Military of Pakistan

Military of Pakistan

The Pakistan Armed Forces (Urdu: پاک عسکری) are the overall unified military forces of Pakistan. The Pakistani military was first formed when the nation achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.

Its component branches are:
*Pakistan Army
*Pakistan Navy
*Pakistan Air Force
*Paramilitary forces of Pakistan
*Pakistan Coast Guard
*Pakistan Strategic Nuclear Command

The Army, Navy and Navy were commissioned in 1947 in anticipation of a potential hostilities against India. From the time of its inception, the military played a decisive role in the History of Pakistan. A sense of national unity and identity was forged out of the wars of 1947 and 1965 against India.

Approximately 620,000 personnel are on active duty in the military which is the world's 7th largest armed force as of 2008. Combined with the 302,000 strong Paramilitary forces and the Coast Guard, the Military of Pakistan has a total size of nearly 1,000,000 personnel. The Military draws its Manpower from a large pool of volunteers and as such conscription is not needed.

Pakistan's military is led by an officer corps that is not restricted by social class or nobility and are appointed from a variety of sources such as service academies and direct appointment from both civilian status and the enlisted ranks. The armed forces are highly respected in civil society and the social ranks as an institutionFact|date=September 2008. September 6 known as Defense Day commemorates the military's role in defense of the nation.

The military is also actively involved in contributing to United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Other foreign deployments have consisted of Pakistani military personnel as advisers in many African, South Asian and Arab countries. The Pakistani military maintained Division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the past Arab-Israeli Wars, and the first Gulf War to help the Coalition.


Before 1947, the Military of Pakistan was part of the Army of India, as the armed force was known as under the British Raj, fought in both the World Wars and the numerous Anglo-Afghan Wars. Several experienced commanders who fought in the British military in World War II joined the military of Pakistan giving it professionalism, experience and leadership. After independence, the military was divided between India and Pakistan with a ratio of 64% going to India and 36% for Pakistan. Post-independence, it has fought three wars against India, several border skirmishes with Afghanistan, and an extended border skirmish with India in 1999 and is currently conducting anti-terrorist operations along the border areas of Afghanistan. The Military of Pakistan has participated in several United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Current deployments

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, Pakistani military forces have been extensively engaged in the War on Terrorism against Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists. Over 90,000 troops along with various paramilitary forces are involved in a protracted fight against extremists in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The Pakistan military also assists in natural disasters in Pakistan such as the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the floods in Baluchistan in 2008.

Organization and Command Structure

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with all problems bearing on the military aspects of state security and is charged with integrating and coordinating the three services. In peacetime, its principal function is planning; in time of war, its chairman is the principal staff officer to the president in the supervision and conduct of the war. The secretariat of the committee serves as the principal link between the service headquarters and the Ministry of Defence in addition to coordinating matters between the services. The three branches within the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deal with planning, training, and logistics. Affiliated with the committee are the offices of the engineer in chief, the director general of medical service, the director of inter-services intelligence, and the director of inter-services public relations.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

The three Service Chiefs together with the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff form the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

*General Tariq Majid — Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
* General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — Chief of Army Staff
*Admiral Afzal Tahir — Chief of Naval Staff
*Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed — Chief of Air Staff


Troop Strength

As of 2008 about 921,000 people are on active duty in the military with an additional 528,000 people in reserves. It is an all volunteer military, however, conscription can be enacted by the request of the President and the approval of Pakistani parliament. The military is the 7th largest in the world and has large number of troops deployed around the globe in military assistance and peace keeping operations.

As in most militaries, members of the Pakistan military hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.


The standard uniform for the Pakistan Army was a traditional old British Army Khaki but this has been recently changed to a camouflage pattern uniform which is standard for other armies of the world. The colours of the new camouflage pattern uniform depend on the geographical areas in which the troops operate so that they can blend in with the environment & more.

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

# 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 ..." [ [ PAF Combat website on military awards] ]
# Hilal-i-Jurat
# Sitara-i-Jurat
# Tamgha-i-Jurat

Foreign military relations


The People's Republic of China's relationship with Pakistan has often been regarded as all weather and time tested. This friendship for both the Asian countries holds great importance and is priceless in terms of common interest and geo-strategic alliance initially to counter the Indian and Soviet Union threat. In recent years the friendship has deepened even further and China has several defence treaties with Pakistan.

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 also actively involved in the joint venture of several projects to enhance each others' military needs, including JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, K-8 Karakorum advance training aircraft, space technology, AWACS, Al Khalid tank, missiles and many other projects. The two countries also held several military exercises together to further deepen and enhance cooperation between the two armed forces. Also China is the largest investor in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port, which is strategically located at the mouth of the straight of Hurmuz.

