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Pakistan Military


The Pakistan Armed Forces (Musalah Afwaj-e-Pakistan) are the overall unified military forces of Pakistan, and as of 2010, the eighth largest in the world. The Pakistani military was first formed when the nation achieved independence from the British Empire during the Partition of British India in 1947. Its component branches are:

• Pakistan Army;
• Pakistan Navy;
• Pakistan Air Force;
• Pakistan Paramilitary Forces;
• Pakistan Coast Guard;
• Pakistan Strategic Nuclear Command.

The armed forces maintain close military relations with China and the United States and import military equipment mainly from them. The defence forces of China and Pakistan carry out joint military exercises. Conscription may be introduced in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.

Pakistan's military is led by an officer corps that is not restricted by social class or nobility and are appointed from a variety of sources such as service academies and direct appointment from both civilian status and the enlisted ranks. The Pakistan Army is the best organised group in the country and is highly respected in civil society and the social ranks as an institution. Since the founding of Pakistan, the army has been key in holding the state together, promoting a feeling of nationhood and providing a bastion of selfless service.

Since independence, Pakistan has been involved in four wars with neighbouring India, beginning in 1947 with the First Kashmir War, when Pakistan gained control of present-day Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The two countries were at war again in 1965 and in 1971, and most recently in the Kargil War of 1999. The army has also been engaged in several skirmishes with Afghanistan on the western border; in 1961, it repelled a major Afghan incursion. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Pakistan shot down several intruding pro-Soviet Afghan communist aircraft and provided covert support to factions of the Afghan mujahideen through the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Apart from its own conflicts, Pakistan has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. It played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent. Pakistani armed forces are the largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions.

Pakistan maintained significant numbers of troops in some Arab countries in defence, training and advisory roles. During the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, PAF pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria, which were in a state of war with Israel; they shot down 10 Israeli planes in the Six-Day War. In 1979, at the request of the Saudi government, commandos of the Pakistani Special Service Group were rushed to assist Saudi forces in Mecca to lead the operation of the Grand Mosque Seizure. In 1991 Pakistan got involved with the Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.

The armed forces have been engaged in a war in North-West Pakistan since 2001, mainly against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat. The armed forces also assists in natural disasters in Pakistan such as the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the floods in Baluchistan in 2008.

The vast majority of Pakistan troops historically have been deployed along the Indian-Pakistan border to counter a perceived invasion threat from India. Altogether, it is estimated that 80-90% of the army is positioned in this manner. However, 15,000 troops have been shifted to the Swat Valley to counter the Taliban invasion. Those troops along with various paramilitary forces are involved in a protracted fight against extremists in the tribal areas of Pakistan. After the Mumbai incident, several brigades were moved back east.


Military branches : Pakistan Army (includes National Guard), Pakistan Navy (includes Marines and Maritime Security Agency), Pakistan Air Force (2010)
Military service age and obligation : 17-23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18; the Pakistani Air Force and Pakistani Navy have inducted their first female pilots and sailors; service obligation (Navy) 10-18 years; retirement required after 18-30 years service or age 40-52 (2012)
Manpower available for military service : males age 16-49: 48,453,305
females age 16-49: 44,898,096 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service

: males age 16-49: 37,945,440
females age 16-49: 37,381,549 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually : male: 2,237,723
female: 2,104,906 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures : 3% of GDP (2007 est.)




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