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A Journey from Scratch to Nuclear Power
 
Introduction
 

The Pakistan Army came into being as a result of the amalgamation of the Muslim troops of the pre-independence British Indian Army. The origin of many of its units dates back to the beginning of the British rule in the subcontinent. This relation, however, is merely of historical nature. With the birth of Pakistan, a hotchpotch of the ill-equipped and ill-organized troops, breaking away from the old and established British Indian Army, had been transformed into a disciplined fighting force in consonance with the national ideals and aspirations.



On 3 June 1947, the British Government announced the plan for the partition of the sub-continent between India and Pakistan, and for the transfer of power to the two new states on 15 August 1947. On 30 June 1947, the procedure for the division of the armed forces was agreed upon by the Partition Council, chaired by the Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten and consisting of the top leaders of the Muslim League and the Indian Congress. Field Marshal Auchinleck, then C-in-C India, was appointed Supreme Commander under Mountbatten to ensure smooth division of units, stores, and so on. It was announced on 1 July 1947, that both countries would have operational control of their respective armed forces by 15 August 1947.

                       
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The Early Years
 
Between 1939 and 1945, the strength of the Indian Army grew to a maximum of 2,018,196 personnel. On the eve of Partition in 1947, the figure had come down to about 11,800 offi­cers, 450,000 other ranks plus about 50,000 of Indian Princely States' Forces. It is notewor­thy, at that time (as per policy of the British Raj since 1857) there were only two complete­ly Muslim combat units (1/15 Punjab Regi­ment and 3/16 Punjab Regiment), although there were several completely Hindu and Sikh units and regiments of the combat arms. The original agreement called for the armed forces and other assets to be divided to the ratio of 64% for India and 36% for Pakistan, but Pakistan was later forced to accept an 1/3 share of assets. Of the total 46 training estab­lishments; only nine were located in Pakistan; all of the 17 Ordnance Factories were located in India, as were most of the Ordnance Depots and Engineer Store Depots. In addition to Pakistan receiving far less stores than origi­nally stipulated, most of the stores received were of general nature, perishable, unwanted and obsolete. The move of 150,000 Pakistani personnel as well as 508 units and sub units of various sizes was to be carried out by rail through Indian Punjab and Sikh Princely States.
After 53 trains carrying personnel and their families were attacked, detailed and massacred by armed bands of Sikhs and Hindus in connivance with the railway authorities, the sea route from Bombay to Karachi was adopted. The Punjab Boundary Force consisting of five brigades under Major General Rees was created by Field Marshal Auchinleck's Supreme HQ in August-1947 to escort refugees from border districts of the two Punjabs across the international borders. Its area of responsibility covered 37,500 square miles and a population of 14.5 million. It was a gigantic task for a limited force manned largely by neutral British officers. About seven million Muslims migrated to Pakistan, and five million Sikhs and Hindus to India; a million perished.

Against an estimated requirement for about 4,000 officers, Pakistan had initially only about 2,300 - the gap being filled up on Quaid-e-­Azam's appeal, to some extent, by 484 expe­rienced and qualified British officers, who vol­unteered to stay and help Pakistan and the Pakistan Army in difficult times. Many Polish and Hungarian officers also volunteered for the medical corps. Prior to August 1947, the most senior Pakistani (and Indian) officers were in ranks of brigadiers; after indepen­dence, the command of Army units had to be given to officers in their early 30s with eight­een years service, many of whom had combat experience and had won battlefield awards in World War II. Similarly, brigade commanders had 13-15 years service and division com­manders 19-20 years.
 


 

 
 

Out of the Northern Command HQ nucleus, the GHQ was organized at its present loca­tion. Lt Gen Messervy, the then GOC-in-C Northern Command, was promoted and appointed Commander-In-Chief (C-in-C) Pa­kistan Army. The GHQ started functioning on 15 August 1947 without adequate staff or records, these held back in New Delhi.

 

 

By October 1947, guarding 5,000 miles of West and East Pakistan's frontiers were, about ten infantry brigades at less than 50% strength, and an armoured brigade with only 13 running STUART tanks. The Army has ammunition reserves for less than one week. In a Joint Defence Council Meeting, both Mountbatten and Supreme Commander Auchinleck had made it clear to Pakistan that in case of war with India, no other member of the Commonwealth would come to Pakistan's help. Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani C-in-C, was to recall in later years: "It would always be a matter of pride and glory for this army when history will recall how heavy a burden was placed on its young shoulders and how creditably it always rose to the occasion".

