Pakistani Armed Forces

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PakistanPakistan Pakistani Armed Forces
پاک عسکری
Paki Askeri
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg
Commander in Chief
de jure :
President , currently Arif Alvi
Commander in chief de facto : Qamar Javed Bajwa
Defense Minister: Pervez Khattak
Military Commander: Qamar Javed Bajwa
Headquarters: Rawalpindi
Military strength
Active soldiers: around 617,000, plus 304,000 paramilitary forces (2011)
Reservists: 500,000 in the army (2011)
Conscription: no
Eligibility for military service: 18th
Military budget: $ 10.77 billion (2017)
Share of gross domestic product : 3.4% (2017)
Founding: 1947

The armed forces of Pakistan ( Urdu پاک عسکری Paki Askeri ) are the military of Pakistan . Pakistan works closely with the People's Republic of China militarily and is in fact a nuclear power . The division of the Indian subcontinent created the states of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The accession of Kashmir to India led to the First Indo-Pakistani War (1947 to 1949) . Since then, the Kashmir conflict has been simmering in the border region , which was also the cause of the Second Indo-Pakistani War in 1965 . Border disputes also led to the Kargil War in 1999 . The Pakistani military has often been involved in coups since independence.


The Pakistani defense budget of 4.26 billion US dollars (2005) is far below that of the neighboring countries India (46.05 billion), China (81.48 billion) and Iran (18 billion). According to reports by the US newspaper New York Times in December 2007, Pakistan received military aid from the US amounting to around 5.3 billion US dollars annually for the fight against terrorism on the border with Afghanistan . Since 2001, Pakistan has received about $ 10 billion in US aid. A large part of the money is also said to have been used for the development of new weapon systems. Pakistan works closely with Chinese companies and the People's Liberation Army on armaments projects.

Further aid funds and investments in the Pakistani armaments industry are coming from Saudi Arabia . A participation of Saudi Arabia, which financed Pakistan's nuclear program "to a not inconsiderable part", is largely assured, unofficially it is spoken of 50 percent.

In order to survive in the arms race with the larger India, highly qualified and combat-experienced Pakistani military personnel were leased to rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE for decades .

Pakistan's armed forces maintain a network of foundations that make up the core of the economic-military complex ( military business = milbus ). These include the Fauji Foundation , the Shaheen Foundation , the Bahria Foundation, and the Army Welfare Trust . The foundations are not controlled by the Ministry of Defense or Parliament. They enjoy a range of tax breaks and subsidies and benefit from their proximity to politics in their economic activities. The army is one of the largest landowners, employers, and hauliers in the country. In the past, officers were given a piece of land when they left service; today this is done after promotions. It is estimated that the Army controlled 11.6 million acres of land in 2013 . In addition, the armed forces are the only state institution that can convert the land they control into the private property of their members. Since the army itself decides how the land is to be used, there are repeated conflicts and the displacement of farmers. Many officers have also sold their land to local landowners, which strengthens their common interests with the army. Because parliament has no say in the military budget, the system is highly opaque.

Structure and leadership

The Pakistani army is divided into the three classic armed forces , the army with around 550,000 men, the air force with 45,000 men, the navy and coast guard with a manpower of 24,000. Another branch of the armed forces introduced by Pervez Musharraf in 1999 is the strategic nuclear command , the National Command Authority (NCA). The number of active soldiers is 915,000. There are also 513,000 reservists and around 300,000 men in paramilitary units. The armed forces thus comprise a total of 1.43 million men. It is a pure volunteer army , there is no conscription .

One of Pakistan's three major secret services is the Military Intelligence (MI) , which is subordinate to the Pakistani military . Their main tasks are counter-espionage and monitoring potential public enemies. The Inter-Services Intelligence is largely under the control of the armed forces.

In 2004, under the administration of George W. Bush, the United States added Pakistan to its list of key allies outside NATO . This gave the country preferential access to selected American armaments programs.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is the de facto Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Armed Forces. In addition to him, the Committee of Joint Chiefs of Staff also includes the Chief of Army Staff , Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff . Previous incumbents were:

