Colour Green and White
Founded 14 August 1947
Website Official Website
Attack aircraft Bell AH-1 Cobra
|Size 950,000 active troops500,000 reserves|
Anniversaries Defence Day: September 6
Motto إِيمَان, تقوى, في سبيل الله; English: A follower of none but God, the fear of God, struggle for God (Arabic)
Engagements Kargil War, Soviet–Afghan War, War on Terror
Transports Aérospatiale Alouette III, Bell 412
Similar Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Armed Forces, Master General of Ordnance (Pakistan)
Pakistan Army (Urdu: پاک فوج Pak Fauj (IPA: pɑk fɒ~ɔd͡ʒ); Reporting name: PA) is the land-based service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It came into existence after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) it had an active force of approximately 620,000 active personnel as of 2017. In Pakistan, there is 16–23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18. Pakistan Army has started inducting women as commissioned officers. Pakistani Air Force and Pakistani Navy have inducted their first female pilots and sailors in 2012 see details at Women in the Pakistan Armed Forces.
- UN peacekeeping missions
- Command structure
- Commissioned officers rank
- Subdivision by profession
- Operational commands
- Other field formations
- Special forces
- Combat doctrine
- Political and corporate activities
- Involvement in Pakistani society
- Enlisted ranks
- Officer ranks
- Academic institutions
- Science and technology
- Ethnic composition
- Women and non Muslims
- Recipients of Nishan e Haider
- Recipients of foreign awards
Since its establishment in 1947, the Army (along with its inter–services: the Navy and the Air Force) has been involved in four wars with neighbouring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan. Since 1947, it has also maintained a strong presence along with its inter-services in the Arab states during the past Arab-Israeli Wars, and aided the coalition in the first Gulf War. Recently, major joint-operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Zarb-e-Azb Operation Toar-e-Tander (Black Thunderstorm) and Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation).
The Army has also been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including playing a major role in rescuing trapped US soldiers in Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993. Under Article 243 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the President is appointed the civilian Commander-in-Chief. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), by statute a four-star general, is appointed by the President with the consultation and confirmation needed from the Prime Minister. The Pakistan Army is currently commanded by General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Chapter 2 of PART XII of the Constitution of Pakistan defines the purpose of the Army along with the other parts of the Armed Forces as:
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.
The Pakistan Army was created on the 30th of June of the year 1947 from the division of the British Indian Army. The then soon to be created Dominion of Pakistan 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. Fearing that India would take over the state of Kashmir, irregulars, scouts and tribal groups entered the Muslim majority state of Kashmir to oppose the Maharaja of Kashmir 1947. In response to this, the Maharaja acceded to India. The Indian Armed Forces were then deployed to Kashmir. This led to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Regular Army units joined the invasion later on but were stopped after the refusal of the Chief of Army Staff, British officer General Sir Frank Messervy, to obey Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah's orders to move the Army into Kashmir. A ceasefire followed on UN intervention with Pakistan occupying the northwestern part of Kashmir and India occupying the rest. Later, during the 1950s, the Pakistan Army received large amounts of economic and military aid from the United States and Great Britain after signing two mutual defence treaties, the Baghdad Pact, which led to the formation of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1954. This aid greatly expanded the Pakistan Army from its modest beginnings.
The Pakistan Army took over from politicians for the first time when General Ayub Khan came to power through a bloodless coup in 1958. He formed Convention Muslim League which included Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who would later become Pakistan's first democratically elected Prime Minister. Tensions with India flared in the 1960s and a brief border skirmish was fought near the Rann of Kutch area during April 1965. The War began after the failure of Operation Gibraltar on 5 August 1965. On the night of 6 September 1965, the Indian Army opened the war front to the Province of Punjab of Pakistan; the Indian Army almost reached the Pakistani city of Lahore. The Indian Army conquered around 360 square kilometres (139 square miles)–500 square kilometres (193 square miles) of Pakistani territory on the outskirts of Lahore. Indian forces halted their assault on Lahore once they had reached the village of Burki. The rationale for this was that a ceasefire was to be signed soon, and had India captured Lahore it would likely have been returned in ceasefire negotiations. The War eventually ended with a United Nations (UN) backed ceasefire and was followed by the Tashkent Declaration. 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 declaration, India reported casualties of about 3,000 killed. On the other hand, more than 4,000 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the battle. Indian sources claim that about 471 Pakistani tanks were either destroyed or captured by India. India lost a total of 128 tanks during the conflict.