 
After the fraudulent accession of Kashmir by the Maharaja on 27 October, Mountbatten and Nehru air-transported the Indian Army into the Sri Nagar Valley. The Indian Army's offen­sive was halted at the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control) Initially by Azad Kashmir Forces, and from April 1948 with support of the iII-organised Pakistan Army without ade­quate logistic support. At midnight on 30 December, GHQ India asked for a ceasefire to become effective on 1 January 1949. Pakistan accepted, as the fate of Jammu and Kashmir had been taken over by the UNO. Thus ended the six month war in Kashmir. By the end of 1948 five infantry divisions had been organised, but these were still lack­ing their full complement of supporting arms and services. The few artillery regiments received at partition were grouped into three Artillery Groups under independent headquar­ters to ensure maximum flexibility. By early 1949, the Pakistan Army had completed its formative stage and had been bloodied in bat­tle experience, and continued its re-organisa­tion. On integration of Bahawalpur State in January 1949, the 6th (B) Division was creat­ed, but this was subsequently disbanded in 1956 on re-organisation of the army.
 

 
Back in August 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, foreseeing the finan­cial and military difficulties ahead, asked for US economic and military aid. Incidentally, the same request had also been submitted by New Delhi and Kabul. After an evaluation of Pakistan's strategic location at the crossroads of South-, Central-and West Asia in proximity to both China and the Soviet Union, the USA acceded to Pakistan's request under the American Mutual Security Legislation. In early 1954, Pakistan and the USA signed a Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement. Between 1954 -1965, Pakistan received US$650 million in military grants, US$619 mil­lion in defence support assistance, and US$ 55 million in cash or commercial purchases. This aid enhanced Pakistani defence capabil­ity by increasing the firepower and mobility, and improving C31 facilities of five and a half divisions. The armed forces were modernised in keeping with the world trends; two Corps HQ were also catered for. Many senior and junior officers went for training and orientation to USA; new cantonments were built, and existing ones were expanded and moderni­sed. By August 1947, the 7th Division (located in Rawalpindi with two brigades) was the Pakistan Army's only division. There also were static HQ designed "Areas" and "Sub-areas", having brigades and battalions at more than 50% below strength.

In the following months, as Pakistani per­sonnel kept arriving from all over India, Middle East and South East Asia by rail and sea, the 8th Division was organised out of the Sind­ Balochistan Area, and the 9th (F) Division was created out of brigades of the Peshawar and Waziristan Areas. Similarly, the Lahore Area was re-organised as 10th Division, and the 12th Division was raised in November 1948. The forces in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were designated as East Pakistan Army, then as a Sub-area and finally in December 1948 as HQ 14th Division, initially with only two batta­lions that eventually were built up to brigade strength.
 


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Kashmir War 1947-48
The 11 Cavalry equipped with armoured cars were the only unit employed in the war.
 
The GHQ assigned the unit an essentially defensive and passive role but the indomitable Colonel Tommy Masud commanding the unit was too resolute a man to be restrained 44. The unit thus took a prominent part in operations in Bhimbhar-Mirpur area under Tommy Masud, but its role remained limited since it was not allowed to conduct any major offensive operation to support the militia. The Pakistani GHQ finally moved 3rd Armoured Brigade near Bhimbhar, for a projected counterstroke at Indian communications to Poonch, when the Indians made a unilateral offer of ceasefire on 30 December 1947-1948.

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The Rann of Kutch Conflict (April 1965)
India and Pakistan became engaged in a short but sharp conflict into Pakistani claimed-area in the Rann of Kutch in April 1965. Both armies had fully mobilised. Pa­kistan eventually proposed a ceasefire, which India accepted; an agreement was signed, and the forces disengaged. The Award by the Arbitration Tribunal vindicated Pakistan's position. India then shifted the centre of grav­ity of operations to the Northern Areas.
 


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The 1965 War
 
After several ceasefire violations, India attacked across the international border form Sialkot to Sind sectors. The attacks were halt­ed on all fronts, and in a series of counter­attacks the Pakistan Army penetrated inside Indian territory capturing more territory than the Indian Army. The biggest tank battle since World War II was fought at Chawinda, inflicting heavy casual­ties. India eventually asked for a ceasefire, arranged by the UN on 23 September 1965.

