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Pakistan Armed Forces

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Title: Pakistan Armed Forces  
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Subject: History of Pakistan, War in North-West Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, Yahya Khan, East Pakistan
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Pakistan Armed Forces

Pakistan Armed Forces
پاک مسلح افواج
Founded 1947
Service branches Flag of the Pakistan Army Pakistan Army
Naval Jack of Pakistan Pakistan Navy
Ensign of the Pakistan Air Force Pakistan Air Force
Naval Emblem of Pakistan Pakistan Marines
State emblem of Pakistan Paramilitary Forces
Headquarters Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi
Commander-in-Chief President Mamnoon Hussain
Minister of Defence Khawaja Asif
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood
Pakistan Army
Military age 16–49 years old
Conscription None
Available for
military service
48,453,305 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.),
44,898,096 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
37,945,440 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.),
37,381,549 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
2,237,723 males (2010 est.),
2,104,906 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel 617,000 (ranked 7th)
Reserve personnel 550,000 (ranked 15th)
Budget $6.98 billion (2013–14) (ranked 25th)
Percent of GDP 2.7% (2013)
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers
Annual imports  China,  United States
Related articles
Ranks Awards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces

The Pakistan Armed Forces (Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee alongside with chiefs of staff of army, navy, and the air force.[1] All of the branches work together during operations and joint missions under the Joint Staff HQ.[1]

Since 1962, the military has had close [2]

The armed forces were formed in 1947 when Pakistan became independent from the British Empire.[7] Since then, the armed forces have played a decisive role in the modern history of Pakistan, fighting major wars with India in 1947, 1965, and 1971, and on several occasions seizing control of the civilian government to restore order in the country.[7] Border clashes with Afghanistan led to the creation of paramilitary forces to deal with civil unrest and secure border areas. In 2010, the military had approximately 617,000 personnel on active duty, with 513,000 in the reserves, 304,000 in the paramilitary forces, and approximately 20,000 serving in the Strategic Plans Division forces, giving a total of almost 1,451,000.[8] The armed forces have a large pool of volunteers and as such, conscription is not, and has never been needed.[9]

The Pakistan Armed Forces are the best organized institution in the country, and are highly respected in civil society.[10] Since the founding of Pakistan, the military has played a key role in holding the state together, promoting a feeling of nationhood and providing a bastion of selfless service.[11] In Addition, the Pakistan Armed Forces are the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping efforts, with more than 10,000 personnel deployed overseas in 2007.[12] Other foreign deployments have consisted of Pakistani military personnel serving as military advisers in African and Arab countries. The Pakistani military has maintained combat divisions and brigade-strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the Arab-Israeli Wars, and the first Gulf War to help the Coalition, as well as the Somalian and Bosnian conflicts.


The roots of the Pakistan military trace back to the British Army, which included many personnel from present day Pakistan. Pictured are troops of the Khyber Rifles, striking a pose, circa 1895.

The Pakistan military has its roots in the British military, in which, where many Indian Muslims served in the World War II prior to the partition of British India by the British Empire.[13] While the Indian Muslims chose to served in the Pakistani military, the military formations with Muslim majority units moved to Pakistan.[13] General Ayub Khan, HMS Chaudiere, and Asghar Khan were few of the high officials who opted for Pakistan.[13] Many of the senior officers who would form the Pakistan Armed Forces had fought with the British forces in World War II, thus providing the newly created country with the professionalism, experience, and leadership it would need to defend itself against India.[14] In a formula arranged by the British, military resources were supposed to have been divided between India and Pakistan with a ratio of 64% going to India and 36% for Pakistan; however, Pakistan initially demanded 50% of the equipment.[15]

Initially, the Pakistani military retained the British military tradition until 1956 when the United States dispatched its special military adviser groups to Pakistan, where the American military tradition and thought process general transferred to the Pakistan's military.[16] On March 1956, the Pakistani military order of precedence of three services changed from "Navy-Army-Air Force" to "Army-Navy-Air Force".[17]

Between 1947 to 1971, Pakistan fought three direct conventional wars against India, with 1971 war witnessing the succession of East-Pakistan as independent Bangladesh.[18]Rising tensions with Afghanistan in the 1960s and indirect war fought against the Soviet Union in the 1970s led to a sharp rise in the development of Pakistan Armed Forces.[19] In 1999, an extended period of intense border skirmishing with India resulted in a redeployment of forces.[20] As of 2014, the military is conducting counterinsurgency operations along the border areas of Afghanistan, while continuing to participate in several United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Over past decades, the armed forces have taken control of the civilian government several times since 1957, citing corruption and gross inefficiency on the part of the civilian leadership. While many Pakistanis have supported these seizures of power,[21] others have claimed that political instability, lawlessness, and corruption are direct consequences of army rule.[22][23][24]

Current deployments

Within Pakistan

Disposition of ~70% of military is deployed near eastern border with India, circa 1997.