However, most neutral assessments agree that India had the upper hand over Pakistan when ceasefire was declared. At the end of the war 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 territory occupied by India was mainly in the fertile Sialkot, Lahore and Kashmir sectors, while Pakistani land gains were primarily in southern deserts opposite Sindh and in Chumb sector near Kashmir in north. An uprising against Ayub Khan during 1968 and 1969 resulted in him relinquishing his office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army in favour of General Yahya Khan, who assumed power in 1969. The 16th Division, 18th Division and the 23rd Division were raised at some point between 1966 and 1969 and the 9th Division was also re-raised during this period.
During the rule of Yahya Khan, the people of East Pakistan protested against various political and economic disparities that had been imposed on them by West Pakistan and massive civil unrest broke out in East Pakistan.
The original plan envisioned taking control of the major cities on 26 March 1971, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. The prolonged Bengali resistance was not anticipated by Pakistani planners. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in the mid of May.
On 16 December 1971, Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender. Over 93,000 Pakistani personnel surrendered to the joint Indian and Bengali forces making it the largest surrender since World War II.
According to Maj. (Retd.) Agha Humayun Amin, the Pakistan Army commanders had not seriously considered an Indian invasion of East Pakistan until December 1971, because it was presumed that the Indian military would not risk intervention by China or the United States (US), who were generally close Pakistani allies. Maj Mazhar states that the Pakistan Army's senior 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 US had not made any real effort to persuade India against attacking East Pakistan.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight was sent to fetch Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from New York, who at that time was presenting Pakistan's case before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the East Pakistan crisis. Bhutto returned home on 18 December 1971. On 20 December, he was taken to the President House in Rawalpindi where he took over two positions from Yahya Khan, one as President and the other as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Thus, he was the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan.
The PAF and Navy's fighter pilots have 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.
In 1977, a coup, Operation Fair Play, was staged by General Zia ul-Haq and the government was overthrown. This led to the hanging of Bhutto after he was tried and proclaimed guilty of conspiracy of murdering a political opponent by Zia's handpicked judges. Zia retracted on his promise of holding elections within 90 days and ruled as a military dictator until his death in an air crash in 1988. General Mohammad Iqbal Khan served as a joint chief from 1980 to 1984 and was the Chief Martial Law Officer during that time.
In the mid-1970s, the Pakistan Army was involved in fighting an uprising in the Province of Balochistan. Various Baloch factions wanted independence or at least greater provincial rights. The rebellion was put down on the behest of the Bhutto government but the Army suffered heavy casualties. After Bhutto was deposed, the province returned to normalcy under General Rahimuddin.
In the 1980s, the Pakistan Armed Forces co-operated with the United States to provide arms, ammunition and intelligence assistance to Afghan rebels who were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Rising tensions with neighboring USSR in their involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence community, mostly the ISI, systematically coordinated the U.S. resources to the Afghan mujahideen and foreign fighters against the Soviet Union's presence in the region. Military reports indicated that the PAF was in engagement with the Soviet Air Force, supported by the Afghan Air Force during the course of the conflict; one of which belonged to Alexander Rutskoy.
During 1st Gulf War, the Pakistan Army contributed troops for the defence of Saudi Arabia against a possible attack by Iraq. The 153 SP Air Defence Regiment deployed in Tabuk scored multiple hits on number of Iraqi Scuds and provided round the clock air defence protection to Saudi troops in the area.