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The Third Evolution Phase (1966-1970)
In 1966, commenced the third phase of the evolution of the Pakistan Army, which was able to at least partially enhance its defence capability over these five years.
 

The US embargo on military aid to Pakistan, and the continued Soviet heavy build-up of Indian forces, forced Pakistan to turn to China, North Korea, Germany, Italy and France for its defence procurement pro­grammes. China, a time-tested friend and neighbour, enabled Pakistan to raise three fully-equipped infantry divisions with gun and vehicles, 900 Chinese tanks, and MiG-19F air­craft for the air force. France supplied MIR­AGE aircraft and submarines. In 1968, the Soviet Union offered US$30 million worth of aid to Pakistan and supplied 100 T-55 tanks, Mi-8 helicopter, guns and vehicles; in 1969, however, Soviet support was abruptly stopped under Indian pressure.

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The 1971 War
 

1971 was the most tragic year in Pakistan's history, a year of political crises and conflict. Unable to resolve a political problem by polit­ical means, the then Martial Law regime resorted to military action in East Pakistan on the night on 25/26 March.

Widespread insurgency broke out, covertly aided by Indian trained infiltrators and India's Border Security Forces. In the first week of April, personnel of two infantry divisions and civil armed forces were airlifted in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) planes with a 6,000-mile non-stop route via Sri Lanka - the longest operational air move by the army. Quick reaction by the Pakistani authorities restored 80% normalcy in the eastern wing of the country. Covert operations having failed, India con­centrated about 400,000 regular army person­nel in 12 divisions supported by five tank reg­iments, seven air force squadrons and Indian Navy. These forces, further strengthened by about 1,00,000 guerillas (Mukti Bahini) attacked from all directions on 20 fronts across the international border on 21 November, without a formal declaration of war. Intense fighting raged till 16 December in both Pakistan's wings; no town or battalion position could be overrun, till a ceasefire accepted by Pakistan was perfidiously changed into surrender by Indian-Soviet machinations.

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1971-1979

After almost twelve years of clandestine efforts India exploded a nuclear device at Pokhran on 18 May 1974 not far from Pakistan’s borders, as part of her coercive diplomacy, thus starting a nuclear arms race in the Sub-continent. By 1986, after only seven years of a crash programme, Pakistan had acquired her own nuclear capability to match and deter that of India. Thus was established a strategic balance in the region, ‘striking terror into the hearts of the enemy’ as enjoined by the Holy Quran.

In 1976, the Higher Defence Organization was streamlined and revitalized. The western influenced strategic doctrine was critically analyzed and re-evaluated in the light of our geostrategic realities and operational environment. Core issues of Quranic concepts of warfare, regulated by laws like Jehad, checks and balances on use of force, prohibition of total unlimited war, humane measures to protect women, children and prisoners, encouraging negotiations for honourable peace and that enemies need not be permanent, and other fundamentals were highlighted in the re-evaluation.

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1979 To Present
 

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invad­ed Afghanistan. The US offered US$400 mil­lion worth of military aid, which was however spurned by Pakistan as inadequate for a "frontline state".

Apprehensive of the two­ front threats to Pakistan, in 1981 the US again offered a package of US$1.5 billion worth of military aid. This was accepted and in five years provided 40 F-16 fighters, 100 M-48 tanks, 64 M-109 155mm SP howitzers, 40 M­110 203mm SP howitzers, 75 towed howit­zers, and 1,005 TOW anti-tank missile sys­tems, considerably enhancing Pakistan's de­fence capability. India and Pakistan are now engaged into a military conflict on the world's highest battlefield in 1982 resulting into more loss of lives due to harsh weather as compare to combat losses.

 
By 1989, the Soviet Union - having suffered heavy losses in men and material, and unable to withstand the Jehad - commenced with­drawing its forces from Afghanistan. Under the Pressler Amendment, the US again imposed an embargo on all economic and mil­itary aid to Pakistan, which continued for five years. In 1995, the Brown Amendment authorised a one-time delivery of US military equip­ment, contracted for prior to October 1990, worth US$368 million. However, the addition­al 28 F-16 aircraft costing US$658 million and already paid for by Pakistan are still not being delivered.