It is estimated that approximately 60–70% of Pakistan's military personnel are deployed along the Indo-Pakistan border.[25] In the aftermath of the United States invasion of Afghanistan, more than 150,000 personnel were shifted towards the Tribal Areas adjacent to Afghanistan.[26] Since 2004, Pakistan's military forces have been engaged in the military efforts against al-Qaeda extremists.

In comparison with multinational and US forces, Pakistan's military has suffered the highest number of casualties in the war, both in confrontations with al-Qaeda and the United States (See: Pakistan-United States skirmishes). After the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the subsequent standoff with India, several combat divisions were redeployed to Eastern and Southern Pakistan.

In addition to its military deployments, the armed forces also assist the government in responding to natural disasters such as the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the nation-wide floods of 2010.


A large number of Pakistan Armed Forces personnel are deployed overseas as part of the United Nations' peacekeeping missions. In 2010, an estimated 12,000 personnel were serving abroad, making Pakistan a large contributor of troops to the UN.[12]

Organization and Command Structure

Leadership in the Pakistan armed forces is provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, which controls the military from the Joint Staff Headquarters, adjacent to the Air HQ, Navy HQ, and Army GHQ in the vicinity of the Rawalpindi Military District.[7] The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is composed of the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Commandant Marines, and the Commander of the Special Plans Division.[7]

At the JS HQ, it forms with the office of Engineer-in-Chief, Navy Hydrographer, Surgeon-General of each Inter-Services, director of JS HQ, and DGs of ISPR, ISSB, ISI, and the SPD.[27]

Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee

The Prime Minister stands with the Chairman joint chiefs and chiefs of Inter-Services at a farewell dinner, November 2013.

Lesson learns and recommendations after the 1971 war with India, all military work, combat coordination, and joint missions are overseen by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at the Joint Staff Headquarters located in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan.[1][27] Military failure in Bangladesh and war with India in 1971, the federal studies on civil military relations led by the Commission by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman helped establishing the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee to coordinate the joint missions and executions of their work altogether during operations.[27][28]

The Chairmanship of Joint Chiefs rotates among the three Inter-Services; the Chairman joint chiefs is appointed by the Prime minister and confirmed by the President.[27] The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee outranks all other four-star officers; however, he does not have operational command authority over the Armed Forces.[29] In his capacity as chief military adviser, he assists the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense in exercising their command functions.[29]

Technically, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is the highest military body; and its Chairman joint chiefs serves as the Principle Staff Officer (PSO) to the civilian Prime Minister, Cabinet, National Security Council (its adviser), and the President.[27] The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with joint military planning, joint training, integrated joint logistics, and provides strategic directions of the armed forces. Reviews periodically the role, size, and shape of three Inter–Services, the JCSC advise the civilian government on strategic communications, industrial mobilizations plans, and formulating the defence plans.[27] In many ways, the JCSC provides an important link to understand, maintain balance, and resolve conflicts in the civil military relations between military and political circles.[27] In times of peace, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee's principle functions are to conduct planning of civil–military input; in times of war, the Chairman acts as principle military adviser to the Prime Minister in the supervision and conduct of joint warfare.[29]


Pakistan Navy Ships

Troop Strength

As of 2010, about 617,000 people[8] were on active duty in the military, with an additional 420,000 in the paramilitary forces[8] and 513,000 people in reserve. It is an all volunteer military, but conscription can be enacted at the request of the President with the approval of the Pakistani parliament. The military is the seventh largest in the world and has a large number of troops deployed around the globe in military assistance and peacekeeping operations.

Pakistan is the only predominantly Muslim country in which women serve as high-ranking officers and in combat jobs.[30]

Members of the Pakistani military hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.

The following table summarizes current Pakistani military troop levels:

Pakistani Military Troop Levels
Service Total Active Duty Personnel[8] Total Reserve[8]
Army 550,000 500,000
Navy 22,000 5,000
Air Force 45,000 8,000
Paramilitary Forces 420,000 0
SPD Forces 21,000[31][32] 0


A Pakistani soldier in combat gear during training

The standard uniform of the Pakistan Army was the traditional British Army Khaki, but this was recently changed to the camouflage patterns standard for other armies of the world. The colours of the new camouflage pattern uniforms vary with the geographical areas in which troops are operating.

Rank Structure

The rank structure is also patterned on the British model. Following the British Indian tradition, there are three junior commissioned officer (JCO) grades between enlisted and officer rank for those who rise by promotion from among enlisted recruits. The junior commissioned officer is a continuation of the former viceroy's commissioned officer rank during the British colonial period. Promotion to JCO rank, however, remains a powerful incentive for enlisted personnel; thus, if JCO ranks are ever phased out, it will probably be a slow process.

