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The Pakistan Army (Urdu: ) is a branch of the Pakistan military that protects the state borders and territories.

The Pakistan Army came into existence after independence in 1947 and is led by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. It has an active force of 700,000 personnel and 528,000 men in reserve. The Pakistan Army is a volunteer force and soldiers continue to serve until the age of 45. The Pakistan Army has had conflicts with India, and has been involved in United Nations peacekeeping efforts. It maintained division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the past Arab-Israeli Wars, and aided the Coalition in the first Gulf War.

Combat doctrine

Pakistan Army has a doctrine of limited "offensive-defense" which it has tried to refine consistently ever since 1989 since its inception during "Exercise Zarb-e-Momin."

Under this strategy the Army does not wait for the enemy's offensive, but rather launches an offensive of its own. Two things are accomplished under this strategy: first, the enemy is kept off-balance; second, enemy territory of strategic importance may be seized, which can then be used as a bargaining chip to consolidate the Army's gains. Similarly, in protecting state borders, the Pakistan Army will attempt to keep the enemy off of the border rather than giving ground on the Pakistani side.

In the 1990s, the Army created a strong centralized corps of reserves for its formations in the critical semi-desert and desert sectors in southern Punjabmarker and Sindhmarker provinces. These new formations were 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.


The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), formerly called the Commander in Chief (C in C), is charged with the responsibility of commanding the Pakistan Army. The COAS operates from army headquarters in Rawalpindimarker, near Islamabadmarker. The Principal Staff Officers (PSO's) 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&E); and the Military Secretary (MS). 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 Chief of the Corps of Engineers (E-in-C) who is also head of Military Engineering Service (MES), all of them also report to the Chief of the Army Staff.

The current Principal Staff Officers (PSO's) helping the COAS in his duties at the Lieutenant General level include:

  • Chief of General Staff (CGS) — Lt Gen Mohammad Mustafa Khan
  • Chief of Logistics Staff (CLS) — Lt Gen Muhammad Alam Khattak
  • Inspector General Arms — Lt Gen Jamil Haider
  • Adjutant General (AG) — Lt Gen Javed Zia
  • Quarter-Master General (QMG) — Lt Gen Zahid Hussain
  • Inspector General Training and Evaluation (IGT&E) — Lt Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat
  • Military Secretary (MS) — Lt Gen Mohsin Kamal
  • Inspector General Communications and IT — Lt Gen Tanvir Tahir

Structure of Army units

A PA Mi-17 at Skardu

The Pakistan Army is divided into two main branches, which are Arms and Services. Arms include:
  • Armoured Corps
  • Infantry
  • Artillery
  • Air Defence
  • Engineers
  • Signals
  • Army Aviation
And Services include:
  • Army Medical Corps
  • Ordnance
  • Electrical & Mechanical Engineering (EME)
  • Army Supply & Transport (ASC)


  • The President's Bodyguard
  • Armour
    • 4th Cavalry
    • 5th Horse
    • 6th Lancers
    • 7th Lancers
    • 8th Cavalry
    • 9th Horse
    • 10th Cavalry (Guides Cavalry)
    • 11th Cavalry
    • 12th Cavalry
    • 13th Lancers
    • 14th Lancers
    • 15th Lancers
    • 16th Horse
    • 17th Lancer
    • 18th Horse
    • 19th Lancers
    • 20th Lancers
    • 21st Horse
    • 22nd Cavalry
    • 23rd Cavalry
    • The Charging 24th Cavalry
    • 25th Cavalry
    • 26th Cavalry
    • 27th Cavalry
    • 28th Cavalry "CHAMMB HUNTERS"
    • 29th Cavalry
    • 30th Cavalry
    • 31st Cavalry
    • 32nd Cavalry(al aadiyat)
    • 33rd Cavalry
    • 34th Lancers
    • 37th Cavalry(newest regt of ac)
    • 38th Cavalry
    • 40th Horse
    • 41st Horse
    • 42nd Lancers
    • 51st Lancers
    • 52nd Cavalry
    • 53rd Cavalry
    • 52nd Cavalry
    • 53rd Cavalry
    • 54th Cavalry
    • 55th Cavalry
    • 56th Cavalry
    • 57th Cavalry
    • 58th Cavalry

*The President's Bodyguard formed at independence from members of the Governor General's Bodyguard, itself successor to the Governor's Troop of Moghals raised in 1773