Pakistan sent UN Peacekeeping forces to the former Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav wars. During the war, Pakistan supported Bosnia while providing technical and military support. Approximately 90,000 Pakistani people went to Bosnia during the Yugoslav wars, accounting for 20% of the volunteer military force. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) allegedly ran an active military intelligence program during the Bosnian War which started in 1992 lasting until 1995. The program distributed and coordinated the systematic supply of arms to various groups of Bosnian mujahideen during the war. The ISI Bosnian contingent was organized with financial assistance provided by Saudi Arabia, according to the British historian Mark Curtis. Despite the UN arms embargo in Bosnia, it was later alleged that the ISI airlifted anti-tank weapons and missiles to Bosnian mujahideen which turned the tide in favor of Bosnian Muslims and forced the Serbs to lift the genocidal siege of Sarajevo.
In October 1999, after the Kargil Conflict ended with the unconditional withdrawal of the Pakistani forces from the Indian controlled peaks, the Pakistan Army overthrew a democratically elected government once more, resulting in additional sanctions being applied against Pakistan, leading to General Pervez Musharraf coming to power in a bloodless coup. However, this time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sacked Musharraf when he was on his way to Pakistan from Colombo. He dismissed him as Chief of Army Staff and appointed General Ziauddin Butt to that position instead, when Musharraf's plane was in the air. That was not enough, the plane was not allowed to land at the airport in Karachi and barricades were erected on the runway. The corps commanders acted swiftly across Pakistan, particularly in Karachi and Islamabad. Brigadiar Muzaffar Usmani took control of the airport in Karachi and arrested the then Inspector General of Sindh Police, Rana Maqbool Ahmed. Musharraf stepped down as President in August 2008. On 30 July 2009, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule was unconstitutional.
After the September 11 attacks in the United States, Pakistan joined the US-led War on Terror and helped the United States Armed Forces by severing ties with the Taliban and immediately deploying 72,000 troops along Pakistan's western border to capture or kill Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants fleeing from Afghanistan. On the north western front, Pakistan initially garrisoned its troops in military bases and forts in the tribal areas. In May 2004, clashes erupted between the Pakistani troops and Al-Qaeda's and other militants joined by local rebels and pro-Taliban forces. However, the offensive was poorly coordinated and the Army suffered heavy casualties, while public support for the attack quickly evaporated. After a two-year conflict from 2004 until 2006, the Pakistani military negotiated a ceasefire with the tribesmen from the region in which they pledged to hunt down Al-Qaeda members, stop the "Talibanization" of the region and stop attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, the militants did not hold up their end of the bargain and began to regroup and rebuild their strength from the previous two years of conflict.
Militants took over the Lal Masjid in Islamabad. After a six-month standoff fighting erupted again in July 2007 when the Pakistani military decided to use force to end the Lal Masjid threat. Once the operation ended, the then newly formed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group of militants based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semi-autonomous region of Pakistan, vowed revenge and launched a wave of attacks and suicide bombings which erupted all over North-West Pakistan and major Pakistani cities, including Karachi, throughout 2007.
The militants then expanded their base of operations and moved into the neighbouring Swat Valley, where they imposed Sharia law. The Pakistan Army launched an offensive to re-take the Swat Valley in 2007, but was unable to clear it of the militants who had fled into the mountains and waited for them to leave before taking over the valley again. The militants then launched another wave of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. The Pakistani government and military tried another peace deal with the militants in Swat Valley in 2008. This was roundly criticized in the West as abdicating to the militants. After initially pledging to lay down their arms if Sharia law was implemented, the Pakistani Taliban subsequently used the Swat Valley as a springboard to launch further attacks into neighbouring regions, reaching to within 60 kilometres (37 mi) of Islamabad.