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Other Significant Activities
Roles under UN Flag

In addition to its main roles of repelling external aggressions and grappling with inter­nal security issues, natural calamities, and nation-building projects, the Pakistan Army from 1960 onwards also played a heroic role as part of UN forces in peacekeeping, peace­making and peace-enforcing, providing per­sonnel to several different missions.
Military Missions Abroad
Pakistani military missions were invited, during the last four decades by the govern­ments of Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Jordan and others to organise and train their armed forces. In the Gulf War of 1991, Pakistani ground forces played their role in Saudi Arabia's defence, and thereafter in prolonged mine lifting opera­tions in Kuwait. In the medical field, Pakistan Army doctors have been working as personal physicians to Kings and Rulers in the Arab world.
 


 

Joint Exercises

 
Periodically since 1955, first as members of collective security systems such as SEATO and CENTO, the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Forces took part in exercises with forces of friendly countries, gaining valuable experience in latest systems and doctrines.

 


Training of Foreign Army Officers in Pakistan
The numerous training institutions of vari­ous arms and services set up after 1947 have become such centres of professional excel­lence, i.e., the Pakistani Military Academy, School of Infantry and Tactics, Armour, Ar­tillery, Army Air Defence, Engineer, and Signals Schools and Colleges, Command and Staff College, Na­tional Defence College, and others. These in­stitutions are regularly visited by foreign army officers, who are trained alongside their Pakistani colleagues.

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Para-Military Forces
 
Pakistan Army officers train and command the following para-military forces: National Guard (including Janbaz Force), Mujahid Force, National Cadet Corps and Women Guards (185,000), Frontier Corps (70,000), Pakistan Rangers (25,000), and Coast Guards.

 
Indigenisation & Modernisation
 
The activities of POF Wah and Heavy Industries Taxila are described elsewhere in this issue.

Missiles
To balance the threat posed by India’s Integrated Guided Missile Programme, launched in 1983-84 to develop the PRITHIBI, AGNI, AKASH and NAG systems, the Pakistan Army has developed the capability of producing and deploying, at short notice, the indigenous HATF-3 ballistic missile with range of 800km. Pakistan has also developed and introduced into army’s service the ANZA air defence and BAKTAR-SHIKAN anti tank guided missile system.
 


 

Army Vehicles
To standardise the various types of vehicles of different origins in use in the army since 1947, the indigenous manufac­ture of the YASOOB series of military trucks (available in 3 ton and 6 ton medium and heavy duty versions) was launched in 1989 in collaboration with Pakistan Automobile Cor­poration. 1/4 ton jeeps named MILLAT and NISHAN are also being produced with civil collaboration. Re-engining (diesel) and refur­bishment of the large fleet of M-34/M-35 trucks of US origin is also currently being implemented under the SHAHZORE project.

Communications
To meet the challenge of the future battlefield, the Corps of Signals has completely revolutionised defence communi­cations with the introduction of PASCOMS (Pakistan Army Strategic Communications) inaugurated in April 1995, DEFCOMM (Defence Communication) for inter-services communi­cations, and PATCOM (Pakistan Army Tactical Communications). Under the latter pro­gramme, all corps have been equipped with hand-held radio sets, VHF vehicles radio sets, low and medium power radio sets, field exchanges and FAX machines. Work is in progress to have a real-time C4I System at all tiers of the Army.
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Recruitment and Formation

Since 1947, the Pakistani Armed Forces have grown into a national, highly profession­al, modern defence arm of the nation. Re­cruitment for officers and other ranks is open to all sections, classes, castes and tribes who meet the physical and educational standards.

In 1972, the National Defence College com­menced the first full fledged course to impart higher military education to senior officers. The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) was established in 1993 as a joint venture of the army and civil institu­tions, with links to the Michigan State Uni­versity (USA) and Cranfield University (UK) for imparting graduate and post-graduate studies and PhD/MS programmes. It is based on the decentralised multi-campus concept and has the following affiliated colleges: Military College of Engineering (Risalpur), Military College of Signals (Rawalpindi), Military College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (Rawalpindi), Military College of Transport (Risalpur), Pakistan Navy En­gineering College (Karachi), and PAF College of Aeronautical Engineering (Risalpur).

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The Role in the Social Sector

The Pakistan Army, in addition to its primary responsibility of defence and security, is also playing its its role in the social sector and in nation-building activities through the Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust, Frontier Works Organization, Special Communication Organization and the National Logistics Cell, and in assisting in alleviation of suffering and succour in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, etc.