*5th Horse is the successor to the 1st Sikh Irregular Cavalry (Wales's Horse), and the 2nd Sikh Irregular Cavalry, both raised in 1857

*6th Lancers is the successor to The Rohilkhand Horse raised in 1857, and the 4th Sikh Irregular Cavalry raised in 1858

*Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force) is the successor to the Corps of Guides raised in 1846

*11th Cavalry (Frontier Force) is the successor to 1st Regiment of Punjab Cavalry and 3rd Regiment of Punjab Cavalry, both raised in 1849

*13th Lancers is the successor to the 1st Native Troop raised in 1804, and the 2nd Native Troop raised in 1816. It is also the senior most armour regiment of the Indian Sub-Continent.

*15th Lancers is the successor to the Multani Regiment Of Cavalry raised in 14 January 1858.

*19th Lancers is the successor to the 2nd Mahratta Horse (Tiwana Horse) raised in 1858, and Fane's Horse raised in 1860

*25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) is the famous unit which stopped Indianmarker armour thrust in Chawinda in 1965

*The Punjab Regiment formed in 1956 from the 1st, 14th, 15th and 16th Punjab Regiments; can be traced back to the 3rd Battalion of Coast Sepoys raised in 1759

*The Baloch Regiment formed in 1956 from the 8th Punjab Regiment, The Baloch Regiment, and The Bahawalpur Regiment; can be traced back to the 3rd Extra Madras Battalion raised in 1798

*The Frontier Force Regiment is the successor to the Frontier Brigade raised in 1846

*The Azad Kashmir Regiment was raised in 1947, became part of the army in 1971

*The Sindh Regiment was raised in 1980 from battalions of the Punjab Regiment and Baloch Regiment

*The Northern Light Infantry was formed in 1977 from various paramilitary units of scouts, became part of the army in 1999 after the Kargil War

*The Special Service Group was formed in 1959 around a cadre from the Baloch Regiment


There are 11 Corps including the newly formed Army Strategic Forces Command (2004) and Army Air Defence Command located at various garrisons all over Pakistan.

Corps HQ Location Major Formations under Corps Commander
I Corps Mangla, Punjabmarker 6th Armoured Division (Kharianmarker), 17th Infantry Division (Kharianmarker), 37th Infantry Division (Gujranwalamarker) Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad
II Corps Multanmarker, Punjabmarker 1st Armoured Division (Multanmarker), 40th Infantry Division (Okara) Lt Gen Sikandar Afzal
IV Corps Lahoremarker, Punjab 10th Infantry Division (Lahoremarker), 11th Infantry Division (Lahoremarker) Lt Gen Ijaz Ahmed Bakhshi
V Corps Karachimarker, Sindhmarker 16th Infantry Division (Pano Aqil), 18th Infantry Division (Hyderabadmarker), 25th Mechanized Division (Malirmarker) Lt Gen Shahid Iqbal
X Corps Rawalpindimarker, Punjab Force Command Northern Areas (Gilgitmarker), 12th Infantry Division (Murreemarker), 19th Infantry Division (Mangla), 23rd Infantry Division (Jhelummarker) Lt Gen Tahir Mahmood
XI Corps Peshawarmarker, North West Frontier Provincemarker 7th Infantry Division (Peshawarmarker), 9th Infantry Division (Kohatmarker) Lt Gen Muhammad Masood Aslam
XII Corps Quettamarker, Balochistanmarker 33rd Infantry Division (Quettamarker), 41st Infantry Division (Quettamarker) Lt Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne
XXX Corps Gujranwalamarker, Punjab 2nd Artillery Division (Gujranwalamarker), 8th Infantry Division (Sialkotmarker), 15th Infantry Division (Sialkotmarker) Lt Gen Nadeem Taj
XXXI Corps Bahawalpurmarker, Punjab 14th Infantry Division (Okara), 26th Mechanized Division (Bahawalpurmarker), 35th Infantry Division (Bahawalpurmarker) Lt Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi
Strategic Corps Rawalpindimarker, Punjab 2 divisions, 47th Artillery Brigade (Sargodhamarker) Lt Gen Syed Absar Hussain
Army Air Defence Command Rawalpindimarker, Punjab 3rd Air Defence Division (Sargodhamarker), 4th Air Defence Division (Malirmarker) Lt Gen Muhammad Ashraf Saleem