Public opinion then turned decisively against the Taliban terrorists. This opinion was highlighted following the release of a video showing the flogging of a girl by the Pakistani Taliban in the Swat Valley. Similar events and terrorist attacks finally forced the Pakistan Army to launch a decisive attack against the Taliban occupying Swat Valley in April 2009, after having orders received from the political leadership. After heavy fighting, the Swat Valley was largely pacified by July 2009, although isolated pockets of Taliban remained in the area.
The next phase of the Pakistan Army's offensive was the formidable Waziristan region. A US unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) bomb strike in FATA killed the leader of the Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, in August. A power struggle engulfed the Taliban during September, but by October a new leader had emerged, Hakimullah Mehsud. Under his leadership, the Taliban launched another wave of terrorist attacks throughout Pakistan, killing hundreds of people. After a few weeks of air strikes, artillery and mortar attacks, 30,000 troops moved on into South Waziristan. The Army eventually re-took all of South Waziristan.
In April 2012 an avalanche struck the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion headquarters in Ghyari sector of Siachen, entrapping 135 soldiers.
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 and state implosions which have necessitated involvement of the United Nations peace keeping forces for conflict resolution.
The United Nations has been undertaking peace keeping operations since its inception, but the need for employment of peace keeping forces has increased significantly since the Gulf War. In 1992, there were 11,000 Blue Berets deployed around the world, by the end of the year the figure rose to 52,000. Presently, it exceeds 80,000 troops. Pakistan has given the largest number of troops for the UN peacekeeping mission which gives Pakistan an eminent position among rest of the nations. Pakistan has always been very active and serious to make its efforts for peace-making process not only in its own region but the whole world despite of many challenges and terrorism activities it has faced.
The table below shows the current deployment of Pakistani forces in UN Peacekeeping missions.
The President of Pakistan is the civilian supreme commander of the Pakistan Armed Forces by statute. The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), a four-star general, is the highest general officer (unless the four-star general is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee), a field and operational commander as well as a highest Army four-star general officer, directs the non-combat and combatant operations from army combatant headquarters in Rawalpindi. The Principal Staff Officers (PSO) assisting him in his duties at the Lieutenant-General level include a Chief of General Staff (CGS), under whom the Military Operations and Intelligence Directorates function; the Chief of Logistics Staff (CLS); the Adjutant General (AG); the Quarter-Master General (QMG); the Inspector General of Training and Evaluation (IGT and E); the Military Secretary (MS); and the Engineer-in-Chief, a top Army topographer. A major reorganization in GHQ was done in September 2008 under General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, when two new PSO positions were introduced: the Inspector General Arms and the Inspector General Communications and IT, thus raising the number of PSO's to eight.
The headquarters function also includes the Judge Advocate General (JAG), and the Comptroller of Civilian Personnel, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Corps of Engineers who is also head of Military Engineering Service (MES), all of them also report to the Chief of the Army Staff.
Commissioned officers rank
The rank structure is patterned on the British Army model. It consists of commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and the Junior Commissioned Officers.
Non-commissioned officers wear respective regimental colour chevrons on the right sleeve. Centre point of the uppermost chevron must remain 10 cm from the point of the shoulder. Company / battalion appointments wear the appointments badges on the right wrist.
Subdivision by profession
The Pakistan Army is divided into two main branches, which are Arms and Services.
The Pakistan Army operates three commands during peace time. Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Lieutenant General. Each command is directly affiliated to the Army HQ in Rawalpindi.
According to Globalsecurity.org, drawing on Pakistani media sources, three commands, supervising a number of corps each, have been formed: Northern Command, Central Command, and Southern Command.
A corps is an Army field formation responsible for a zone within a command theatre. There are three types of corps in the Pakistani Army: Strike, Holding and Mixed. A command generally consists of two or more corps. A corps has Army divisions under its command. The Corps HQ is the highest field formation in the army.