United States and NATO

Pakistan's has had an on-again and off-again relationship with the United States. When relations were good, this meant access to funds, sophisticated weaponry and training. When relations were bad, it meant bitter disillusionment and the severing of support at critical junctures. 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. After the attacks of September 11, Pakistan received a huge increase in military aid from America. In the three years before the attacks of September 11, Pakistan received approximately $9 million in American military aid. In the three years after, the number increased to $4.2 billion. [cite news
coauthors=Nathaniel Heller, Sarah Fort, Marina Walker Guevara, Ben Welsh
title=Pakistan's $4.2 Billion 'Blank Check' for U.S. Military Aid, After 9/11, funding to country soars with little oversight
publisher=Center for Public Integrity
date=March 27, 2007

France is also actively involved in building and maintaining an alliance with Pakistan within the defence industry. A key note of this defence alliance was the joint-venture of Agosta submarines for the Pakistan Navy and the Mirage fighter aircraft for the Pakistan Air Force, being the largest operator of Mirage III and V aircraft after the French Air Force.

Arab Countries

The Pakistani military's close ties to the nations of the Middle East are based on a combination of geography and shared religion. The closest ties are with Saudi Arabia--a sporadically generous patron; much of the equipment bought from the United States during the 1980s, for example, was paid for by the Saudis.Fact|date=February 2008 The smaller Persian Gulf states also have been sources of important financial support.Fact|date=February 2008 The flow of benefits has been reciprocated. Beginning in the 1960s, Pakistanis have been detailed as instructors and trainers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Pakistani pilots, sailors, and technicians have played key roles in some Persian Gulf military forces, and Arabs have been trained both in their home countries and in military training establishments in Pakistan. Pakistani army mercenaries, under the leadership of the future dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq were instrumental in putting down the Palestinian revolt Black September in Jordan against King Hussein in the early seventies.

Iran & Turkey

Pakistan enjoyed strong military relations with Iran during the Shah era. Both Pakistan and Iran were in the American camp opposing the Soviet Union and its allies which included India. During the 1965 war of Pakistan with India the Shah provided free fuel to the Pakistani planes who used to land on Iranian soil, refuel and the take off. After the Iranian revolution, Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize the new Iranian government and continued to maintain strong military relations. Iran sent its Military officers and personnel to be trained in Pakistani academies when military and diplomatic ties with the USA were severed following the hostage taking of the US Embassy. Pakistan also helped give spare parts and other items to the largely American equipped Iranian Military. The relations began to deteriorate when the Soviet war in Afghanistan caused large number of Sunni foreign fighters to arrive in Pakistan. Their extremist views towards The Shias caused tensions to rise between Sunni and Shia communities in Pakistan much to the discomfort of Iran. The Arab countries and USA pressured Pakistan to stop its military aid to Iran due to the Iraq-Iran War in which USA and Sunni Arab countries were backing Iraq. Iran was blamed for the rising ethnic tensions between Sunni and Shia because of Pakistan's support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Relations continued to decline in the 1990s when with Pakistan's help the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. Iran and the Taliban almost went to war in 1997 over territorial and drug trafficking disputes. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Iran moved closer to India.

After 9/11 and the overthrow of the Taliban, Pakistan and Iran have begun re-build their ties. Delegations have been exchanged, and Pakistan has sold military equipment to Iran. In early March 2005, Pakistan acknowledged A. Q. Khan had provided centrifuges to Iran, though it denied having had any knowledge of the transactions. Pakistan also has 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.

pecial Operations Forces

Fort Lewis, Wash., July 23, 2007.] The Special Service Group (SSG) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army. It is an elite special operations force similar to the British Special Air Service and the United States Army Special Forces. Official numbers are put at 2,100 men, in 3 Battalions; however the actual strength is classified. It is estimated to have been increased to 4 Battalions, with the eventual formation of 2 Brigades of Special Forces (6 Battalions).

Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Navy. It is an elite special operations force similar to the British Army's Special Boat Service and United States Navy SEALS. Official numbers place the strength between 700 to 1,000, in 1 Company; however the actual strength is classified.

Special Service Wing (SSW) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Air Force. It is an elite special operations force similar based upon the US Air Force's Special Tactics unit and the US Army's Ranger unit. This the newest component to the Special Forces of Pakistan. The division is still being trained and built up which will initially field between 700 to 1,000 men in 1 Company and is expected to be combat ready soon.