History of the Pakistan Army


The Pakistan Army was created on 30 June 1947 with the division of the British Indian Army. Pakistan received six armoured, eight artillery and eight infantry regiments compared to the forty 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 joined the Kashmiris opposing the maharaja in 1947. This lead to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Regular army units joined the invasion later on but were stopped after the refusal of the Pakisatan army C-in-C to obey Pakistani leader Jinnah's orders to move the army into Kashmir. Ceasefire followed on UN intervention with Pakistan occupying the northwestern part of Kashmirmarker and India the rest. Later, during the 1950s, the Pakistan Army received large amounts of economic and military aid from United States and Great Britain after signing two Mutual Defense Treaties, Central Treaty Organization, (Cento) also known as the Baghdadmarker Pact and SEATO, (South East Asian Treaty Organization) in 1954. This aid greatly expanded the Army from its modest beginnings.

The sole division HQ that went to Pakistan was the 7th. 8th and 9th Divisions were raised in 1947; 10, 12 and 14 Divs were raised in 1948. 15 Div was raised in 1950. At some point before 1954, 6 Div was raised and 9 Div disbanded. 6 Div was disbanded at some point after 1954 as US assistance was available only for 1 armd and 6 inf divs. 1st Armoured Div was raised in 1956.


The Army seized control of Pakistan for the first time when General Ayub Khan came to power through a bloodless coup in 1958. Tensions with India continued in the 1960s and a brief border skirmish was fought near the Rann of Kutch area during April 1965. The Pakistan Army commanders seemed emboldened and carried out Operation Gibraltar, an attempt to take Kashmir that was launched later in the year and resulted in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. After the Pakistani infiltrators were discovered, India counter-attacked and the 3-week war ended in a U.N. mandated ceasefire culminating in the Tashkent Declaration. The 1965 Indo-Pakistani War is widely regarded as ending in a stalemate as both countries had similar amounts of their opposition's territory in their possession, although the Indian Army may have had an upper hand because its captured territory was hospitable areas of the Punjab whereas that captured by the PA was composed of the deserts and swamps of Rann. Both countries claimed victory, Pakistan's reason being it had forced a stalemate against a military which was vastly superior in numbers and equipment. It is also believed that India's better resources would have given it a decisive advantage had the war continued.

An uprising against General Ayub Khan during 1968 and 1969 resulted in Ayub Khan relinquishing his office as President and Chief of Army Staff in favour of General Yahya Khan, who assumed power in 1969. 16 Division, 18 Division and 23 Division were raised at some point between 1966 and 1969 and 9 Division was re-raised during this period.


During the rule of General Yahya Khan, the Bengalis of East Pakistan protested against various political and economic conditions that had been imposed on them by West Pakistan and massive civil unrest broke out in East Pakistan. While the Pakistan Army attempted to quell the uprisings, which included killings of non-Bengalis by Bengali rebels, incidents of human rights abuses were carried out by certain sections of the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan. India assisted Bangladeshi rebels for months before beginning an invasion of East Pakistan in November 1971. The Pakistani military in East Pakistan was very heavily out-numbered following a policy that "East Pakistan's defence lay in West Pakistan" and by 16 December 1971, around 90,000 West Pakistanis were surrendered and taken Prisoner of War by the Indian Army. They included around 55,000 military personnel and around 35,000 government and civil employees. East Pakistan was made independent from West Pakistan, becoming the People's Republic of Bangladeshmarker. Consequently, the Pakistan Army was modernised at a faster pace than ever before.

According to Maj (Retd) Agha Humayun Amin, no PA commanders had seriously considered an Indian invasion of East Pakistan until December 1971 because it was thought that the Indian military would not risk Chinese or U.S. intervention. It was not realised that the Chinese were unable to intervene during the November to December 1971 period due to snowbound Himalayan passes and the U.S. had not made any real effort to persuade India against attacking East Pakistan.


In 1977 the Pakistan Army took over the government of Pakistan after a coup by General Zia ul-Haq, which saw the end of another democratically elected government leading to the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, after he was tried and found guilty of conspiracy of murdering a politician named Kasuri. General Zia ul-Haq ruled as a military dictator until his death in an air crash in 1988. At that time General Mohammad Iqbal Khan was a powerful general of Pakistan. He served as a joint chief from 1980 to 1984 and was the Chief Martial Law Officer at that time. If Zia ul-Haq would have resigned at that time he would be the next COAS.