Gallantry awards

  1. Nishan-i-Haider, Highest military decoration of Pakistan. Awarded "to those who have performed acts of greatest heroism or most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger and have shown bravery of the highest order or devotion to the country, in the presence of the enemy on land, at sea or in the air.'' As of 2013 this award has been given to ten Pakistani servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.[33][34]
  2. Hilal-i-Jurat
  3. Sitara-i-Jurat
  4. Tamgha-i-Jurat

Foreign military relations


The People's Republic of China's relationship with Pakistan holds great importance for both countries in terms of common interest and geopolitical strategy. The alliance was initially formed to counter the regional influence and military threat posed by India and the Soviet Union. In recent years the friendship has deepened further; China and Pakistan have signed several mutual defense treaties.

China has been a steady source of military equipment and has cooperated with Pakistan in setting up weapons production and modernization facilities.

The two countries are actively involved in several joint projects to enhance each other's military needs, including development and production of the JF-17 Thunder fighter plane, the K-8 Karakorum advanced training aircraft, the Al Khalid tank, AWACS systems, and many other projects. The two countries have held several joint military exercises to enhance cooperation between their armed forces. China is also the largest investor in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port, which is strategically located at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

South Asian Countries

Defense attachés from Russia and Pakistan visit the communications center at a Nigerian Air Force base in 2008.

Prior to 1971, Pakistan military had a strong presence in East-Pakistan and an active theatre-level military command. After Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan, full diplomatic relations were not restored until 1976.[35] Relations improved considerably under the military governments of President Major Ziaur Rahman and General Hossain Mohammad Ershad in Bangladesh, which had grown more distant from its war ally, India.[35][36] Common concerns over India's regional power have influenced strategic cooperation, leading to a gift of several squadrons of F-6 fighter aircraft to the Bangladesh Air Force in the late 1980s.[37]

Animosity towards India has also led Pakistan and Nepal to form a close military relationship, including the deployment of Pakistani advisers to the Nepalese military. Condemned by India, Great Britain, and the United States between 2004 and 2006 for repressing democracy, the Nepalese monarchy developed military ties with China and Pakistan, who offered extensive support, arms, and equipment for the monarchy's struggle to stay in power in the face of a Maoist insurgency.[38][39]

When India proved reluctant to supply Sri Lanka with weapons, the insurgency-plagued island nation turned to Pakistan. In May 2000, with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels about to recapture their former capital of Jaffna, President Musharraf of Pakistan provided millions of dollars of much-needed armament to the Sri Lankan government.[40] In May 2008, Lt-Gen Fonseka of the Sri Lanka Army held talks with his Pakistan Army counterparts regarding the sale of military equipment, weapons, and ammunition. The sale of 22 Al-Khalid main battle tanks to the Sri Lanka Army was finalised during these talks, in a deal worth over US$100 million.[41] In April 2009, Sri Lanka requested $25 million worth of 81 mm, 120 mm and 130 mm mortar ammunition, to be delivered within a month, which proved decisive in the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.[42]

United States and NATO

American Chairman of Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen reviews Pakistani troops during a ceremony honoring Mullen's arrival in Islamabad in 2008.

Throughout its history, Pakistan has had an on-again/off-again military relationship with the United States. During times of cooperation, US military funding and training have enhanced Pakistan's armed forces; in contrast, severing of US support at critical junctures has led to bitter disillusionment. These wide swings of fortune are something to which the Pakistanis have become accustomed, and they recognize that, whatever the provocation, the relationship with the United States has too much potential benefit to be discarded lightly.

In support of the United States' 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan's armed forces received large amounts of military aid, funding, and training. According to Ministry of Finance calculations, in the three years prior to the attacks of 11 September, Pakistan received approximately $9 million in American military aid; in the three years after, the amount increased to $4.2 billion.[43]

General Peter Pace salutes Pakistani servicemen.

Pakistan has maintained strong military–to–military relations with the NATO).[44] NATO regards its relations with Pakistan as "partners across the globe."[44] With the support of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pakistan was designated a "Major non-NATO ally" in 2004.[45][46][47][48]

Since the 2000s, the military relations with Russian armed forces are boosted with the Pakistan armed forces.[49][50]

Middle Eastern Countries

Pakistan Navy ships deployed in the Arabian Sea, near Oman.

Pakistan's close ties to the nations of the Middle East, based on geography and shared religion, have led to periodic military deployments since the 1960s. The Arab world countries - many of them wealthy but with small populations and limited militaries - have historically depended on regional armies to provide a protective umbrella and military muscle in times of instability and crisis.[51] The Pakistani military has retained a particularly close relationship with Saudi Arabia— a sporadically generous patron; much of the equipment bought from the United States by Pakistan in the 1980s was paid for by the Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait also have been important sources of financial support[52]

Pakistani military personnel have been posted as military advisers and instructors to the militaries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, and the UAE. Pakistan Air Force, Navy, and Army personnel played crucial roles in building the UAE military. Many Arab military officials have been educated at Pakistan's military staff colleges and universities. A combat division commanded by Major-General Zia-ul-Haq was instrumental in putting down the Palestinian Black September revolt against King Hussein in Jordan in the early 1970s.