No. Official Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 General Muhammad Shariff March 1, 1976 April 13, 1978
2 Admiral Mohammad Shariff April 13, 1978 April 13, 1980
3 General Muhammad Iqbal Khan April 13, 1980 March 22, 1984
4th General Rahimuddin Khan March 22, 1984 March 29, 1987
5 General Akhtar Abdur Rahman March 29, 1987 17th August 1988
6th Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey November 10, 1988 17th August 1991
7th General Shamim Alam Khan 17th August 1991 November 9, 1994
8th Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan November 9, 1994 November 9, 1997
9 General Jehangir Karamat November 9, 1997 October 7, 1998
10 General Pervez Musharraf October 7, 1998 October 7, 2001
11 General Muhammad Aziz Khan October 7, 2001 October 6, 2004
12 General Ehsan ul Haq October 6, 2004 October 7, 2007
13 General Tariq Majeed October 8, 2007 October 7, 2010
14th General Khalid Shameem Wayne October 8, 2010 October 7, 2013
15th General Rashid Mehmood November 28, 2013 November 28, 2016
16 General Zubair Mahmood Hayat November 28, 2016 officiating


Pervez Musharraf , in fact for a long time the commander in chief of the armed forces

Since its inception in 1947, the armed forces have been deployed in a number of clashes:

  • First Indo-Pakistani War (1947-1949)
  • Second Indo-Pakistani War (1965)
  • Bangladesh War (1971)
  • Kargil War (1999)
  • War in Afghanistan (2001)
  • Balochistan conflict (1947, 1955, 1958–1969, 1973–1977, 1994 to today) Since 2000 fighting with the “Balochistan Liberation Army”, a militant underground movement that also uses means such as bombing and hostage-taking, which is why it is used by the Pakistani, Chinese and British government classified as a terrorist organization .
  • Since 2002 there have been repeated clashes between the armed forces and groups close to the Taliban on the border with Afghanistan. For example, on January 24, 2008, according to the army, at least 90 Islamist insurgents and eight soldiers were killed in heavy fighting .
  • Conflicts in Waziristan and in the Swat Valley : In several tribal areas in the north-west of the country there have been and continue to be fights with Islamic fundamentalists and the Taliban, and Pakistani law and the state are barely or nonexistent in the affected areas. In June 2009, the Pakistani army announced that it would intensify its offensive in the tribal areas of Waziristan and curb the Taliban operating from there.

Peace missions

Armed forces


The backbone of the Pakistani army: the Al-Zarrar tank

The Pakistani Army has around 3,660 main battle tanks of the types Al-Zarrar (around 1200 pieces), T-80 UD (around 320 pieces from Ukraine), Al-Khalid (modified Type-90 II; around 320 pieces), T-69 ( about 250 pieces), T-80 (15 pieces) and T-84 (about 570 pieces) Khalid Al 2 (3000 pieces). In addition to 1,050 M113 transport tanks, some of which are licensed, the army can also rely on almost 3,000 field guns and howitzers from American and Chinese production, 120 BTR-70 / BTR-80 and 46 UR-416 (as of 2005). The approximately 270 pieces of the type M-48A5 from US production have been taken out of service in recent years.

Chief of Staff of the Army

The Chief of Army Staff is the most senior officer in the army. Previous incumbents were:

No. Official Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 General Sir Frank Messervy August 15, 1947 February 10, 1948
2 General Sir Douglas Gracey February 11, 1948 January 16, 1951
3 Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan January 16, 1951 October 26, 1958
4th General Muhammad Musa Khan October 27, 1958 June 17, 1966
5 General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan June 18, 1966 20th December 1971
6th Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan 20th December 1971 March 3, 1972
7th General Tikka Khan March 3, 1972 March 1, 1976
8th General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq March 1, 1976 17th August 1988
9 General Mirza Aslam Beg 17th August 1988 August 16, 1991
10 General Asif Nawaz Janjua August 16, 1991 January 8, 1993
11 General Abdul Waheed Kakar January 11, 1993 January 12, 1996
12 General Jehangir Karamat January 12, 1996 October 6, 1998
13 General Pervez Musharraf October 6, 1998 November 28, 2007
14th General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani November 29, 2007 November 28, 2013
15th General Raheel Sharif November 29, 2013 November 28, 2016
16 General Qamar Javed Bajwa 29th November 2016 Officiating

Air Force

Air Force JF-17

The Pakistani air forces possessed in 2010, more than 924 combat aircraft types Mirage 3 (87 pieces), J-7 (Chinese variant of the MiG-21; 74 pieces), Mirage 5 (52 units), A-5C (42 pieces), J -6 (Chinese variant of the MiG-19; 40 pieces) and F-16 (124 pieces) as well as various trainers (288 pieces) and J-11B (120 pieces) FC-1 (250 pieces) and 32 transport aircraft. The Pakistani Air Force also owns 40 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters . In April 2006, the Pakistani government announced that it would commission 36 J-10s under the designation FC-20 . Another 100 (J-10) were ordered.

On January 9, 2006, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that an advanced version of the J-10 was being planned ( Super J-10 ), with a more powerful engine, thrust vector control, greater endurance, and a phased array radar.