Pakistan Army also helped the Saudi Arabian Government in regaining the control of the Kaaba with the help of French Commandos. Pakistani and French security forces retook Kaaba in a battle which left approximately 250 dead, and 600 wounded. The Pakistanis and French were called in after poor results from assaults by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). 127 were reported to have been killed.

In the mid-1970s the Pakistan Army was involved in fighting an uprising in Balochistan. Various Balochi factions, some with the oblique support of the USSR, wanted independence or at least greater provincial rights. The rebellion was put down but the Army suffered heavy casualties.


In October 1999 the Pakistan Army for the fourth time, overthrew a democratically elected government which resulted in additional sanctions being placed against Pakistan, resulting in General Pervez Musharraf coming to power in a bloodless coup. Musharraf stepped down as President in August 2008. On July 30, 2009, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that General Musharraf's imposition of the Emergency Rule in 2007 was unconstitutional.

Since the 9/11 incident, Pakistan unrecognized the Taliban and has become a key ally of the United Statesmarker in the fight against terrorism. As part of the U.S.marker's War on Terrorism, the army has moved over 100,000 troops to the Pakistan-Afghan border to patrol against extreme elements cross border infiltration.

The Pakistan Army commenced operations in Balochistan during 2006, resulting in the killing of the leader of the Balochis, Nawab Akbar Bugti and has resulted in the crushing of a rebellion by the Balochistan Liberation Army. Ironically, Bugti never demanded separation of Baluchistan from Pakistan. In an interview with journalist Hamid Mir, he said "Read Mir Gul Khan Nasir's book on the history of Balochistan. The Baloch have always resisted unconstitutional measures.I'm not a traitor, the people who go against the Article 6 and take control of Pakistan are the real traitors. I, like Mir Gul Khan Nasir, only put forward the demand for Balochistan's rights. But in General Musharraf's view this is a crime punishable by death. (Bugti Laughs then continues) Your commando general will rest only after he martyrs me but after my martyrdom he will be held responsible. So now it's up to you people to either choose Musharraf or Pakistan. The choice is yours." Another of his demands that put him into direct conflict with the military cabal was the trial of an army captain accused of raping a lady doctor posted at Sui.

On February 21, 2009, the Pakistani government and armed forces decided to implement a truce with the Taliban rather than engage in on-off guerrilla warfare to the dismay of many of Pakistan's Western allies including the United States. As a result of this truce, Shariah or Islamic law was to be implemented in the Malakand division – a region in North-West Pakistan that includes the one time tourist haven, Swat Valley. However, when Taliban did not lay down their weapons as part of the deal which would result in the implementation of Islamic law, the Pakistan army supported by the country's parliament embarked on a full-scale military operation in order to 'eliminate' militants that challenge the writ of the state.

Recent press releases by military spokespersons claim to have already killed over 1,000 militants. The militants, on the other hand, claim to have taken less losses than the military. However, due to the intensity of the conflict and the curfew imposed by the government in the area, it is difficult to verify this independently. Most observers believe that the military is regaining territory that was in control of the militants, although the speed of this progress is considerably slow. Notable defence analysts believe that if the Pakistan army is serious about tackling the threat of militancy, it will be successful in quelling this insurgency.pakistan has been successful in crushing the swat based taliban . the army has also started an operation to quash taliban in south waziristan and it has been highly successful in it as well

Pakistan Army role in peacekeeping

See also UN peacekeeping missions involving Pakistan

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 manifold since the Gulf War. In 1992 there were 11000 Blue Berets deployed around the world, by the end of the year the figure rose to 52000. Presently it exceeds a staggering figure of 80,000 troops.