There are 13 Corps in Pakistan Army, split between Combat and Services Arms. The Combat Arms are composed of a mix of Infantry, Mechanized, Armored and Artillery Divisions, while the Air Defense, Aviation and Strategic Forces Commands are organized as separate corps. The Strategic Forces Command is responsible for training, deployment and activation of Pakistan's nuclear missiles. The last Corps is called the Force Command Northern Area (FCNA) which is Headquartered at Gilgit and is reported to have 5 Infantry Brigades.
Forces in action or poised for action include XI Corps, which has been heavily engaged in fighting the Taliban and other extremists along Pakistan's north-western border, and the 323rd Infantry Brigade, part of Forces Command Northern Areas, on the Siachen Glacier.
The peace time commands are given below in their correct order of raising, and location (city).
Other field formations
There are several battalions or units associated together in an infantry regiment. The infantry regiment in the Pakistani Army is an administrative military organisation and not a field formation. All the battalions of a regiment do not fight together as one formation, but are dispersed over various formations, viz. brigades, divisions and corps. An infantry battalion serves for a period of time under a formation and then moves to another, usually in another sector or terrain when its tenure is over. Occasionally, battalions of the same regiment may serve together for a tenure.
Most of the infantry regiments of the Pakistani Army originate from the old British Indian Army and recruit troops from a region or of specific ethnicities.
Regiments of the Pakistani Army include:
The Special Services Group (SSG) is an independent commando regiment/corps of the Pakistan Army. It is an elite special operations force similar to the United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and the British Army's SAS.
The Pakistan Army has developed a doctrine called the Riposte which is a limited "offensive-defence" doctrine. It has refined it consistently starting in 1989 during the Exercise Zarb–e–Momin. This doctrine is fully focused towards Pakistan's primary adversary, India.
The doctrine is derived from several factors:
- The vulnerability of Pakistan is that so many of its major population centers and politically and military sensitive targets lie very close to the border with India. As such Pakistan can ill-afford to lose large territories to an Indian attack.
- 'Strategic depth' in the form of a friendly Afghanistan is deemed vital by military planners.
- India has substantially enhanced its offensive capabilities, with the Cold Start Doctrine. Any counterattack would be very tricky against the large number of Indian troops involved. The response of the Pakistani army includes the development of the Nasr missile.
- Holding formations in both Pakistan and India can man their forward defensive positions and fortifications in less than 24 hours. However, Corps level reserves with large stockpiles of munitions will take between 24 and 72 hours for mobilization after being given their orders. In this regard, both armies will be evenly matched in the first 24 hours since the Pakistani units have to travel a shorter distance to their forward positions.
This doctrine entails Pakistan in the event of hostilities with India will not wait for the enemy's offensive, but rather launch an offensive of its own. The offensive will be a limited advance along narrow fronts with the aim of occupying territory near the border to a depth of 40–50 km. 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 Indians.
The Pakistan hopes to accomplish three things under this strategy:
- The enemy is kept off-balance as it will be tied up containing the Pakistani offensive into its territory rather than launching an offensive into Pakistani territory.
- The Pakistani Army hopes to contain the fighting on the Indian side of the border so that any collateral or other damage will be suffered by India.
- Indian territory of strategic importance once seized, will give the Pakistani Army a bargaining chip to be used in the aftermath of a ceasefire brought about by international pressure after 3–4 weeks of fighting.
Kashmir, Line of Control and the Northern Punjab areas are heavily fortified and ill-suited for large mechanized offensives. The most likely area where Pakistan and India might launch its offensive is the semi-desert and desert sectors in southern Punjab and Sindh provinces. To supplement this doctrine, the Army in the 1990s created a strong centralized corps of reserves for its formations. The force is known as Army Reserve South and is a grouping of several powerful Corps from Pakistan's Order of Battle. These formations have been rapidly equipped with assets needed for mechanized capability. These reserve formations are dual-capable, meaning they can be used for offensive as well as defensive (holding) purposes. Pakistan has also increased its ammunition, fuel and other military stockpiles to last for 45 days in case of a conflict. During the 1965 war for instance, Pakistan only had 13-day reserves which hampered its military operations.
