Pakistan Army

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Pakistan army: Some vital statistics; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, January 14, 2016

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The Wide Footprint Of The Army

Pakistan, its army, and the wars within

Both the size and nature of the Pakistan Army have a huge impact on the country's economy and society. Rising from a relatively small force at independence, Pakistan today has an army of around 800,000 plus, including over 550,000 regular army and the rest as reserves. It is larger than the regular army of the United States. It increased its force size even after losing half the Country in 1971 with the independence of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). In the process, Pakistan's security threat from India grew, forcing it to meet India's rapid growth of military might on the one hand, and on the other the appearance of the Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan to its west in the 1980s further propelled its expansion.

As Parvez Hasan stated in a recent analysis of the growth of the military and defence spending during the period of Ayub Khan's rule:

‘The biggest of impact of 1965 war was to change the priorities of public spending… It is significant that Ayub Khan, a former commander in chief of the army, kept the size of the army under strict control, even though India's defense expenditure was rising rapidly after its confrontation with China in 1962. But following the war with India in 1965, defense expenditures were given high priority and phasing out of US military assistance after 1965 put additional burden on domestic resources. Real defense expenditure almost doubled between 1960-65 and 1965-70. This took its toll on development.’

A serious conflict became evident after 1965 between development and defence. The Third Five Year, Development Plan (1965-70) aimed for a sharp expansion in public development spending while reducing defence spending as a proportion of GDP. In fact, development spending remained stagnant as a percentage of GDP while defence expenditures nearly doubled from 2.8 per cent of GDP in 1960-5 to four per cent in 1965-70.

During Ziaul Haq’s period, there was a tremendous increase in public spending, which raised the share of government expenditure in GDP. 'Equally serious, there was a major shift in the public expenditure priorities from development to defence. Real defence spending increased on average by nine per cent per annum during 1977-88 while development spending rose three per cent per annum; by 1987-8 defence spending had overtaken development spending.'

Indeed, defence spending appears to follow overall spending, as another study by Mahmood-ul-Hasan Khan confirms. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the 1990s and despite tensions with India defence spending dropped from 26.8 per cent in the 1980s to an average of 18.7 per cent for FY 2001-03. Yet, according to World Bank data, defence spending as a percentage of GDP in Pakistan was around 3.4 per cent in 2005 compared with India's 2.34 per cent, among the highest burdens of military spending in the world. As Pakistan develops and its economy grows, the opportunity cost (that is the foregone benefits in the development sector) of its defence spending will rise dramatically. This is a huge challenge for the regime, as it ponders its political future on the one hand and the nature of the army that Pakistan needs to ensure its security on the other.

The issue facing Pakistan and its military today is one that faces many other developing countries. Apart from crowding out other more useful investments, the relatively large size of the defence sector and its gradual expansion into other economic activities, as has been the case in Pakistan, Turkey, and Indonesia, for example, spawns a host of ills associated with such parasitical (government and semiowned) enterprises: featherbedding or over-employment, heavy and often hidden subsidies, privileged access to scarce resources, and the creation of a powerful and new vested interest group in economic activities: the serving military and ex-servicemen. Further, these activities lead to other spin-offs in the economic field, including non-military sindustries, hospitals, real estate, banking, insurance, airlines, and even consumer goods such as cereals and clothing, often in the guise of benevolent schemes for ex-servicemen. As stated earlier, there is little financial scrutiny or supervision of these enterprises or, more importantly, overall defence spending. This distorts the allocation of scarce domestic resources and retards economic development. A study at the University of London established that higher rates of defence spending was associated with lower savings rates in 50 developing countries and the proportion of GDP devoted to investment was negatively associated with the ratio of defence spending to GDP.

Accompanying this economic domination of the political landscape, the army has also strengthened its political status within the rubric of the state's system of assigning seniority to different representatives of government.

Successive civilian heads of government have allowed this imbalance between the civil and the military to grow. When I asked former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if he was familiar with the Warrant of Precedence, he shook his head and asked what it was. I reminded him of the list that Pakistan inherited from the British and that established the relative ranking of civil and military officials for protocol purposes.