Pakistan contribution in UN peace keeping missions

  • UN Operation in Congomarker (ONUC) 1960–1964
  • UN Security Force in New Guineamarker, West Irianmarker (UNSF) 1962–1963
  • UN Yemen Observer Mission Yemenmarker (UNYOM) 1963–1964
  • UN Transition Assistance Group in Namibiamarker (UNTAG) 1989–1990
  • UN IraqmarkerKuwaitmarker Observer Mission (UNIKOM) 1991–2003
  • UN Mission in Haitimarker (UNMIH) 1993–1996
  • UN Transitional Authority in Cambodiamarker (UNTAC) 1992–1993
  • UN Operations in Somaliamarker (UNOSOM) 1992–1995
  • UN Protection Forces in Bosniamarker (UNPROFOR) 1992–1995
  • UN Observer Mission for Rawandamarker (UNAMIR) 1993–1996
  • UN Verification Mission in Angolamarker (UNAVEM III) 1995–1997
  • UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavoniamarker (UNTAES) 1996–1997
  • UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) 1996–2002
  • UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leonemarker (UNAMSIL) 2001–2005
  • UN Transitional Administration in East Timormarker (UNTAET) 1999-to-date
  • UN Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congomarker (MONUC) 2003-to-date
  • UN Mission in Liberiamarker (UNMIL) 2003-to-date
  • UN Mission in Ivory Coastmarker (ONUCI) 2004-to-date
  • UN Mission in Burundimarker (ONUB) 2004-to-date
  • UN Mission in Sudanmarker (UNMIS) 2005-to-date
  • UN Mission in Kosovomarker (UNMIK) 1999-to-date

Currently, Pakistan has the most operational army in UN peace keeping missions. Notable are its achievements in DRC and Somalia

Political and corporate interests of the Army

Political interests

The Pakistan Army has always played an integral part of the Pakistan government since its inception mainly on the pretext of lack of good civilian leadership. It has virtually acted as a third party that has repeatedly seized power in the name of stabilizing Pakistan and ending corruption. However political instability, lawlessness and corruption are seen as direct consequences of army rule. with the last military dictator, Gen. Musharraf making off with state gifts worth millions instead of depositing them with the state treasury as per law besides other reported instances of corruption . Earlier similar precedent was also setup by general Zia ul-Haq who retained expensive vehicles and state gifts.

The tradition of insubordination of the army towards the legitimate leadership of can be traced back to Frank Messervy who had 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 and insubordination.

General Ayub Khan came to power in 1958 due to political wrangling engineered by the bureaucracy and the military after the assassination of prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan. The situation was so dire that the speaker of the National Assembly was beaten to death right in front of the assembly hall. Later on, owing to public pressure, Ayub Khan transferred power to General Yahya Khan rather than the speaker of the national assembly as stipulated in the constitution. The prolonged military rule finally resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan with the independence of Bangladesh. After the 1971 war, democracy was restored only to be cut short in 1977 after a coup which saw the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Pakistani Premier. General Zia ul-Haq ruled as a dictator virtually unopposed until his death in 1988. His rule resulted in lawlessness, bomb blasts and influx of weapons and refugees. Despite the exit of the army from mainstream politics, the political muscle of the military is everpresent. The former President, General (ret) Pervez Musharraf, came to power in a bloodless coup in October 1999 overthrowing the last democratically elected government led by Nawaz Sharif.

Commercial interests

Repeated army coups have served to strengthen and build-up the military's corporate interests in real estate, security-related businesses, hotels, shopping malls, insurance companies, banks, farms and airline sectors. Pakistan has been ruled by the Army for about half of the period of its existence. During this period of its dictatorial rule the army has authorized some unbelievable perks and privileges for itself. Expansion of these interests occurred most prominently via welfare foundations, under the guise of providing for the needs of the troops and their families, whether with bakeries, real estate or beauty parlors. During the period of direct military rule from 1999-2007, the military owned the best farmland and several of the largest industrial conglomerates. Retired or active-duty military officers were running the ports, postal service, electric utilities, sports federations, telecommunications authority, culture ministry, mineral development agency, anti-drug police, railroads, civil aviation authority, national shipping company and Pakistan’s biggest steel mill. They hold top administrative posts at the best universities. Many ambassadors are retired officers. A civilian government, as and when formed, could hardly change or challenge these perks. Once Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo attempted to cut defence expenditure and tried to put generals and admirals in small cars in place of more luxurious vehicles, General Zia promptly sacked him. Besides handsome pay package and fringe benefits, army officers in Pakistan are given many colonial privileges. The biggest perk is land. In addition to land grants, pensions five times the civilian level and post-retirement jobs were designed to make military service lucrative. In fact its is said that every general retiring from the army is transformed into a feudal lord, thanks to the prime agrarian lands allotted to them.In the Pakistan Army a Major General on promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General gets fifty acres of land. On the contrary out of the 46 housing schemes directly built by the armed forces, none is for ordinary soldiers or civilian officers and personnel employed by the army.. One of Pakistan’s most coveted addresses, was built on the site of an old antiaircraft battery in the upscale Karachi suburb of Clifton. It forms a gated community protected by paramilitary troops, the development consists of spacious, Mediterranean-style villas grouped around a playground and an elaborately landscaped Japanese-style garden.