Political and corporate activities
The Pakistan Army has always played an integral part in local politics since its inception mainly on the pretext of lack of good civilian leadership, corruption, and inefficieny. It has virtually acted as a third party that has repeatedly seized power in the name of stabilizing Pakistan and ending corruption. However, according to the political observers, political instability, lawlessness and corruption are direct consequences of army rule.
The tradition of insubordination of the army towards the legitimate leadership of can be traced back to Lt. Gen Frank Messervy who resisted the orders of Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This was described as the main reason for his early retirement. However it did not prevent him being honored and promoted to general. Later Douglas Gracey, the C in C of the Pakistan Army did not send troops to the Kashmir front and refused to obey the order to do so given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Governor-General of Pakistan. Gracey argued that Jinnah as Governor-General represented the British Crown of which he himself was an appointee. The same tradition was continued by their successors, Ayub Khan, Zia and Musharraf, all of whom received honours instead of being tried for indiscipline, corruption and insubordination.
The army runs the largest real estate business in Pakistan under the auspices of Defense Housing Societies and other welfare societies. However out 46 housing schemes directly built by the armed forces, none is for ordinary soldiers or civilian officers and personnel employed by the army. The Army is also engaged in other corporate activities such as stud and dairy farms meant for the army's own use. Others enterprises perform functions in local civilian economy such as bakeries, security services and banking. Army factories produced such goods as sugar, fertilizer, and brass castings and sold them to civilian consumers albeit at prices higher than those charged from military personnel.
Pakistan military has the biggest share in Pakistan's stock exchange. It operates commercial bank, airline, steel, cement, telecom, petroleum and energy, education, sports, health care and even chains of grocery shops and bakeries.
Several Army organizations operate in the commercial sector across the country. For example, the National Logistics Cell was responsible for trucking food and other goods across the country; the Frontier Works Organization built the Karakoram Highway to China; and the Special Communication Organization maintained communications networks in remote parts of Pakistan.
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 natural disaster, such as the great floods of 1992 or the October 2005 devastating earthquake, army engineers, medical and logistics personnel, and the armed forces played a major role in bringing relief and supplies.
The Pakistan Army has been involved in relief activities not only in Pakistan but also in many other countries of the world, such as the relief activities after Bangladesh was hit by floods. The Army also dispatched relief to Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after they were hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the resulting tsunami.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) the Pakistan Army has an active force of 550,000 personnel as of 2015.
Most enlisted personnel used to come from rural families, and many have only rudimentary literacy skills, but with the increase in the literacy level the requirements have been raised to Matriculate level (10th Grade). Recruits are processed gradually through a paternalistically run regimental training center, taught the official language, Urdu, if necessary, and given a period of elementary education before their military training actually starts.
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. Enlisted men usually serve for eighteen years, during which they participate in regular training cycles and have the opportunity to take academic courses to help them advance.
Each year, about 320 men enter the Army bi-annually through the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in Abbottabad in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; a small number—like doctors and technical specialists—are directly recruited, and are part of the officer corps. The product of a highly competitive selection process, members of the officer corps have completed twelve years of education and 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.
The Army has twelve other training and educational establishments, including schools concentrating on specific skills such as infantry, artillery, intelligence, engineering, or mountain warfare. The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has been established which has absorbed the existing colleges of engineering, signals, electrical engineering and medicine. At the apex of the army training system is the Command and Staff College at Quetta, one of the few institutions inherited from the colonial period. The college offers a ten-month course in tactics, staff duties, administration, and command functions through the division level. Students from foreign countries, including the United States, have attended the school but reportedly have been critical of its narrow focus and failure to encourage speculative thinking or to give adequate attention to less glamorous subjects, such as logistics.