Navy guards marching in 2009 .

Pakistan has enjoyed strong military cooperation with the Iranian military since the 1950s. Iranian leader Mohammad Reza Shah provided free fuel to PAF fighter jets in the 1965 war with India, allowing Pakistani planes to land at Iranian Air Force bases, refuel and take off. The military relationship continued even after the Iranian revolution, as Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize the new Iranian government. In the aftermath of the hostage crisis in Tehran, the United States severed its ties with Iran, leading Iran to send its military officers and personnel to be educated at the Pakistani military academies. Relations became difficult following the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when hundreds of foreign fighters (mostly Sunni Arabs) arrived in Pakistan to take part in the Afghan Jihad. President Zia-ul-Haq's military administration policy reflected extremist views towards the Shiites and caused religious tensions to rise between Sunni and Shiites in Pakistan, much to the discomfort of Iran. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Arab countries and the United States, who were backing Iraq, pressured Pakistan to discontinue its covert support and military funding for Iran.

The 1980s were a difficult time in military relations for both countries, as Iran was blamed for the rising ethnic tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Pakistan. The relationship further deteriorated in the 1990s when the Taliban, with Pakistan's support, came to power in Afghanistan. In 1998, Iran and Afghanistan were on the verge of war over the assassination of Iranian diplomats. During this time Iran's relations with India improved, with both supporting the Northern Alliance.

In 2000 the situation began to normalize, with Pakistan and Iran reinstating trade relations. In the wake of the 11 September attacks in the United States and the fall of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the two countries began rebuilding their military ties. Over the years, diplomatic delegations have been exchanged, and Pakistan has agreed to sell military equipment to Iran. In addition, Pakistan has maintained strong military-to-military ties with Turkey, and would like to use these, as well as its Iranian connections, as a bridge to the new Muslim states of Central Asia.

Special operations forces

A member of Pakistan Navy Special Service Group aboard Pakistan Navy Ship PNS Babur.

After the war with India in 1947, recommendations for establishing an elite commando division within the army were accepted. Commissioned in 1956, the Special Services Group (SSG) is an elite special operations division; its training and nature of operations are roughly equivalent to British SAS and US Army's Special Forces and the Delta Force. Tentative estimates are put at four battalions but the actual strength is kept highly classified.

With the successful commissioning of Special Services Group, the Navy accepted recommendations for commissioning its own special operational unit shortly after the 1965 war with India. Established as Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) in 1966, it is an elite and secretive commando division whose training and combat operations are served as similar to the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service and US Navy's DEVGRU and Navy SEALs. Operatives identities and actual static strength are kept secret and classified.

The Pakistan Navy organized a small force of Marines in 1990. As of 2014 it numbered about 2,000 men.[53]

The Special Service Wing (SSW) is a newest special operations commando division, established by the Pakistan Air Force in 2004, in the wake of challenges posed by the Afghanistan war. The unit was active earlier and had seen action during the 1947, 1965 war, and 1971 war with India. The SSW is designed to execute difficult aerial and land operations, serving as equivalent to the United States Air Force's Special Tactics Squadron units. Following the secretive tradition of its inter-services, the actual number of its serving personnel is kept and classified.

UN peacekeeping forces

In 2009 Pakistan was the single largest contributor of UN peacekeeping forces, with more than 11,000 Pakistani military personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.[54]

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 Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) Democratic Republic of Congo Second Congo War 3,556 Troops.[55]
2003 United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Liberia Second Liberian Civil War 2,741 Troops.[56]
2004 United Nations Operation in Burundi ONUB Burundi Burundi Civil War 1,185 Troops.[57]
2004 United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) Côte d'Ivoire Civil war in Côte d'Ivoire 1,145 Troops.[58]
2005 United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) Sudan Second Sudanese Civil War 1,542 Troops.[59]
Staff/Observers 191 Observers.[60]
  • The total amount of troops serving currently in peacekeeping missions is 10,173 (as of March, 2007).

Involvement in Pakistani civil society

Pakistan military troops in relief efforts missions in 2005.

The military plays a vital role in keeping the Pakistani state together, promoting a spirit of unity and nationhood, and providing a bastion of selfless service to the nation, according to the views of Russian scholar Anatol Lieven.[18] As an institution, the armed forces have been integrated into Pakistani civil society since the establishment of the country in 1947.[61] The military has been involved in building much of the country's infrastructure (such as dams, bridges, canals, power stations, and energy projects) and civil-military input from all sections of the armed forces has helped to build a stable society and professionalism in the armed forces.[61]

In times of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, army engineers, medical and logistics personnel, and the armed forces generally have played a major role in rescue, relief, and supply efforts.[62] In 2010, armed forces personnel donated one day of salary for their flood effected brethren.[63]

In 1996, Chairman joint chiefs, 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 a mirror image of the civil society from which it is drawn.
the PAF airmen are participating in relief operations.