Personnel training

Pakistan's SSG Commandos during an exercise

Enlisted ranks

Most enlisted personnel used to come from rural families, and many have only rudimentary literacy skills, but with the increase in the litracy 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.

Officer ranks

Following are the Officer ranks in Pakistan Army:
  • Field Marshal
  • General
  • Lt-General
  • Major-General
  • Brigadier
  • Colonel
  • Lt-Colonel
  • Major
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant
  • 2nd lieutenant

About 320 men enter the army bi-annually through the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakulmarker in Abbottabadmarker in the North West Frontier Provincemarker; a small number—especially physicians and technical specialists—are directly recruited, and these persons are part of the heart 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 establishments, including schools concentrating on specific skills such as infantry, artillery, intelligence, or mountain warfare. A National University of Science 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 Quettamarker, 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. Originally established in 1971 at Rawalpindimarker, to provide training in higher military strategy for senior officers, the school house was relocated to Islamabad in 1995. 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 Britainmarker and other Commonwealth countries, and especially to the United States, where trainees numbering well in the hundreds attended a full range of institutions ranging from armored 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 vicissitudes in 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 has 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.


Pakistan Army troops wearing the standard sand fatigue uniform lead the Joint Services Parade in 2005.

Pakistan Army uniforms closely resemble those of the British armed services. The principal color 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 US BDU style camouflage fatigues are worn by army troop units.

Rank structure and uniform insignia

Pakistani Officer Ranks
Rank Field Marshal (5-Star) COAS (4-Star) General (4-Star) Lieutenant General (3-Star) Major General (2-Star) Brigadier (1-Star) Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant 2nd Lieutenant
NATO equivalent OF-11 OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF-1
Uniform insignia

The rank structure is patterned on the British Army model. Following the British Indian Army traditions, 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 early days of the Pakistan Army, there was a large cultural gap between officers and enlisted personnel. In the early 1990s, JCOs had wide responsibilities in the day-to-day supervision of lower grades, but they were a group that may have outlived its usefulness because officers have become "more Pakistani" and less dependent on British models and because the education level of enlisted men has risen. Promotion to JCO rank, however, remains a powerful incentive for enlisted personnel; thus, if JCO ranks are ever phased out, it will likely be a slow process.

Awards for valor

The Nishan-e-Haider (Urdu: نشان حیدر) (Sign of the Lion), is the highest military award given by Pakistan.

RecipientsNishan-e-Haider recipients receive an honorary title as a sign of respect: Shaheed meaning martyr for deceased recipients.

  1. Captain Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed (1910–27 July 1948)
  2. Major Tufail Muhammad Shaheed (1914–7 August 1958)
  3. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (1928–10 September 1965)
  4. Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed (1938–1971)
  5. Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed (1943–6 December 1971)
  6. Jawan Sawar Muhammad Hussain Shaheed (1949–10 December 1971)
  7. Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed (1944–17 December 1971)
  8. Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed (1970–5 July 1999)
  9. Lalak Jan Shaheed (1967–7 July 1999)
  10. Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (Day of martyrdom : 21 August 1971)
  11. Naik Saif Ali Khan Shaheed (Kashmir)

Two Pakistani pilots belonging to the army aviation branch of Pakistan army who carried out a daring rescue of a mountaineer are to be given Slovenia's top award for bravery. Slovenian, Tomaz Humar got stranded on the western end of the 8,125m Nanga Parbat mountain were 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 has 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.

Special forces and alliances

See also Pakistan-China military relations.

Special Service Group (SSG) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army. It is an elite special operations force similar to the United States Army Special Forces (Green Beret) and the British Army's SASmarker.

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).

Women and minorities in the Army

Women have served in the Pakistan Army since its foundation. Currently, there is a sizable number of Women serving in the army. Most women are recruited in the regular 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 combat positions and the Elite Anti-Terrorist Force In 2007, several female graduates were nominated to be Sky Marshalls 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. Pakistanmarker is the only country in the Islamic world to have female Major Generals in the Army.