The senior training institution for all service branches is the National Defence University, Islamabad. Originally established in 1971 at Rawalpindi, to provide training in higher military strategy for senior officers, the institution was relocated to Islamabad in 1995. According to Aqil Shah, the NDU is significant for understanding the institutional norms of military tutelage in Pakistan because it constitutes the “highest forum where the military leadership comes together for common instruction.” Without graduating from the NDU (or a foreign equivalent), no officer can become a general. Besides, the NDU training program represents a radical shift from the emphasis on operational and staff functions in the training of junior officers (for example, majors at the Staff College) to educating colonels and brigadiers about a broad range of strategic political, social, and economic factors as they affect national security. In that sense, it constitutes the senior officer corps’s baptism into a shared ideological framework about the military’s appropriate role, status, and behavior in relation to state and society. These shared values affect how these officers perceive and respond to civilian governmental decisions, policies, and political crises. It also offers courses that allow civilians to explore the broader aspects of national security. In a program begun in the 1980s to upgrade the intellectual standards of the officer corps and increase awareness of the wider world, a small group of officers, has been detailed to academic training, achieving master's degrees and even doctorates at universities in Pakistan and abroad.
Pakistani officers were sent abroad during the 1950s and into the 1960s for training in Britain and other Commonwealth countries, and the United States, where trainees numbering well in the hundreds attended a full range of institutions ranging from armoured and infantry schools to the higher staff and command institutions. After 1961 this training was coordinated under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, but numbers varied along with the vicissitudes of the United States-Pakistan military relationship. Of some 200 officers being sent abroad annually in the 1980s, over two-thirds went to the United States, but the cessation of United States aid in 1990 entailed suspension of the IMET program. In 1994 virtually all foreign training was in Commonwealth countries. However, after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan again begun sending officers to US Army schools. Today there are more than 400 officers serving in foreign countries. Officers retire between the ages of fifty-two and sixty, depending on their rank.
Science and technology
Apart from conducting military operations, exercises, and military ethics, the Pakistan Army maintains its own science and technology corps and organizations. Most notable science and engineering corps including Military Engineering Service (MES) Corps of Engineers, Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME), and Frontier Works Organisation. Its Army Strategic Forces Command served as the primary military organization in the matters of conducting and directing research on nuclear and space (such as military satellites). The cadets and officers of the Pakistan Army who wished to study science and technology are given admission at the College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (CEME) and the Military College of Engineering where the scientific and military education are taught. The admissions of engineering colleges are not restricted to civilians as they can also gain admission and graduate with engineering and science degrees.
Pakistan Army uniforms closely resemble those of the British Armed Forces. The principal colour is greenish brown. Dress uniforms were worn mostly on formal occasions. The service uniform was worn for daily duty. The service uniform for the ground forces was khaki (sand/tan) cotton. Officers purchased their uniforms, but enlisted personnel received a standard uniform issue, which consisted of service and field uniforms, fatigues, and in some cases, dress uniforms. The uniforms consisted of shirt, trousers, sweater, jacket or blouse, and boots. There is also a white dress uniform. The fatigues were the same for winter and summer. Heavy winter gear was issued as needed. Headgear included a service cap for dress and semi-dress and a field cap worn with fatigues. Army personnel also wear berets, usually worn in lieu of the service cap.
Brown and black and more recently former US BDU style camouflage fatigues are worn by army troop units. The uniform of a Pakistan army soldier exhibits much information i.e.
Pakistan Army has introduced pixilated arid camouflage pattern in uniform and resized qualification badges which are now colourless and service ribbons are no longer worn along with the ranks are now embroidered and are on chest. The name is embroidered and is on right pocket and the left pocket displays embroidered Pak Army. Flag of Pakistan is placed over the black embroidered formation sign on the left arm and adventure course insignias are put up as per ADR for khaki uniform, decorations & awards and the ranks.
Traditionally, the Army was a predominantly Punjabi force because of its dominant population (Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 55% of the country's total population). From the early 20th century in British controlled regions of Pakistan, three districts: Jhelum, Rawalpindi, and Campbellpur (now Attock) dominated the recruitment flows.