According to 2012 reports of the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB), around 91.1% of civilian infrastructure in the Federally Administered Tribal Area was built by the armed forces in a policy based on sustainable development plans, to improve the livelihood of ordinary people of the region.[64] According to the Air Force's own statistics, the air force conducted ~693 relief operations in Pakistan and abroad from the fiscal period from 1998-2008.[65] The Air Force carried and distributed thousands of tons of wheat, medicines, shelter camps, and provided military assistance to rehabilitate the disaster-effected areas of the country.[65]

Pakistan Navy medical specialists conducting medical training while abroad on sea mission.

During the wave of floods in the fiscal year of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, the Navy and Marines launched relief operation nationwide and provided healthcare, medicines, relief efforts, and coordinated the distribution of food in the flood-effected area.[66] In Navy's own admission, it had provided 43,850 kg of food and relief goods to flood victims; 5,700 kg of ready-to-cook food, 1,000 kg of dates and 5,000 kg of food has been dispatched to Sukkur. The Pakistan Naval Air Arm had air dropped more than 500 kg of food and relief good in Thal, Ghospur and Mirpur areas.[67]

Engineering units of Navy and Marines built more than 87 houses and distributed to the local IDPs (IDPs); about ~69,011 affected IDPs were treated in Navy and Marines medical camps.[68]

Commemoration and parades

The Youm-e-Difa— Pakistan's day in remembrance of fallen soldiers in 1965 war— is observed on 6 September, each and every year.[69] Memorial services are held in the presence of Pakistan's top military and civil officials.[70] Wreath of flowers are laid in the graves of the fallen soldiers and ceremonies are held in all over the country.[71] The change of guard ceremony takes place at Mazar-e-Quaid, where the cadets of Inter-Services academies present Guard of Honour and take the charge.[69] Addtionnally, the Youm-e-Fizaya is celebrated on 7 September; and the Youm-e-Bahriya on 8 September.[72]

The Pakistan Armed Forces parades took place on 23 March, which is celebrated as Youm-e-Pakistan. All main inter-services marches in Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, where the weapon exhibitions are televised in the televisions.[73]

Weapons of mass destruction and policy

Development on nuclear weapons began in 1972 after the 1971 war with India, since then, the government adopted a policy of deliberate ambiguity which was practiced and observed from 1972–98. Amid pressure built after the India's nuclear test in 1998, Pakistan successfully conducted its first publicly announced nuclear tests in 1998: Chagai-I and Chagai-II.[27] With these tests, Pakistan became the seventh nation in the world to achieve the status of a nuclear power.

Under a public policy guidance, strategic weapons and projects are researched and developed entirely by civilian scientists and engineers, who also develop a wide range of delivery systems. On military policy issues, Pakistan issues directives towards "first use"[74] and maintains that its program is based on deterrence, to peacefully discourage attack by India, Afghanistan, and other countries with large conventional-force advantages over Pakistan.[75] According to United States military sources, Pakistan has achieved survivability in a possible nuclear conflict through second strike capability.[76]

In January 2000 the head of United States Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, told NBC that longtime assumptions that India had an edge in the South Asian strategic balance of power were questionable at best. Said Zinni: "Don't assume that the Pakistanis' nuclear capability is inferior to the Indians".[77]

Despite international pressure, Pakistan has refused to sign either the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Initiatives taken towards consolidating strategic infrastructure led to the establishment, in 2000, of the Nuclear Command Authority, which oversees the policy, military control, development, and deployment of the country's tactical and strategic arsenals. The command and control of the strategic arsenal are kept under a Inter-services own strategic commands which reports directly at the Joint Staff HQ.[78]

Defence Intelligence cycle

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is the prime intelligence that is responsible for providing, managing, and coordinating intelligence for the Pakistan armed forces.[27] After an eminent intelligence failure in 1947 war with India, the ISI was established by Major-General R. Cawthome of Army and Commander S.M. Ahsan of Navy; in a view to coordinate and provide intelligence estimate on each Inter-Services.[79] While intelligence operatives are recruited from each services including civilians, the ISI has became very powerful and influential intelligence service over the years.[27] Due to its wide range of intelligence operations and influence, the ISI has been criticized both internally and externally.[80] The ISI headed by a Director General who is also the principal adviser to the Prime Minister and the President; the ISI directly reports to the Prime Minister.[17]

In the military, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI) provides intelligence on foreign operations and eliminating sleeper cells within the military to the Army.[17] The Naval Intelligence and the Air Intelligence serves the same purpose of the MI. The intelligence services in each branch are tasked with counterintelligence operations, identifying and eliminating sleeper cells, foreign agents and other anti Pakistani elements within Pakistan.[17] Additional functions involve monitoring high level military and political leaders and safe guarding critical facilities such as military and non-military installations.[17] In each MI, NI, and the AI, the director-generals are usually a two-star officers.[17]