Recruitment is nationwide and the army attempts to maintain an ethnic balance but most enlisted recruits, as in British times, come from a few districts in northern Punjabmarker Province and the adjacent Azad Jammu and Kashmirmarker and the North West Frontier Provincemarker. Pakistan's Officer Corps are also mostly from Punjab and the North West Frontier Province and of middle-class, rural backgrounds.

Minorities in Pakistan are allowed to sit in all examinations, including the one conducted by Inter Services Selection Board however the proportion of religious minorities in the Pakistan army is still considerably very less. As per day only one sixth is in the Pakistan Army.

Relief operations and economic development

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 army also engaged in extensive economic activities. Most of these enterprises, such as stud and dairy farms, were for the army's own use, but others performed functions beneficial to the local civilian economy. Army factories produced such goods as sugar, fertilizer, and brass castings and sold them to civilian consumers.

Several army organizations performed functions that were important to the civilian 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 Chinamarker; and the Special Communication Organization maintained communications networks in remote parts of Pakistan.Pakistan Army is involved in relief activities not only in Pakistan but also in many other countries of the world, like they went for relief activities after Bangladeshmarker was recently hit by floods. The Pak Army also went to Indonesiamarker, Bangladeshmarker and Sri Lankamarker after they were hit by tsunamimarker. Pakistan Army and Navy sent ships and helicopters to the friendly nations for the tsunami relief operation.

2009 Refugee crisis

Weapons and equipment

Small arms

The M4A1 with SOPMOD package, including Rail Interface System (RIS) and Trijicon ACOG 4x.

Weapon Comments
Glock 17
Glock 26
Steyr M9A1 Recently acquired by the SSW.
Sub-machine guns and carbines:
Heckler & Koch MP5 Manufactured by POF.
Heckler & Koch MP5K Also in use by Airport Security Force and personal security detail of VIPs, manufactured by POF.
FN P90
Assault rifles
FN F2000
M4A1 carbine
Steyr AUG
Battle rifles
Heckler & Koch G3 The PA's service rifle. G3A3, G3P4 variants in service.
Type 56 Chinese-manufactured AK-47.
Type 81 Improved version of Type 56.
M67 grenade
Sniper rifles
Dragunov SVD
M82 Barret
Steyr SSG 69
Machine guns
FN Minimi Para
MG3 Manufactured under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories.
Grenade launchers
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
Mk 19 grenade launcher
RPG-7 Manufactured under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Type 69 RPG

Al Khalid MBT
Al Zarrar MBT
M109 SP Howitzer
Panther Towed Howitzer
The M115 Howitzer

Armour inventory

Vehicle/System/Aircraft Firm Number in Service Status
Al Khalid Main Battle Tank ~220 In Service.
T-80UD Main Battle Tank 320 320 Delivered by Ukraine between 1997 and early 2002.
Type 85 Main Battle Tank 300 In Service. Being phased out
Al-Zarar Tank Main Battle Tank 350 Currently under production
Type 79 250 Being phased out by Al Khalid
Type 69 150 Being phased out by Al Khalid
Type 63 ??? Amphibious tank
Type 59 500 Being phased out by Al Zarrar & Al Khalid II
Hamza Infantry Fighting Vehicle ??? Being procured
Al-Fahd Infantry fighting vehicle 140 In Service
Talha Armoured Personnel Carrier 400+ Final number to be around 2,000
Sa'ad Armoured Personnel Carrier ??? Currently in production
M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier 1100+ In Service
BTR-70 Armoured Personnel Carrier 160 In Service
Mohafiz Light Armoured Personnel Carrier ??? In Service & Additional APCs being procured
Otokar Akrep Light Jeep 1260 In Service
Al Qaswa Logistical Vehicle ?? Being procured
M88 ARV Armoured Recovery Vehicle ??? In Service
M60A1 AVLB Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge ??? In Service
M48 Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge ??? In Service

Artillery inventory

Vehicle/System/Aircraft Firm Number in Service Status
M109A5 155 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 265 115 Ordered along with 150 A5 upgrade kits
M110A2 203 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 60 In Service
Type 56 85 mm Towed Artillery 200 In Service
M-56 105 mm Towed Artillery 80 In Service
M101 105 mm Towed Artillery 300 In Service
T-60 122 mm Towed Artillery 200 In Service
Type 54 122 mm Towed Artillery 400 In Service
Type 59I 130 mm Towed Artillery 200 In Service
M-59 155 mm Towed Artillery 30 In Service
M114 155 mm Towed Artillery 60 In Service
M-198 155 mm Towed Artillery 120 In Service
M-115 203 mm Towed Artillery 40 In Service
Panter Howitzer Towed Artillery 12 Produced by Turkeymarker