Large extensive efforts have been made to bring all ethnicities on par, presently the Army recruitment system is enlisting personnel district-wise irrespective of provincial boundaries. 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 2005, the Punjab representation in the Army was down to 43%, from 63% in 1991, with further drops projected.
Women and non-Muslims
Women have served in the Pakistan Army since its foundation. Currently, there is a sizeable number of women serving in the Pakistan Army. Most women are recruited in the Army to perform medical and educational work. There is also a Women's Guard section of Pakistan's National Guard where women are trained in nursing, welfare and clerical work and there are also women recruited in very limited numbers for the Janbaz Force. Only recently has Pakistan began to recruit women for Elite Anti-Terrorist Police Force in 2007, several female graduates were nominated to be Sky Marshals for Pakistan-based airlines. In addition recently eight of the 41 cadets from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul became the first women guards of honour. Pakistan is the only country in the Islamic world to have female Major Generals in the Army. Major General Shahida Malik an Army doctor was Pakistan's first female two-star general.
Between 1947 and 2000, Pakistani Hindus were barred from joining the Army. This was changed in 2000 and since then, Pakistani Hindus were admitted for the first time. Today, people of all faiths or no faith may join and serve. Non Muslims are allowed to sit in all examinations and can serve in any part of the Pakistan Army. They can also be promoted to any rank.
There have been numerous Christians who have risen to the rank of Brigadier. In April 1993 the first Christian promoted to the rank of Major General was Julian Peter who commanded the 40th Strike Division in Okara Cantt. In 2009 Brigadier Noel Israel Khokhar was also promoted to the rank of Major General. Major General Noel Israel Kokhar commanded the 23rd Division in Jehlum Cantt.
Capt. Hercharn Singh, as the first Sikh, is Commissioned Officer in Pakistan Army. He was commissioned in Baloch Regiment. Currently, he is serving as an ADC to a Corps Commander.
Recipients of Nishan-e-Haider
The Nishan-e-Haider (Urdu: نشان حیدر) (Sign of the Lion) is the highest military award given by Pakistan, ranking above the Hilal-i-Jur'at (Crescent of Courage). Nishan-e-Haider recipients receive an honorary title as a sign of respect: Shaheed meaning martyr for deceased recipients. As of 19 September 2013, all Nishan-e-Haider awards have thus far been given to the people engaged in battles with India.
Similar to the American Medal of Honor or the British Victoria Cross, it has only been awarded to 10 Pakistan Army personnel since 1947:
Recipients of foreign awards
Two Pakistani pilots belonging to the army aviation branch of Pakistan Army who carried out a daring rescue of a mountaineer were given Slovenia's top award for bravery. Slovenian, Tomaz Humar got stranded on the western end of the 8,125m Nanga Parbat mountain where he remained for around a week on top of the world's ninth-highest peak. The helicopter pilots plucked the 38-year-old from an icy ledge 6,000m up the peak known as "killer mountain".
The Slovenian President presented Lt Col Rashid Ullah Beg and Lt Col Khalid Amir Rana 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.
Pakistan Army team was awarded a gold medal at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise held in Wales in 2010. According to ISPR, "Rawalpindi based X Corps team represented Pakistan Army in Exercise Cambrian Patrol – 2010, held from 11–13 October 2010 and by the Grace of Allah, the team showed an excellent performance by winning a Gold Medal in the event, which is a big honour not only for Army but for the Country as a whole."
The equipment currently in use by the Pakistan Army is divided into the following main sections: small arms, armour, artillery, aircraft and air defence systems.Domestic suppliers provides most of the hi-tech equipment to the Pakistan Army, whereas foreign hi-tech equipment are of either Chinese, European or American origin.
The Pakistan Army has a noteworthy sports program with elite athletes in many sports disciplines. An example of the program's success is its basketball program which regularly provides the Pakistan national basketball team with key players.