Pakistan Armed Forces

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Pakistan Armed Forces
پاک مسلح افواج
State emblem of Pakistan.svg
Service branchesFlag 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
HeadquartersJoint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Mamnoon Hussain
Minister of DefenceKhawaja Asif
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff CommitteeGeneral Rashad Mahmood
Pakistan Army
Military age16–49 years old
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 personnel617,000 (ranked 7th)
Reserve personnel550,000 (ranked 15th)
Budget$6.98 billion (2013–14) (ranked 25th)
Percent of GDP2.7% (2013)
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers
Annual imports China,  United States
Related articles
RanksAwards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces
  (Redirected from Military of Pakistan)
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Pakistan Armed Forces
پاک مسلح افواج
State emblem of Pakistan.svg
Service branchesFlag 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
HeadquartersJoint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Mamnoon Hussain
Minister of DefenceKhawaja Asif
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff CommitteeGeneral Rashad Mahmood
Pakistan Army
Military age16–49 years old
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 personnel617,000 (ranked 7th)
Reserve personnel550,000 (ranked 15th)
Budget$6.98 billion (2013–14) (ranked 25th)
Percent of GDP2.7% (2013)
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers
Annual imports China,  United States
Related articles
RanksAwards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces

The Pakistan Armed Forces (Urdu: پاک مُسَلّح افواج‎, Musallah Afwaj-e-Pakistan) are the military forces of Pakistan. They are the seventh largest in the world in terms of active troops. The armed forces comprise three main branches: Army, Navy and the Air Force, together with a number of paramilitary forces and Strategic Plans Division (SPD) forces.

Since 1962, the PAF has had close military relations with the People's Republic of China, working jointly to develop the JF-17 Thunder, the K-8 Karakorum, and other weapons systems. As of 2013 China is the largest foreign supplier of military equipment to Pakistan.[1] Both nations also cooperate on development of nuclear and space technology programs.[2][3][4] Their armies have a schedule for organizing joint military exercises.[5] The PAF also maintains close military relations with the United States, which gave Pakistan MNNA (Major non-NATO ally) status in 2004. Pakistan gets the bulk of its military equipment from domestic suppliers, China, and the US.[1]

The armed forces were formed in 1947 when Pakistan became independent from the British Empire. 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 Pakistani government. Border clashes with Afghanistan led to the creation of paramilitary forces to deal with civil unrest and secure border areas. In 2010, the Pakistan Armed Forces 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.[6] The armed forces have a large pool of volunteers and as such, conscription is not, and has never been needed.[7]

The Pakistan Armed Forces are the best organized institution in the country, and are highly respected in civil society.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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 Pakistani military has its roots in the British military, in which many Pakistanis served prior to the 1947 declaration that marked the establishment of Pakistan. Many of the senior officers who would form the Pakistan Armed Forces had fought with 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. 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.[11]

Between 1947 and 1971 Pakistan fought three conventional wars against India.[12] The last of these, the 1971 War, ended with the secession of East Pakistan (which became Bangladesh). 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. In 1999, an extended period of intense border skirmishing with India resulted in a redeployment of forces. 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.

The armed forces have taken control of the Government of Pakistan several times since independence, citing corruption and gross inefficiency on the part of the civilian leadership. While many Pakistanis have supported these seizures of power,[13] others have claimed that political instability, lawlessness, and corruption are direct consequences of army rule.[14][15]

Current deployments[edit]

Within Pakistan[edit]

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.[16] In the aftermath of the United States invasion of Afghanistan, more than 150,000 personnel were shifted towards the Tribal Areas adjacent to Afghanistan.[17] 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.[10]

Organization and Command Structure[edit]

Military combat coordination and joint execution of operations are overseen by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[citation needed] After witnessing the military failure of the 1971 war, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was established, with the Joint Staff Headquarters serving as its operational headquarters.

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 Committee[edit]

Prime Minister, Joint and Services Chiefs at a farewell dinner, November 2013.

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.[18] 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.[18]

Appointed by the Prime minister and confirmed by the President, 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.[19] In his capacity as chief military adviser, he assists the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense in exercising their command functions.[19]

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with all aspects of joint-military coordination affecting the security of the state, and is charged with the integration of inter-service operational plans.[19] 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.[19]

The Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee include:

OfficeIncumbentServiceTerm Began

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff

Pakistan Army29 November 2013

Chief of Naval Staff

Pakistan Navy7 October 2011
Chief of Air Staff
Pakistan Air Force19 March 2012

Chief of Army Staff

Pakistan Army29 November 2013


Pakistan Navy Ships

Troop Strength[edit]

As of 2010, about 617,000 people[6] were on active duty in the military, with an additional 420,000 in the paramilitary forces[6] 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.[citation needed] 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.[20]

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
ServiceTotal Active Duty Personnel[6]Total Reserve[6]
Air Force45,0008,000
Paramilitary Forces420,0000
SPD Forces21,000[21][22]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[edit]

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[edit]

  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.[23][24]
  2. Hilal-i-Jurat
  3. Sitara-i-Jurat
  4. Tamgha-i-Jurat

Foreign military relations[edit]


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[edit]

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.[25] 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.[25][26] 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.[27]

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.[28][29]

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

United States and NATO[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[33]

General Peter Pace salutes Pakistani servicemen.

