PAKISTAN- PART-III . THE ARMED FORCES

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  1. At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan inherited roughly 33% man power assets of the British Indian Armed Forces and scant provision  of  arms and equipment . Confronted by a hostile Eastern neighbor in India,  it was imperative for the State-to build a strong armed forces to retain its sovereign right. Since it’s inception the Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the modern history of Pakistan, notably due to three major wars against India in 1948, 1965 and 1971 and many skirmishes. Today Pakistan Armed Forces rank sixth largest in the world and comprise of Army , Navy and the Air Force, backed by paramilitary forces . The chain of command of Armed Forces is organized under the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee( JCSC) alongside the Chiefs of Staff of Army, Navy and Air Force. The post of CJCSC and the three services chiefs are tenable by a four star with tenure appointment of three years.A critical component to the armed forces’ structure is the Strategic Planning Division, which is responsible for the maintenance and safeguarding of Pakistan tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. The Armed Forces have approximately 725,000 active personnel backed by 500,000 personnel in the various paramilitary forces . The induction in the Armed Forces is on volunteer basis on merit based selection, though the Constitution of Pakistan allows for conscription in a state of war.
  2. The armed forces have a highly approved rating in the society because of their profound contributions in Nation building , health and education. It has served the people at times of every crises and natural calamities, earth quakes, floods and in the conduct of census and elections. The military has played a key role in holding the state together, promoting a feeling of nationalism and providing a bastion of selfless service. Since 1960s, Pakistan has been one of the three largest contributors to UN Peace keeping operation under most trying conditions. It has taken an active part in Somalian and Bosnian conflicts and have won world over acclaim for their display of bravery and courage against heavy odds.Other foreign deployments have included Pakistani military contingent and personnel serving in African and Arab countries to name, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,Libya, Kuwait and Qatar. Pakistan military has maintained combat divisions in Arab states during Arab -Israeli Wars and in support of US lead Coalition forces in the Gulf Wars.
  3. Pakistan in accordance with ‘ continental strategy’ has the largest component of its Armed Forces in the Army with its Headquarters at Rawalpindi. The motto of Pakistan Army is Imam, Taiwanese and Jihad fi It is organized into two theatre commands namely Southern and Central and has nine corps headquarters with under command divisions . Army has its integral Aviation Corps with more than 300 fixed and rotary wing aircrafts . One of the elite component of Pakistan Army is the Special Services Group ( SSG) division initially raised and trained by US forces.These troops have shown their mettle in the conduct of special operations under challenging demands.The Army Strategic Forces Command operates a wide range of missile systems in its arsenal . Pakistan Army is self sufficient in developing its small arms, ammunition and battle tanks by affiliated defense industry. It has world class training institutions from Pakistan Military Academy to all arms and services including more than a century old Command & Staff College,Quetta and National Defense University , attended by a large number of students from Muslim and friendly countries. Since 9/11, the  Army has also been actively involved in anti terrorist operations both inside Pakistan and in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Due to diverse geography and fighting against terrorists equipped by latest arms and technology and aided by traditional enemy of Pakistan, the army has extensive combat experience in a variety of terrain conditions.
  4. Pakistan Navy is responsible to protect nation’s sea ports, marine borders approximately 1000 Kms daily supporting national security and peace keeping missions. It has almost 50,000 active duty personnel. It has its Headquarters at Islamabad and Naval Academy at Karachi . The added operational scope of Navy includes countering the threat of sea based global terrorism, drug smuggling and trafficking . The Navy’s surface fleet consists of helicopter carriers, destroyers , frigates, amphibious assault ships, patrol ships , mines counter measures and miscellaneous vessels for intelligence gathering etc. The Naval Air Arm provides fleet air defense, maritime reconnaissance and anti submarine warfare capabilities. The Navy fleet of P-3 Orion aircraft equipped with electronic intelligence ( ELINT) play a pivotal role in gathering of intelligence.Navy has its indigenous ship yard which manufactures submarines and frigates .The Navy also has a fleet of submarines with a strategic strike capability. Navy has its Marines component to undertake amphibious operations.Pakistan Navy has facilitated raising of navies of many Muslim countries and in training of their officer cadre .
  5. Pakistan Air Force is the seventh largest Air Force in the world with over 945 combat fighter jets and 200 trainer transport , communication and force multiplier aircrafts.A single command structure, Air Headquarters is based at Islamabad while Air Academy is situated near Peshawar .In the historic context, Air Force has played a pivotal role in nation’s defense and national security . In its inventory PAF has US, Chinese and French aircrafts. While F-16s continue to be a backbone of the Air Force, the development and production of JF-17at Aeronautical Factory,,with Chinese collaboration has provided it the operational requirements. Air Force operates two types of airborne early warning and control systems aircraft: four Erieye equipped Saab 2000s from Sweden and six Chinese AWACS- . Pakistan Air Force has assisted in raising and training of many air forces of Muslim countries to include Libya, Jordan and its pilots fought alongside Arab nations( including Iraq)in Arab Israel wars and downed many Israeli aircrafts.
  6. The world renowned Inter- Services Intelligence ( ISI) is the premier intelligence service of Pakistan that is responsible for providing, managing and coordinating military intelligence for the three services .ISI is headquartered at Islamabad and is headed by a three star Army general. It has various wings for domestic, external and special subjects each headed by a two star officer . The induction in ISI is from three services on tenure basis and permanent civilian employees. ISI has played a major role in exit of Soviet Forces from Afghanistan and in inking of US- Taliban Peace Accord of 2020. It is  rated as one of the top intelligence agencies in the world .Each service also has their intelligence branch, primarily for counter intelligence  and counter terrorism. The Media Publicity wing of Armed Forces is Inter – Services Public Relations( ISPR) which is responsible for news coverage related to Armed Forces, projection of its operations and countering hostile propaganda, both external and internal . It is co located with General Headquarters at Rawalpindi and is headed by a two star officer from Army . ISPR also publishes many professional magazines covering domestic and international issues .
  7. To know more about Pakistan Army, the link to web portal is : https://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk/

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