Traditionally, the bulk of intelligence work and efforts in Pakistan has been carried out by the ISI, IB, and the FIA as well as the others in the intelligence community.[17] To provide better coordination and eliminate competition, the National Intelligence Directorate (NID) was established in 2014.[81] The NID serves to the similar purpose as the U.S. NIE, providing statistical analysis and counter insurgency recommendations at all levels of command.[82]

Military Academies

The Military Academies Are:

Some other Professional and Technical Military Institutes:

Military Justice system

The military justice system rests on the inter-services administrated Judge Advocate General Branch; all military criminal cases are overseen by the high-ranking officials of joint tribunal of the military.[83] Each Inter-service has its own service law: Army Justice Act, promulgated in 1952; the PAF Justice Act, established in 1953; and the Navy Ordinance, enacted in 1961.[84] The identities of active-duty uniformed JAG officials are kept classified and no details of such individuals are made available to media.[83]

All three Inter-service laws are administered by the individual inter-services under the central reporting supervision of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).[84] The army has a four-tier system; the air force, navy, marines have a three-tier systems.[84] The two top levels of all three-tier systems are the general court-martial and district court-martial; the third level comprises the field general court-martial in the army, air force and navy. The fourth level tier comprises the summary court-martial, only effective in the army.[84] The differences in tier levels reflect whether their competence extends to officers or enlisted men only and the severity of the punishment that may be imposed.[84]

The Supreme Court and the civilian courts cannot question decisions handed down by the military judges and double jeopardy is prohibited.[84] In cases where a military personnel is alleged to have committed a crime against a civilian, then the MoD and MoJ determines the prosecution of the case to be tried whether in military or civilian courts have jurisdiction.[84] Former servicemen in civilian life who are accused of felonies committed while on active duty are liable for prosecution under the jurisdiction of military courts.[84] These courts are empowered to mete out a wide range of punishments including death.[84] All sentences of imprisonment are served in military prisons or detention barracks.[84]

Weapons industry


Industrial production in Pakistan starting in 1947–09

At the time of the creation of Pakistan, the country had virtually no military industry or production capability. In 1949-50, the contribution of the industrial sector to the GNP was only 5.8%, of which 4.8% was attributed to small scale industries.[85] The new nation's only major heavy industry operation was the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, which was focused on civil maritime construction. All military industrial materials and weapons systems were either inherited or bought from the United Kingdom.[85]

By 1951, research and development.[85] After U.S. military assistance was cut off in the 1965 War, followed by the disastrous 1971 War, Pakistan turned to China for help in expanding its military industrial and production capabilities, including the modernization of the facilities at Wah.

Industrial manufacturing in Pakistan from 1973-2000.

Faced with defence and security issues involving much larger opponents on both its eastern and western borders, the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Finance require a disproportionate share of the nation's resources to maintain even a minimally effective defensive stance.[84] Since 1971, the military budget of the armed forces grew by 200% in support of armed forces contingency operations.[84] During the administrations of Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, approximately 50–60% of scientific research and funding went to military efforts.[84]

In 1993, Benazir Bhutto's defence budget for the year was set at ₨. 94billion (US $3.3 billion), which represented 27% of the government's circular spending and 8.9% of GDP, in calculations shown by the United States military.[84] Despite criticism from the country's influential political science sphere,[86] the military budget was increased an additional 10.2% by the government for the fiscal year 2013-14.[87]

Defence Industry

Chemical explosives and war-shells produced by DESTO, and POF.

In 1971, the [85]

A gunnery-weapon system displayed in arm exhibition produced at POF.

In 1987, the Karachi Shipyard Engineering Works (KSEW) began developing submarine technology and rebuilding the submarine base near Port Qasim. In the 1990s, concerns over Pakistan's secretive development of nuclear weapons led to the "Pressler amendment" (introduced by US Senator Larry Pressler) and an economic and military embargo. The Pressler law caused a great panic in the military and each Inter-Services now focused and launched its own military industrial programs. By 1999, the KSEW had built its first long range attack submarine, the Agosta 90B, which featured AIP technology purchased from France in 1995. By early 2000, a joint venture with China led to the introduction of the JF-17 fighter jet (developed in PAC) and the al-Khalid main battle tank, built and assembled in HIT. Since 2001, Pakistan has taken major steps towards becoming self-sufficient in aircraft overhaul and modernization and tank and helicopter sales.[85]

After the success of its major projects in the defence industry, the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, which is held biennially at the Karachi expo center. Pakistan's defence exports were reportedly worth over $200 million USD in 2006, and have continued to grow since.[89]

Main Inter–Service Branches


Pakistani soldiers being decorated after a tour of duty with the UN in the DR Congo

After the [94] As of current appointment, General Raheel Sharif is the chief of army staff of the army.[95][96] From the army, General Rashad Mahmood is the also the current Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[97] The army has the wide range of corporate, commercial, and political interests, and in many occasion, it has been involved in seizing the control of the civilian government to restore and balance the order in the country.[98]

An army soldier in Siachen Glacier.