Nuclear Doctrine

The Pakistan military possesses nuclear weapons and sufficient means, through a range of missiles and aircraft — to deliver these over considerably long distances. However, unlike India, Pakistan does not have no-first-use policy [ [ The Nuclear Doctrines of India and Pakistan] November 2006, The Nuclear Threat Initiative] and maintains the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to India to offset the large conventional advantage India enjoys over Pakistan. [ [ Nuclear war in South Asia by Shaukat Qadir] Daily Times]

Pakistan is not a part of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), citing concerns that it unfairly favours the established nuclear powers, and provides no provision for complete nuclear disarmament. The Strategic Nuclear Command forms part of Pakistan's National Command Authority which is responsible for the management of the country's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

:"See also: Pakistan and weapons of mass destruction".

Military Intelligence

Pakistan's Military Intelligence (MI) is one of the three main intelligence services in Pakistan. MI is tasked with counter-insurgency operations, identifying and eliminating sleeper cells, foreign agents and other anti Pakistani elements within Pakistan. Additional functions involve monitoring high level military and political leaders and safe guarding critical facilities such as military and non-military installations. MI also has limited external role as well.:"See also: Inter-Services Intelligence".

Military Academies

Pakistan has some of the best military academies in Asia and many officer corps from Asian as well as some African and Eastern European countries attend Pakistan's Military Academies.

The Military Academies Are:

*Pakistan Military Academy
*Pakistan Air Force Academy
*Pakistan Naval Academy PNS Rahbar

Some other Professional and Technical Military Institutes:

*National Defence University
*Command and Staff College
*Air War College
*Pakistan Naval War College
*Military College of Engineering
*College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
*Army Medical College
*Military College of Signals
*College of Aeronautical Engineering
*College of Flying Training
*Pakistan Navy Engineering College

Military Justice

The military justice system rests on three similar service laws: the Pakistan Army Act (1952), the Pakistan Air Force Act (1953), and the Pakistan Navy Ordinance (1961). The acts are administered by the individual services under the central supervision of the Ministry of Defence. The army has a four-tier system; the air force and navy, three-tier systems. 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.

Civilian courts cannot question decisions handed down by the military court and double jeopardy is prohibited. In cases where a military person is alleged to have committed a crime against a civilian, the central government determines whether military or civilian courts have jurisdiction. 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. These courts are empowered to mete out a wide range of punishments including death. All sentences of imprisonment are served in military prisons or detention barracks.

Weapons industry

Pakistan began with virtually no military production capability. By 1951, Pakistan had created the Pakistan Ordnance Factory at Wah Cantonment, near Rawalpindi, to produce small arms, ammunition, and explosives. During the period of reliance on United States supply, there was little attention given to domestic production, but after the assistance cutoffs in 1965 and 1971, Pakistan relied on China's help to expand its facilities, including the modernization of Wah. The Heavy Industries at Taxila was established in 1971 as an equipment rebuilding facility, followed in 1973 by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, north of Islamabad. The air force assembled Chinese F-6s and French Mirages; produced the Mushak trainer, which was based on the Swedish SAAB Safari; maintained radar and avionics equipment; after the success of Mushak the Super Mushak and Karakoram-8 Advance jet state-of-art training platform were made.

The Ministry of Defence Production was created in September 1991 to promote and coordinate the patchwork of military production facilities that have developed since independence. The ministry also includes seven other specialized organizations devoted to research and development, production, and administration.

The navy is supported mainly by a facility at the Karachi Shipyard, which has limited production capacity. In 1987 development of a submarine repair and rebuild facility at Port Qasim was begun. By early 2000, in a joint project with China led to the development of the JF-17 Thunder fighter and the Al-Khalid Tank. Pakistan also has taken major steps to becoming self sufficient in aircraft overhaul and modernization and tank and helicopter sales and in a transfer of technology with France led to the construction of the Agosta 90 B Submarine in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

After the success of its major developments in the defence industry the Defence Export Promotion Organization ( [ D.E.P.O.] ) was created to promote Pakistani defence equipment to the world by inviting major and small players to the [ I.D.E.A.S.] Exhibition, which is held annually at the Karachi expo center. In recent reports, the defence exports were worth over $500 million USD in 2006 and growing annually.


Faced with the problem of defence against a much larger enemy from a relatively limited resource base, the military claimed a large share of the nation's resources even to maintain a minimally effective defensive capability. The successive governments and the civilian population believed it necessary to support the armed forces as much as possible. From 1958 to 1973, the defence budget accounted for nearly 60% of the total government expenditures. Since 1973, this percentage has been reduced by half due to a growing economy, inflation, and foreign military aid. Overall including foreign military aid and budget spending, Pakistan Military has a total of over $10 Billion in expenditures. In 2006, Pakistan's military expenditures were one quarter of national budget. [ [ Pakistan - National Geographic Magazine ] ]

Expenditures Budget Rs.296 billion (2008 est.)