Aircraft inventory

Vehicle/System/Aircraft Role Quantity Comments
AH-1S Cobra Attack helicopter ~18
AH-1F Cobra Attack helicopter ~20
Aérospatiale Puma Transport helicopter 30
Mil Mi-17 Transport helicopter 30 30 in service as of November 2004.
Bell 206 Jet Ranger Utility helicopter 15
Bell 407 Utility helicopter 45
Bell 412 Utility helicopter 25
Bell UH-1 Huey Utility helicopter 10
Eurocopter AS-550 Utility helicopter 50
Aérospatiale Alouette III Utility helicopter 40 Being phased out.
Aérospatiale SA-315B Lama Utility helicopter 40 Being phased out.

Anti-tank missiles


Air defence systems

Man-portable air defence systems:

Medium range air defence systems:

High altitude air defence systems:

Anti-aircraft guns:

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 armour bricks, 155 mm artillery shells, and other developments in armour and land weaponry. These agreements all relate to the Pakistan Army's AFFDP-2019 modernization program of its armour, 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 based on Western designs. Turkish press reported that a Pakistani armour 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.

The Pakistan Army will standardize its artillery capability to 155 mm by 2019. This can be seen by the acquisition of 115 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers from the United States, and joint production deals of 155 mm shells with French and South Korean firms. It is expected that the army will procure a range of light, medium and heavy towed and self-propelled howitzer artillery from China, Europe and the United States. These will replace all non-155 mm and older systems. The Army reportedly ordered and procured an undisclosed number of WS-1B Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). As part of the artillery modernization program, the Army will likely procure a fair number of new MLRS systems of various ranges and shell sizes.

Modernization of the Army Aviation is underway with the procurement of new transport and attack helicopters from the United States, Russia and Europe. Finalized acquisitions include 26 Bell 412EP and at least a dozen Mi-17 medium-lift transport helicopters from the U.S and Russia, respectively. Forty Bell 407 and an unknown number of Fennec light helicopters from the U.S. and Eurocopter have also been ordered, respectively. Plans are underway to begin replacing the IAR 330 Puma, older Mil Mi-8/17, Bell Jet Rangers and older Huey helicopters; options include the Eurocopter NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter and UH-60M Blackhawk. The Pakistan Army has procured dozens of excess AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters since 2002; at least 20 have been brought into service to supplement the serving 18. These gunships are expected to add muscle to current counterterrorist support operations in NWFP.The army reportedly has upgraded its entire fleet with AH-1Z King Cobra avionics and new weapon systems such as the TOW-2 and Hellfire missiles. Up to 30 new-generation attack helicopters will be procured to further enhance the Army's attack aviation arm; options include the Eurocopter Tiger, South African AH-2 Rooivalk and Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow.

See also

Related lists


  2. General Mirza Aslam Beg. 50 Years of Pakistan Army: A Journey into Professionalism, Pakistan Observer, 21 August, 1997.
  3. Iftikhar A. Khan. "Kayani shakes up army command" Dawn, 30 September, 2008
  10. Pakistan, land, gold, women
  11. Raped doctor: I'm still terrified, BBC, June 29, 2005.
  12. I’m still terrified: Dr Shazia
  13. Musharraf’s Rape Cover-Up
  18. Siddiqa, Ayesha. "Military Inc. Inside Pakistan's Military Economy" Karachi: Oxford University Press(2007).
  20. Pakistan Defence Forum
  21. BBC: Pakistan pilots get bravery award
  26. [1]


  • Cloughley, Brian. A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0195473346.

Further reading

  • Ayub, Muhammad. An Army, Its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil, 1947–1999. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Rosedog Books. ISBN 0-8059-9594-3.
  • Cloughley, Brian. "War, Coups and Terror - Pakistan's Army in Years of Turmoil" (from 1972 to 2008). UK, Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 184415795-4.
  • Siddiqa, Ayesha. "Military Inc. Inside Pakistan's Military Economy" Karachi: Oxford University Press(2007). ISBN 978-0-19-547495-4

External links

Official websites

Web resources

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