Currently commissioned combat inventory includes about 3,100 tanks, 3,200 armored fighting vehicles, 500 self-propelled guns, 3,300 towed artillery pieces, and 200 multiple-launch rocket systems, according to the online resources.[99] The Aviation Corps reportedly operates about 250 aircraft, including 40 AH-1 Cobra combat helicopters.[100] The army's strategic commands currently operates a wide range of missile systems in its inventory.[101] In spite of Pressler amendment enforced in 1990s, the army has been focused on ingenious development on land-based weapon systems and production of military hardware.[102] Major local innovation resulted in the successful development of G3A3 rifles, Anza systems, al-Zarrar and al-Khalid MBTs.[102]

Since 1947, the army has been militarily involved with three wars with neighboring India, and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan.[103] Due to Pakistan's diverse geography, the army has an extensive combat experience in diverse terrains.[104] The army has maintained a strong presence in the Arab world during the Arab-Israeli Wars, aided the coalition in the first Gulf War, and played a major role in combat in the Bosnian war as well as rescuing trapped American soldiers in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. Recently, major joint-operations undertaken by the army include Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat, against armed insurgents within Pakistan. The army has also been an active participant in UN missions.[105]

Air Force

Pakistan's indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan plans to deploy over 300 of these fighters.
The PAF F16s in tight formation in Nevada, U.S.

Came into existence in 1947 with the establishment of famed [94] As of current appointment, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt is the chief of air staff of the air force.[107]

In many important events in Pakistan's memory, the air force has played a pivotal, influential, and extremely crucial role nation's defence and national security issues as well as promoting the sense of security in the civil society.[72][108][109][110] In addition, its military importance and criticality in public perception contributes to dominance by the air force over other inter-service branch.[111] Poised on the threshold of tomorrow, the air force officially uses its slogan: "Second to None"; fully abreast with the requisite will and mechanism to live by its standards in the coming millennium and beyond."[112]

Historically, the air force has heavily dependent on American, Chinese, and French-built aircraft technology to support its growth, despite the imposing Pressler amendment.[78] While the F-16s continues to be a backbone of the air force,[113] the local development and quick production of the JF-17 have provided an alternative route to meet its combat aerial requirements.[114] According to PAF accounts, the air force plans retire several of its aging French-licensed Mirage-III and Mirage 5 fighter jets.[115]

A PAF Il-78A air tanker.

Joint production with Chinese AF of a light-weight multirole combat aircraft and further avionics development of the JF-17 is ongoing at the Aeronautical Complex; the ~150 JF-17 are expected to be operational by 2016 with intention of retiring all F-7P, Mirage III, and Mirage V fighter jets.[78] The F-7PG will be replaced later, and the JF-17 fleet may eventually be expanded to 300 aircraft.[116] Realizing the importance of fifth-generation, the PAF successfully negotiated for the procurement of ~36 FC-20 fighter jets–a deal worth around $1.4bn signed in 2009.[117][118] It is expected that the FC-20 will be delivered in 2015.[119] In close coordination with Turkish Aerospace Industries, the Aeronautical Complex engaged in a MLU program of its ~26 F-16A/Bs.[120] In 2010, the air force procured at least ~18 new-built F-16C/D Block 52s under the Peace Gate-II by the United States.[121]

In 2009, the air force inducted the two types of AEW&Cs systems aircraft: four Saab 2000 Erieye from Sweden, and six –a Chinese AWACS based on the Shaanxi Y-8F cargo aircraft.[122] Four Il-78 aerial tankers, capable of refueling the F-16s, Mirage III, Mirage V, JF-17s and FC-20, have been acquired second-hand from Ukrainian surplus stocks.[123][124][125] The fleet of FT-5 and T-37 trainers is being replaced by around 75 K-8 Karakorum intermediate (jet) training aircraft.[126] Other major developments on avionics, robotics, computer systems, radars, and AEW&CS systems are continue to be underdeveloped by the local aerospace industries;[127] some of its electronic systems were exhibited in IDEAS 2014 held in Karachi.[128] Since 1960s, the air force has been regularly combat military exercises such as Saffron Bandit and High Mark on model on the U.S.-based TOPGUN; to many authors believes, the PAF is believed to be capable of mastering method of ""toss-bombing", since 1990s.[129][130]


The F-22P frigates, built in Pakistan.
A Agosta 90B submarines
PNS Larkana in Karachi