Future Plans


Throughout the International Defence Exhibition & Seminar (IDEAS) at Karachi in November 2006, Pakistani firms have signed joint development, production and marketing agreements with defence firms from South Korea, France and Ukraine. These agreements include new reactive armor bricks, 155 mm artillery shells, and other developments in armor and land weaponry. These agreements all relate to the Pakistan Army's AFFDP-2019 modernization program of its armor, artillery and infantry.

A few months prior to IDEAS 2006, the Pakistan Army and Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) announced the development of the Al Khalid II Main Battle Tank (MBT). The Al Khalid II is poised to become the Pakistan Army's backbone main battle tank from 2012; thus replacing 1200 obsolete Chinese T-59 and 300 T-85IIAP. Not much is known about this tank, but it is reported that the Al Khalid II is a very extensive upgrade of the current Al Khalid. Other reports suggest that it will be an entirely new tank that is based on Western designs. Turkish press reported that a Pakistani armor firm will participate in the Turkey's new generation tank project. Turkey and Pakistan have signed many memorandums of understanding in various defence-related fields. Given that many Pakistani firms have signed joint agreements with Western firms, it is possible that a considerable part of the Al Khalid II's design will be influenced from the Turkish tank design. Nonetheless, the new generation tank is expected to form the backbone of the Pakistan Army's tank force; in the long-term.

Air Force

The main workhorse of the Pakistan Air Force from 2014 will be the JF-17 Thunder medium-tech, multi-role fighter aircraft; developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) in China and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Pakistan. At least 150 JF-17s are expected to be procured by the Pakistan Air Force by the end of 2015 but, this may easily go up to 300. The JF-17 Thunder is a 4th generation, medium-weight multi-role fighter aircraft capable of using various types of Beyond-Visual-Range (BVRAAM) Air-to-Air Missiles, Within-Visual-Range (WVRAAM) Air-to-Air Missiles and Air-to-Surface Precision-Guided Munitions (PGM).

In addition, to the JF-17s the PAF will also procure up to 50 Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft from China, 96 (new and used) F-16 Fighting Falcons A/B/C/D Block-15 and Block-52+, 6 Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C, 16 Air-to-Air Refueling Aircraft, 39+ K-8 Intermediate Jet Trainer and 12 C-130H w/6 reserve C-130H Medium Lift Transport Aircraft.


In 2005 Pakistan ordered four F-22P light frigates from China in a deal worth $600mn. The first is expected to be commissioned 2009 [] and the remainder by 2013. One of the F-22Ps will be built in the Karachi Shipyard. The F-22P is an improved version of the Type 053H3 Jiangwei II class light frigate, it has a displacement of at least 2500 tons. The first F-22P will be called PNS Zulfiqar, and thus become the Zulfiqar Class.

Plans to procure 4 used frigates were dropped in favour of 4 new-built corvettes. According to Turkish press the Pakistan Navy is reportedly interested in procuring the Milgem class corvettes from Turkey.

According to Jane's IDEAS2004 interview with former Pakistan Navy Chief ex-Admiral Kariumullah another four or so new frigates will be acquired. Kanwa Defence Review recently reported that the Pakistan Navy has shown recent interest in the Chinese Type 054 frigate.

In mid-2006 the Pakistan Navy announced its requirement of three new SSK attack submarines to replace the two Agosta-70 submarines and rebuild its fleet - after retiring the 4 Daphne class. French naval firm DCN offered its latest export design - the Marlin SSK - which is based on the Scorpene SSK, but also uses technology from the Barracuda nuclear attack submarine. The German firm HDW offered the U-214 SSK. The Pakistan Navy has awarded the construction of the three SSKs to Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW).

Pakistan is also seeking to enhance its strategic strike capability by developing naval variants of the Babur cruise missile. The Babur cruise missile has a range of 700 km and is capable of using both conventional and nuclear warheads. Future developments of Babur include capability of being launched from submarines, surface combatants and aircraft, as well as range extension from 500 km to 1000 km.


External links

* [ Pakistan Defence Organization]
* [ Inter Services Public Relations]
* [ Defence Export Promotion Organisation]
* [ I.D.E.A.S. Pakistan Defence Exhibition]
* [ Pakistan Air weapons complex]
* [ CIA World Factbook 2006]
* [ PAF Falcons Base]
* [ Pakistan Military Consortium]
* [ Pakistan Military Guide from]
* [ JCO Ranks]
* [ Rank insignia of the World]
* [ BBC Pakistan Military Through the Ages]

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