Beyond simple protocol, this list symbolises the relative roles of officials from the civil and the military in the nation's polity and provided a map of their relationships. The Warrant of Precedence issued by the Ministry of Interior from Karachi in February 1950 ranked the top officials of the then dominion of Pakistan, with the governor general at the head, followed by the prime minister, the governors of the provinces (within their own areas of responsibility, i.e. provinces), foreign ambassadors, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the president of the parliament, ministers of the dominion, then governors (outside their immediate domain), then premiers of the provinces, and so on. Notably, the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army came in at number 15, below, among others, the judges of the federal court, the chief justices of the high courts of the provinces, and deputy ministers of the dominion.

The chief of staff of the Pakistan Army came in at number 20 while lieutenant generals came in at number 21, followed by general officers commanding divisions at number 22, both below federal secretaries and the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. I reminded Prime Minister Sharif that Bangladesh had reverted to this early Warrant of Precedence. He then recalled that when he landed at Dhaka on the invitation of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, he was 'looking for the army chief in the reception line and then [I] saw him, far down the line, after the other officials!' Recent events in Bangladesh appear to suggest that the civilian ascendancy was short-lived as the army re-asserted its guiding role in the country's polity. Pakistan changed this warrant de facto when General Ayub Khan, the C-in-C of the army, was made defence minister, and again when he took over as CMLA and then also became president. By 1960, other changes had been introduced, with rulers of some princely states that had joined Pakistan being elevated to higher status. But the commander-in-chief was still maintained at number 15. Corps commanders were elevated to number 20, in the company of the attorney general and the army's chief of staff and the commanders-in-chief of the navy and air force (who were considered lower than the army chief). By 1970, the warrant had been amended a number of times to accommodate the changing priorities of different offices. The attorney general was moved up to number 5 (if he held the rank of a federal minister), while the chiefs of army, navy, and air staff were bumped up to number 6, along with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee, but who would be considered to rank above the chiefs of staff of the three armed services. Officers of the rank of lieutenant general (including corps commanders) were promoted further to number 16 and were now at par with federal secretaries.

Today, the attorney general retains the same rank (number 5) but is joined by the rector of the International Islamic University at that level (a sign of the Islamic times!). The chairman JCSC, and chiefs of army, air, and naval staff are now ranked at number 6, while lieutenant generals remain at par with federal secretaries at number 16.

Excerpted with permission from

Crossed Sword: Pakistan, its army, and the wars within

By Shuja Nawaz

Oxford University Press, Karachi.

ISBN 978-0-19-547660-6

700pp. Rs695

2016: The senior most officers

The seniormost officers of the Pakistan Army, as in Nov 2016 (next in seniority after the then outgoing Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Shareef)
Lt Gen Qamar Bajwa was appointed the Pak army chief
The Times of India

See graphic:

The seniormost officers of the Pakistan Army, as in Nov 2016 (next in seniority after the then outgoing Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Shareef)
Lt Gen Qamar Bajwa was appointed the Pak army chief

HC deprecates interference in other departments/ 2018

Rizwan Shehzad, The Times of India

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) explicitly asked on Wednesday the army chief and the top spymaster to stop meddling in affairs of other departments.

Expressing serious concerns over the perception that a state within state existed in the country, IHC’s Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said that as such, these elements conspired to manipulate the government and the judiciary.

Justice Siddiqui directed the secretaries of the ministry of interior and defence to place the court’s order before the chief of army staff (COAS) and director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wherein he emphasised that secret agencies need to realise that they have to confine themselves within the boundaries of the constitution.

Citing the manner in which these elements marked specific cases to different judges, Justice Siddiqui said. “Everyone knows how (court) proceedings are manipulated, from where strings are pulled, and when power (is) wielded and manoeuvred to achieve the desired results.”

“It is a matter of great concern that even [after] benches are constituted, cases are marked to different benches on the direction of such elements.”

Persons at the helm of affairs of all institutions need to protect the hard-earned independence and take remedial steps to stop the invasion by personnel of any particular institutions or intelligence agencies, the judge observed.