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Nation Building Programme
 

The Founder of the nation extended full patronage to the Pakistan Army in particular and the allied services in general and asked the defence forces to defend not only the territorial integrity of the country but also its ideological frontiers. From the very outset, the Pakistan Army has been dedicated to the service of the nation. Through its innumerable services and excellent performance in the completion of nation-building projects, the Pakistan Army has won the confidence and respect of the nation with the grace of Almighty Allah.


Besides carrying out its basic duty of defending the country, the Pakistan Army has played a pivotal role in a number of nation-building projects. Some of these are; Building of road-networks in the inaccessible Northern Area, Azad Kashmir, Baluchistan. On a number of occasions, the army has conducted rescue operations during the great floods. Again it has also conducted anti-locust, anti-boar and anti-smuggling operations
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Earthquake - 2005
 

Never before has Pakistan experienced such a big catastrophe as the earthquake of 8 October 2005 that shattered the vital areas of Azad Kashmir, NWFP and Islamabad. The overwhelming response of the Army had been admirable, this reflected the total devotion and commitment to uphold the flag of Pakistan at any cost within minutes after earthquake, Army Aviation Helicopters were in the air in order to assess damage and bring back injured casualties. All the main roads in Muzaffarabad were reopened after 36 hours of the earthquake. Fifty satellite phone PCOs in Kashmir and 60 in affected areas of NWFP had been installed for the convenience of people to make and receive calls free of cost. Around 72 average sorties were flown every day in areas' like Sortir, Lamina, Saropa, Chakothi, Garhi Dupatta, Pir Chinari, Billgra, Sawan, Pundu and Hatian Balla villages, while the areas in Neelum Valley where the rescue and relief operations were being carried out include Ghori, Dhani, Ging, Pangkot, Patikkka and Noseri. Relief items, including food, tents and blankets, were being dropped in Chakot, Sudhan Gali, Saropa, Neelum Valley and Gari Dopatta. Around 300 truck loads were distributed in Muzaffarabad almost every day.

The Pakistan Army medical staff continued to shift serious patients from quake-hit areas through MI -17, Chinook, Black Hawk, CH-53 and Sea King helicopters. Pak Army's medical teams were working day and night in Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Bagh, Balakot and Batagram with a missionary zeal, our troops were working round-the-clock to mitigate sufferings of the millions of survivors. The foreign dignitaries and leaders of political parties who had been visiting the devastated areas were unanimous in lauding the role of our dedicated soldiers in alleviating human sufferings. Mercifully, Pakistan Army had done more than one could expect.

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Welfare Projects
 

The army’s welfare projects and schemes contribute to the national development programme in a big way. The Army Welfare Trust, the Welfare and Rehabilitation Organisation, Armed Services ‘ Board and the Fauji Foundation all serve tens of thousands of nationals in service and after retirement. Besides, free medical services are provided to the citizens in the backward area of the country. The army provides educational facilities to the soldiers and officers. It encourages the servicemen to enhance their education and provides all necessary facilities in the regard. The army offers course in higher education like M. Phil and Ph.D. It runs the National University of Modern Languages which has, on its staff, a large number of foreign instructors. The army trains officers at this institute to further send them to foreign courses. The army has started own Medial College whose graduates will serve the armed forces. In the domain of national education, the army has also contributed in a big way bringing in, efficiency, order and discipline in so far as its management of schools and colleges in the Cantonment areas is concerned. There is a marked improvement in the performance of students and teachers of these institutions and the general administration has been improved remarkably.
 

Conclusion
 

The Pakistan Army, like Pakistan, started virtually from a scratch on 14 August 1947, in the face of heavy odds. During these 61 years, the Army, like the Navy and Air Force, has evolved into a highly-motivated and modern force defending the ideological and geograph­ical frontiers of Pakistan.

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 Quick Links

Introduction

The Early Years 

Kashmir War 1947-48

The Rann of Kutch Conflict (April 1965)

The 1965 War

The Third Evolution Phase (1966-1970)

The 1971 War

1971-1979

1979 to Present

Other Significant Activities

Para -Military Forces

Recruitment and Formation

The Role in the Social Sector

Nation Building Programme

Earthquake - 2005

 

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