The India-Daily writes that there is a defense alliance between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and that Pakistan is allowed to use the Saudis' AWACS system.

We are currently working on the JF-17 project with the People's Republic of China . Series production in Pakistan began in 2007 at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

The United States intends to hand over another 36 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft valued at $ 500 million to the Pakistani Air Force . The US Department of Defense bears the costs for this .

In the Air Force, women also serve in arms. In 2006, four female pilots were accepted into the service of the armed forces for the first time; in 2013, 24 female paratroopers were added.


The destroyer PNS Tippu Sultan (D 185), named after Tipu Sultan

Pakistan's conventional naval forces include a destroyer , eight frigates (Tariq and Shamsher classes, formerly British Leander and Amazon classes ), nine submarines (including two of the French Agosta-90B and two of the Agosta-70 class, equipped with anti-ship missile AGM-84 Harpoon ), and nine helicopters of the types Sea King and Sea Lynx (as of 2005). The coastal defense has a force of eight other speedboats , nine landing craft and three mine boats.

The facilities of the Pakistani Navy are called Pakistan Naval Station (PNS), which means they are named with the same abbreviation as the ships ( Pakistan Naval Ship , PNS).

Nuclear forces

The tactical nuclear force was introduced by Musharraf in 1999 and reports directly to the President. Pakistan has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has had nuclear weapons since 1998. The arsenal is estimated at 100–120 warheads, but the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which commands the nuclear forces, has never issued a statement.

Pakistan successfully tested the Hatf VII Babur cruise missile in August 2005 . The Pakistani armed forces follow Pakistan's nuclear doctrine , which includes a first strike .

Well-known tactical weapons systems and delivery systems owned by the Pakistani Nuclear Command:

  • Abdali-I (nuclear and conventional short-range missile , range: 200 km)
  • Ghaznavi (nuclear and conventional short-range missile, range: 290 km)
  • Dong Feng 11 (nuclear and conventional Chinese short-range missile, range: 350 km)
  • Ghauri -I (nuclear and conventional medium- range missile , range: 1800 km)
  • Ghauri -II (nuclear and conventional medium-range missile, range: 2300 km, also exported to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia )
  • Ghauri -III (nuclear and conventional long- range missile , range: 4000 km, development stopped)
  • Sahin-I (medium-range missile, range: 750 km)
  • Sahin-II (nuclear and conventional medium-range missile, range: 2500 km, reaches over Mach 10 or approx. 12580 km / h and can be equipped with a warhead weighing up to 1000 kg)
  • Hatf 5 (nuclear medium-range missile, range 1300 km)
  • Hatf VII Babur (cruise missile)
  • Ra'ad (cruise missile specially designed for combat aircraft, still under development)


The Pakistani armed forces emerged from the division of the armed forces of British India after the division of the former colonial empire into the two sovereign states of India and Pakistan. Of 420,000 soldiers in the British-led colonial forces, around 150,000 opted for Pakistan. Most of the colonial army's military facilities were also located in Indian territory. The recruits for the Pakistani army were usually Muslims from the Punjab , Beludjistan or Pashtuns . The armed forces were massively expanded in the course of the Kashmir War of 1947–1949 . The British administration's previous plans to demobilize half of the armed forces have therefore been abandoned. Up to 500 British officers served in Pakistan during the first years of the armed forces. From 1950 the Pakistani government began to replace these with local officers. The future President Muhammad Ayub Khan became the first local commander in chief of the Pakistani military in 1951 .

During the 1950s, the Pakistani leadership pursued the goal of numerical parity with the Indian armed forces. In the mid-1950s, 300,000 to 500,000 Indian soldiers faced a Pakistani military with 200,000 to 400,000 men. The Pakistani army was able to increase its armored forces from 130 tanks in 1950 to 900 tanks in 1956, and was able to catch up with India in this area. In terms of the navy and air force, India remained numerically superior.

Due to the increasing militarization of the state, the army gained more and more power over the civil political establishment. 1958 Muhammad Ayub Khan was appointed by the President Iskander Mirza on October 8th as chief administrator in the framework of martial law. Ayyub Khan was named the country's only field marshal during the year . His reign as military dictator was formalized in an unopposed election in 1960 that made him president of the state. During Khan's reign, ex-military officials were promoted to numerous posts in the state bureaucracy, business and the media. In the course of these personal ties, the military assumed the role of the dominant power in the state. Prestige projects such as the construction of the new capital Islamabad were placed directly under the command of generals.