Existence of the navy came into 1947 by the Indian Muslims naval officers serving in Royal Navy, the prefix Royal was added until it was dropped when Pakistan became an Islamic republic in 1956.[131] Its prime responsibility is to provide protection of nation's sea ports, marine borders, ~1,046km (650 mi) coastlines, and supporting the nation's national security and peacekeeping missions.[132] Currently commissioned ~71 warships and ~36,000 active duty personnel, its operational scope has since increased and expanded given to the greater national and international responsibility in countering the threat of sea-based global terrorism, drug smuggling and trafficking issues.[133]

A single command structure is based at the [94] As of current appointment, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah is the chief of naval staff of the navy.[134]

Since its inception, the Navy heavily depended on the American-built naval techonology and operated a large infrastructure from 1947-71.[131] The Navy Day is celebrated on 8 September to commemorate its service in 1965 war.[135] After the 1971 war with India, the navy lost its 1/3 its force in the war.[135] The U.S. Embargo placed in 1990s, the navy engaged in mastering the AIP technology bought from French Navy and built the Agosta-90Bs, in which, two of these (as well as one of the new frigates) were built at Pakistan's own facilities in Karachi.[136] The navy's Surface Fleet consists of helicopter carriers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious assault ships, patrol ships, mine-countermeasures, and miscellaneous vessels.[137] Established in 1972, the Naval Air Arm provides fleet air defence, maritime reconnaissance, and anti-submarine warfare. Donated by the air force, the Navy pilots now operates the Mirage 5 equipped with Exocet system.[137] Its fleet of P-3C Orion, equipped with ELINT system, plays a pivotal role in navy's gathering on intelligence.[138] Since 2001, the navy has emphasized its role and now expanded its operational scope in all over the country with the establishment of the Naval Strategic Forces Command which is based in Islamabad.

A Pakistan Navy's Westland Sea King.

In 1990s, the navy lost its opportunity to equipped itself with latest technology and was forced to negotiate with the Royal Navy to acquire aging destroyers which were continued to be extensively upgraded, under very favourable conditions in 1993-94.[137] During the same time, the Navy engaged in process of self-reliance and negotiated with China for assistance.[137] This ultimately led the introduction of F-22P frigates which were designed and developed at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works; also the same time, the Agosta-90B were also built.[137] Its role in War on Terror led to a rapid modernization, which saw the induction of the PNS Alamgir–anti-submarine warship– in 2011.[139] The submarines are remain to be backbone of the navy,[140] and is now developing an ingenious nuclear submarine.[141] Since 2001, the media reports have been surfaced that navy has been seeking to enhance its strategic strike capability by developing naval variants of the nuclear cruise missile.[142] The Babur cruise missile has a range of 700 km and is capable of using both conventional and nuclear warheads.[143] Future developments of Babur include capability of being launched from submarines, surface combatants as well as range extension from 500 km to 1000 km. The Airborne version of Babur, Ra'ad, has already been successfully tested.[143] Since 1990s, the navy has been conducting a joint naval exercise and has been participated in CTF-150 and the CTF-151.[144]

Marines and paramilitary

Badge logo of Pakistan Marines.

Recommendations by the Navy roughly based on Royal Marines, the Pakistan Marines were established in September 1971 to undertake riverine operations operations in the East Pakistan.[145] The Marines saw its first combat actions in Barisal during the East-Pakistani crises, fighting against the Indian Army.[146][147] Due to poor combat performance in the war, high losses and casualties, and inability to effectively counter the Indian Army, the Marines were decommissioned by the Navy by 1974.[147] However, Marines continued to exist in its rudimentary form till 1988 to meet fundamental security requirements of Pakistan Navy units. In 1990, the Marines were recommissioned under Commander M. Obaidullah.[145]

Pakistan Marines in close coordination with the United States Marines Corps, 2009.

The Marines are not the separate branch but an amphibious component of the Navy and its appointments directly comes from the Navy.[146][147] Therefore, it shares the similar rank code with the Navy; though the combat training is provided by the army at the PMA Kakul.[148] Its single command structure is based at the Qasim Marine Base in Karachi and the Marines are under the command of the Commander Coast (COMCOAST), by statue a two-star rank Rear-Admiral.[149] As of current appointment, Rear Admiral Bashir Ahmed is currently serving as the commandant of marines. Handful Marine Battalions are deployed at the Sir Creek region[150] to deter Indian Army, and coordinated the relief efforts in flash floods occured in 2010.[151]

The Paramilitary forces are under the various ministerial departments, and appointments are directly made from the armed forces. In rough estimate made in 2010, Pakistan's paramilitary personnel are approximated at ~420,000.[152] Appointments for military offices in Pakistan Rangers, National Guards, and Frontier Corps are made by the army while the Navy made its appointment for the Maritime Security Agency.[153]

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Further reading

  • Shah, Aqil (2014). The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan. Cambridge, MA:  
  • Ayub, Muhammad (2005). An army, Its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil, 1947–1999. RoseDog Books. ISBN 9780805995947.

External links

  • Ministry of Defence of Pakistan
  • Pakistan Army
  • Pakistan Navy
  • Pakistan Air Force
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