan, and the Khanpur Dam in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Besides their infrastructure projects in Pakistan, the Pakistan Army has built several infrastructures projects in other part of the world as part their deployment in United Nation's peacekeeping missions.
Awards and honors
In military awards hierarchy, the Nishan-i-Haidar (lit. Order of Lion; Urdu: نشان حیدر) is the highest and most prestigious honor awarded posthumously for bravery and actions of valor in event of war.:220 The honor is a namesake of Ali and the recipients receiving this honorary title as a sign of respect: Shaheed meaning martyr.:4
Since 1947–2019, there has been ten Pakistani military officers and personnel who have honored with this prestigious medal— out of which, nine have been officers and soldiers in the Pakistan Army, bestowed to those who engaged in wars with India.
Recipient of the foreign awards
The Pakistan Army has been conferred with the foreign awards for its services provided to the foreign nations, including the honoring of two army pilots from the Aviation Corps who conducted a difficult operation in extracting the Slovenian mountaineer, Tomaz Humar, who got stranded on the western end of the 8,125 metres (26,657 ft) high Nanga Parbat and the Slovenian President presented Lt-Col. Rashiduhlla Beg and Lt-Col. Khalid Amir with the Golden Order for Services in the country's capital, Ljubljana, for risking their lives during the rescue mission, a Pakistan Army statement said.
In addition, there are numbers of the army general officers have been honored multiple times with the United States's Legion of Merit for cooperation and strengthening bilateral ties with the United States 1980s–2015.:261 In 2010, the Pakistan Army was awarded with a gold medal at the Exercise Cambrian Patrol held in Wales in the United Kingdom.
The equipment and weapon system of Pakistan Army is developed and manufactured by the local weapons industry and modern arms have been imported from the United States, China, United Kingdom, France, and the other countries in the European Union.
The Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Defense Science and Technology Organization (DESTO), Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), and the National Development Complex (NDC), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) are the one of the major defense contractor for the Department of the Pakistan Army.
The Heavy Industries Taxila designs and manufactured main battle tanks (MBT) in cooperation with the China and the Ukraine, while the fire arms and standard rifles for the army are licensed manufactured by the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF). The Chinese cooperation and further assistance with the Pakistan Army is vital in designing, vehicular construction, and material manufacturing of the main battle tanks.:xxxv The standard rifle for the army is the German designed and POF manufactured Koch G3P4.
The defense funding for the army was preferential, which was described as the "lion’s share", however, in light of CPEC's security demanding to secure the seaborne borders, the army financial planners significantly lowered its share in a view of strengthening the under-funded department of the navy.
From 1947–71, the army service uniform of the Pakistan Army closely resembled to the army uniform of the British Army, but the uniform changed in preference of Sherwani.:172 The army service uniform in the Pakistan Army consists of the Sherwani with two front pockets, cap of a synthetic material, trousers with two pockets, with Golden Khaki colors.:222
In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defense introduced the first camouflage pattern in the army combat uniform, resembling the British-styled DPM but this was changed in 1990 in favor of adopting the U.S. Woodland which continued until 2010. In winter front such as in the Siachen and near the Wakhan Corridor, the Pakistan Army personnel wears the heavy winter all white military gear.
As of 2011, the camouflage pattern of the brown and black BDU was issued and is worn by the officers and the army troops in their times of deployments. The Pakistan Army has introduced arid camouflage pattern in uniform and resized qualification badges which are now service ribbons and no longer worn along with the ranks are now embroidered and are on chest. The name is badged on the right pocket and the left pocket displays achievement badges by Pakistan Army.
The Pakistan Army offers the robust and noteworthy sports program to its elite athletes in many sports disciplines, including in boxing, hockey, cricket, swimming, table tennis, karateka, basketball, soccer, and other sports played in the world.
An example of the program's success is its basketball program which regularly provides the Pakistan national basketball team with key players.
- Army National Guard
- Special Service Group (SSG)
- Pakistan Army Aviation Corps
- Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers
- Comparative military ranks
- Military history of Pakistan
- Military history of Pakistani Americans
- Military–industrial complex
- Structure of the Pakistan Army
- Timeline of United States military operations
- Islamic Military Alliance
- Pakistan Military Academy
- List of serving army generals in the Pakistan Army
- Pakistan Army Retribution (Video game)
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