Pakistan has maintained strong military–to–military relations with the 28 states comprising the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[34] NATO regards its relations with Pakistan as "partners across the globe."[34] With the support of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pakistan was designated a "Major non-NATO ally" in 2004.[35][36][37][38]

Since the 2000s, the military relations with Russian armed forces are boosted with the Pakistan armed forces.[39][40]

Middle Eastern Countries[edit]

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.[41] 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[42]

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[edit]

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.[43]

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.[citation needed] Following the secretive tradition of its inter-services, the actual number of its serving personnel is kept and classified.

UN peacekeeping forces[edit]

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.[44]

The table below shows the current deployment of Pakistani Forces in UN Peacekeeping missions.

Start of operationName of OperationLocationConflictContribution
1999United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)Democratic Republic of the CongoDemocratic Republic of CongoSecond Congo War3,556 Troops.[45]
2003United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)LiberiaLiberiaSecond Liberian Civil War2,741 Troops.[46]
2004United Nations Operation in Burundi ONUBBurundiBurundiBurundi Civil War1,185 Troops.[47]
2004United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI)Ivory CoastCôte d'IvoireCivil war in Côte d'Ivoire1,145 Troops.[48]
2005United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS)SudanSudanSecond Sudanese Civil War1,542 Troops.[49]
Staff/Observers191 Observers.[50]

Involvement in Pakistani civil society[edit]

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.[51] As an institution, the armed forces have been integrated into Pakistani civil society since the establishment of the country in 1947.[52] 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.[52]

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.[53] In 2010, armed forces personnel donated one day of salary for their flood effected brethren.[54]

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.

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.[55]

Nuclear arms and policy[edit]

Pakistan successfully conducted and demonstrated its first publicly announced nuclear tests in 1998. The tests (Codename: Chagai-I, followed by Chagai-II) were performed in direct response to India's Pokhran-II nuclear 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"[56] 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.[57] According to United States military sources, Pakistan has achieved survivability in a possible nuclear conflict through second strike capability.[58]

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".[59]

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.

Defence Intelligence[edit]

Since 1947, there are three main defence intelligence services operationalized in the military. The Military Intelligence, Naval Intelligence and the Air Intelligence are tasked with counterintelligence 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.

Military Academies[edit]

The Military Academies Are:

Some other Professional and Technical Military Institutes:

Military Justice system[edit]

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.[60] 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.[61] The identities of active-duty uniformed JAG officials are kept classified and no details of such individuals are made available to media.[60]

All three Inter-service laws are administered by the individual inter-services under the central reporting supervision of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).[61] The army has a four-tier system; the air force, navy, marines have a three-tier systems.[61] 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.[61] 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.[61]

The Supreme Court and the civilian courts cannot question decisions handed down by the military judges and double jeopardy is prohibited.[61] 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.[61] 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.[61] These courts are empowered to mete out a wide range of punishments including death.[61] All sentences of imprisonment are served in military prisons or detention barracks.[61]

Weapons industry[edit]


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.[62] 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.[62]

By 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan had established the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) in Wah Military District, with a civilian chemist, Dr. Abdul Hafeez, serving as director and senior scientist.[62] The POF was oriented towards the production of small arms, ammunition, and chemical explosives.[62] During the period of reliance on United States supply, from 1955 to 64, there was little attention given to domestic production. Almost all military weapons and equipment were provided by the United States, as part of Pakistan's membership in SEATO and CENTO.[62] By 1963, the Defence Science and Technology Organization (DESTO) was formed by POF director Hafeez for the purposes of military research and development.[62] 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.[61] Since 1971, the military budget of the armed forces grew by 200% in support of armed forces contingency operations.[61] During the administrations of Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, approximately 50–60% of scientific research and funding went to military efforts.[61]

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.[61] Despite criticism from the country's influential political science sphere,[63] the military budget was increased an additional 10.2% by the government for the fiscal year 2013-14.[64]

Defence Industry[edit]