On March 5, 1959, Pakistan signed a comprehensive military aid agreement with the United States. In addition to material deliveries, the agreement also included the dispatch of military and civilian advisors. In return, the USA received the right to operate a military base for intelligence purposes against the USSR in Peshawar . Reconnaissance flights also started from Pakistani territory. The affair of the downed pilot Francis Gary Powers , who took off from Pakistan, caused political displeasure within the military and the population.

From 1973 to 1977 the army fought against around 50,000 armed rebels in Balochistan . The army and air force also occasionally destroyed settlements. Tens of thousands of people were killed in around 200 major armed conflicts. The Pakistani military was supported by the Iranian Air Force with pilots and aircraft. As a counterweight to the army, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto founded the Federal Security Forces, which, together with his party's militia, were supposed to provide civilian politicians with a domestic counterweight to the military leadership (see Operation Fair Play ).

During the military regime of Mohammed Zia ul-Haq , the military was able to re-establish its dominant political and social role. Military service providers and their families were given preferential treatment in land sales, medical services, employment in public offices and businesses. Zia introduced a ten percent quota for the military in public service. That is why active and retired military personnel occupy numerous management positions in public institutions such as the post office, electricity supply, aviation, telecommunications and infrastructure companies, as well as ambassadorial posts. The pay was also increased significantly, even among the lower ranks. The military itself was modernized with the help of the United States in the context of the war in Afghanistan . 1981–1987 the country received US $ 3.2 billion in military and civil aid from the United States. Zia also pushed the country's nuclear armament efforts. According to the head of the nuclear program, Abdul Kadir Khan , all means were available in 1985 to carry out a successful nuclear test. Zia himself confirmed in a 1987 public interview with Time magazine that Pakistan could manufacture a nuclear weapon at any time .

In 1998, the Pakistani armed forces detonated six nuclear weapons underground. It did so in response to five Indian tests that year. Surveys about the approval of the tests, in order to return the favor also for the first Indian test from 1974, fluctuated between around 60% and 97% approval.

Women also serve in three branches of the Pakistani military


The Pakistani military has been criticized for being a “ state within a state ” , and there have been several coups in the country's history .

In Pakistan, the armed forces not only hold political power in their hands. The top military also control large parts of the economy, they control countless companies, are one of the largest landowners and have their officers housed in the most important social institutions. Therefore, the pensions for the military are five times as high as those for civilians.

Direct corruption is also considered widespread within the military. In 2006 a lawyer presented a list of charges against various top military officials, including Musharraf, to the Lahore Supreme Court , but the court did not dare to accept the petition or call a hearing due to significant military pressure.

See also

Web links

Commons : Pakistani Armed Forces  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b An Introduction to Pakistan's Military , Francisco Aguilar, Randy Bell et al., Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, 2011, pp. 6–7 (pdf)
  2. Home. SIPRI , accessed on July 10, 2017 .
  3. a b Fighter pilot for Pakistan: Lockheed Martin is happy .
  4. AFP: US military aid for Pakistan flows into dark channels ( Memento from July 1, 2012 in the web archive )
  5. ^ Information brochure III, Umweltinstitut München e. V., p. 4
  6. ( Memento of the original from November 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ A b Wagner, Christian: Focus Pakistan . Verlag JHW Dietz Nachf., Bonn 2012, ISBN 978-3-8012-0424-2 , pp. 85-87
  8. Pakistan's Armed Forces. (PDF; 744 kB) CSIS, July 25, 2006, p. 24.
  9. List of Ex Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (
  10. ( Memento of the original from December 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  13. expands offensive
  14. ^ Pakistan Army Equipment
  15. Ex Army Chiefs of Pakistan (
  16. ^ Pakistan Air Force
  17. India faces secret Saudi-Pakistan defense alliance ( Memento of the original from March 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , IndiaDaily  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. Pakistan gets women combat pilots , Zaffar Abbas, BBC March 30, 2006
  19. ^ Pakistan Army: First female paratroopers make history , Express Tribune, July 14, 2013
  20. Pakistan Navy
  21. Imtiaz Gul: Before and After Osama . Roli Books, 2012.
  22. Pakistan , SIPRI , World Nuclear Forces, accessed March 31, 2019
  24. ( Memento of the original from August 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  26. ( Memento of the original from January 31, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  28. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, pp. 65-66
  29. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, p. 95
  30. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, p. 107f, p. 122
  31. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, p. 108, p. 120
  32. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, pp. 232-233
  33. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, pp. 278-280
  34. Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky, Vladimir N. Moskalenko: A Political History of Pakistan from 1947 to 2007 . Oxford 2013, pp. 353-355
  35. ^ Military service age and obligation CIA World Factbook, accessed May 4, 2020