He believed that it was high time to save the institution of the judiciary from all sorts of influence. “Otherwise we may not be able to answer to Almighty Allah about our authority and responsibilities, which will obviously be a big loss.”

According to him, playing the role of a silent spectator was in contradiction of the oath sworn by all judges under the Constitution.

If they (judges) fail in this regard and do nothing, the Pakistani nation and history would not remember them as good judges.

“It is expected from the top echelon of Pakistan Army that by appreciating the delicacy, sensitivity, and alarming situation, some remedial steps to stop their agencies from interfering in the affairs of other departments and to refrain from assuming roles not assigned by law shall be taken,” Justice Siddiqui’s order stated.

“Otherwise, these practices shall ruffle the people of Pakistan which, by no stretch of the imagination, is good for the prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army as well as Pakistan.”

This order was authored during the hearing of an application filed on behalf of a missing person, Rabnawaz.

Interestingly, Rabnawaz appeared before the court on Wednesday and testified that he had not been abducted by any person, but rather he had gone to Vehari of his own volition to visit his lands.

The judge noted that from his mannerism, body language and complexion, Rabnawaz appeared to be fearful and under immense pressure, therefore, his statement did not inspire confidence.

Citing Rabnawaz’s brother’s contention, the judge noted that the petitioner submitted that his brother was lying and he had been abducted by personnel of the agencies and subjected to physical and mental torture.

The court also acknowledged that the petitioner actually knew that his brother was being harassed and threatened with dire consequences and told to follow the exact orders of his abductors without any deviation.

Regretting what he termed a “sorry situation”, Justice Siddiqui stated that it was a challenge to the state of Pakistan that the police appeared to be tight-lipped, “helpless and not in a position to divulge the truth.”

“Abductions of ordinary citizens…have become routine in [Islamabad], but instead of performing its statutory duty, local police comes up with a stereotypical stance that [these] persons may have disappeared on their own…such statements are always made in cases in which allegations are levelled against agencies.”

The order adds that “local police is in league with the mighty agencies who have disrupted the civic fibre of the country by establishing a state [within a] state,” the order read.

Everyone, the judge noted, needed to rise to this challenge, otherwise, Pakistan would face a crisis and disastrous situation if such practices persisted.

“The (secret) agencies are of the state of Pakistan, therefore, (they) need to realise that they have to confine themselves within the limits of the organic law – the Constitution – and the parameters of the law of the land and must stop interfering in the affairs of other institutions (such as the) judiciary, executive, media, and other departments … (who) have nothing to do with the defence and or the security of Pakistan,” he maintained.

Moreover, Justice Siddiqui stated, “It is a matter of shame that allegedly persons [working for] the ISI are involved in corrupt practices.”

The court order also noted that SP Investigation Zubair Ahmed Sheikh had miserably failed to discharge his duty and appeared to be under pressure from “a particular corner”, as he withheld truth before the court.

“Such police officers do not deserve to be on such high ranks and must not be assigned any delicate investigation…Even today, he did not answer [any of] the questions of the court based on truth and facts.

Militancy supporting international terrorism

From the archives of "The Times of India"

‘Pak militants are backing al-Qaida ops worldwide’

Washington: Pakistani militant groups, most of whom previously focused on attacking Kashmir, have increased their collaboration with al-Qaida, providing safe haven to its fighters and supporting its operations against the west, a top US intelligence official has warned.

“...Since early 2006, Pakistani militant groups have increased their collaboration with al-Qaida. This includes ethnic Pashtun groups native to the tribal areas and groups from eastern Pakistan, most of whom previously focused on attacking Kashmir in India,” said Ted Gistaro, national intelligence officer for transnational threats in the office of the director of national intelligence.

“While a major focus of these groups is conducting attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, they provide safe haven to al-Qaida fighters, collaborate on attacks inside Pakistan, and support al-Qaida’s external operations, including against the west,” the officer said.

The new assessment is seen as an update from a National Intelligence Estimate issued a year ago, which said al-Qaida was seeking to deploy agents trained to carry out operations in the west. PTI

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa

See Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa

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