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

As part of a new military policy, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) was established in 1971 as an equipment rebuilding facility, followed in 1973 by the establishment of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at Kamra, north of Islamabad. The militarization of the Karachi Shipyard Engineering Works took place the same year. The PAC reverse engineered several of the Chinese F–6J, F–7P, and French Mirage III and V fighter jets, built the Mushak trainer (which was based on the Swedish SAAB Safari), and maintained radar and avionics equipment. After the success of the Mushak, the Super Mushak and the state-of-art Karakoram-8 advanced training jet were produced. In 1972, the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) was established to promote and coordinate the patchwork of military production facilities that had developed since independence.[62] The ministry includes seven other specialized organizations devoted to research and development, production, and administration.[62]

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 construction of nuclear weapons led to the "Pressler amendment" (introduced by US Senator Larry Pressler) and an economic and military embargo. Pakistan was forced to focus on military industrial programs of its own. 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.[62]

After the success of its major projects in the defence industry, the Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) was created to promote Pakistani defence equipment to the world by inviting major and small players to 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.[65]

Main Service Branches[edit]


Pakistani soldiers being decorated after a tour of duty with the UN in the DR Congo
Main article: Pakistan Army

The Pakistan Army (PA), which came into existence on Pakistani independence in 1947, is the largest branch of the nation's military. It is a professional, volunteer fighting force, with (although estimates vary widely) about 550,000 active personnel and 500,000 reserves.[66][67] It possesses about 3,100 tanks, 3,200 armored fighting vehicles, 500 self-propelled guns, 3,300 towed artillery pieces, and 200 multiple-launch rocket systems.[68] The Pakistan Army Aviation Corps operates about 250 aircraft, including 40 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.[69]

Since 1947, the Army has been involved in three wars with neighbouring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan.[70] It maintained a strong presence in the Arab states during the Arab-Israeli Wars, aided the coalition in the first Persian Gulf War, and played a major role in 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.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), by statute a four-star general, is appointed by the President, with the consultation and confirmation of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.[71] Pakistan Army is currently commanded by General Raheel Sharif.[72][73]

Air Force[edit]

Main article: Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan's indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan plans to deploy over 300 of these fighters.
Pakistani F16s parked at a base in Nevada during delivery to Pakistan.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is the seventh largest air force in the world and the largest in the Islamic world, with about 400 combat fighter jets and over 200 trainer, transport, communication, helicopter, and force multiplier aircraft. The combat air inventory is a mix of American and Chinese-built aircraft. However, the air force plans to retire several types of combat aircraft by 2019. Joint production and further development of the JF-17 Thunder light-weight multi-role fighter is ongoing, and around 150 JF-17 are expected to be operational by 2015, replacing all A-5C, F-7P, Mirage III, and Mirage V fighter-bombers. The F-7PG will be replaced later, and the JF-17 fleet may eventually be expanded to 300 aircraft.[74] The PAF has placed orders for at least 36 Chengdu J-10 fighters from China,[75] around 26 upgraded second-hand F-16AM/BMs, and at least 18 new-built F-16C/D Advanced Block 52s. Two types of Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft have been introduced: four Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&Cs from Sweden, and six ZDK-03s (a Chinese AWACS based on the Shaanxi Y-8F-600 cargo aircraft).[76] Four Il-78 aerial tankers, capable of refueling the Mirage III/V, JF-17 and J-10, have been acquired second-hand from Ukrainian surplus stocks. The fleet of Shenyang FT-5 and T-37 Tweet trainers is being replaced by around 75 K-8 Karakorum intermediate (jet) training aircraft.[77]


Main article: Pakistan Navy
Pakistan Navy Frigate PNS Shahjahan
Mclanery (ASW) Class For Pakistan Navy
PNS Babur

The Pakistan Navy is responsible for protecting Pakistan's ports, sea lanes, and 1,046 kilometres (650 mi) of coastline, as well as supporting the nation's various security and peacekeeping missions. With over 95% of its foreign commerce being seaborne, the Navy plays a vital role in the nation's economic security. PN has about 30,000 active-duty personnel, 70 ships, and 40 aircraft.[78]Eleven of its ships are offense-capable vessels, including four new, Chinese-designed F-22P frigates commissioned between 2009 and 2013.[79] The Pakistani fleet of eight submarines includes three new, French-designed Agosta-90Bs. Two of these (as well as one of the new frigates) were built at Pakistan's own facilities in Karachi.[80]

The frigate USS McInerney (FFG-8), with considerable anti-submarine warfare capability, was handed over to the PN in August 2010, entering service as PNS Alamgir in 2011.[81] The Pakistani fleet is rounded out by six older, British-built Tariq-class destroyers and various coastal defense, patrol, mine hunting, and support vessels. Plans to upgrade the submarine fleet were scrapped when fiscal crises in the late 2000s forced the government to abandon a multi-billion dollar deal with Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) for three U-214 submarines, as well as a tentative US$6 billion deal with China to provide six diesel-electric submarines.[82]

Pakistan is 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.[83] 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, 'RAAD' has already been successfully tested.

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]