Forces

1947–1958
General Ayub Khanarriving to take command of the Pakistan Army in 1951
The Pakistan Army was created on 30 June 1947 with the division of the British Indian Army. The soon to be created Dominion of Pakistan received six armoured, eight artillery and eight infantry regiments compared to the 12 armoured, forty artillery and twenty one infantry regiments that went to India. Fearing that India would take over the state of Kashmir, irregulars, scouts and tribal groups entered Kashmir to oppose the Maharaja of Kashmir and Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs in 1947, even though the Maharaja chose to join the Union of India. This led to theIndo-Pakistani War of 1947. Regular army units joined the invasion later on but were stopped after the refusal of the army chief of staff, British officer General Sir Frank Messervy, to obey Pakistani leader Jinnah’s orders to move the army into Kashmir. A ceasefire followed on UN intervention with Pakistan occupying the northwestern part of Kashmir and India occupying the rest. Later, during the 1950s, the Pakistan Army received large amounts of economic and military aid from the United States and Great Britain after signing two mutual defence treaties, the Baghdad Pact, which led to the formation of the Central Treaty Organization, and the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1954. This aid greatly expanded the Army from its modest beginnings.

The sole division headquarters that went to Pakistan was the 7th. 8th and 9th Divisions were raised in 1947; 10,12th and 14 Divisions were raised in 1948. 15 Div was raised in 1950. At some point before 1954, 6 Division was raised and 9 Division disbanded. 6 Division was disbanded at some point after 1954 as US assistance was available only for one armored and six infantry divisions.

1958–1969

Main article: Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

Pakistan Army took over from poiliticians for the first time when General Ayub Khan came to power through a bloodless coup in 1958. He formed Convention Muslim League which includes Pakistan’s first elected Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto. Tensions with India continued in the 1960s and a brief border skirmish was fought near the Rann of Kutch area during April 1965. The Pakistan Army initiated Operation Gibraltar, an attempt to remove Indian forces from the disputed territory of Indian-administered Kashmir. The Indian Army counter-attacked by trying to invade undisputed Pakistani territory and the PA’s goals changed from gaining control of Indian-administered Kashmir to defending Pakistani territory from invading Indian forces. Eventually a ceasefire agreement was reached. The war ended in the Tashkent Declaration and is widely regarded by neutral sources to have been a stalemate. According to the Library of Congress Country Studies conducted by the Federal Research Division of the United States The war was militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy—on the Indian side with 83 aircraft, 547 tanks, and 15000 troops while the Pakistani side sustained, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops.

The Pakistan Army considers itself to have achieved a victory because it managed to force a stalemate against a significantly larger force attacking sovereign Pakistani territory at different points, which the PA did not expect and was not prepared or equipped for. Indian sources disagree and call the end result an Indian victory. Highly effective support from the Pakistan Air Force, which was unexpected, is often considered to have neutralised India’s advantage in quantity of forces. The accurate artillery fire provided by the PA artillery units is also stated to have played a significant role.

An uprising against General Ayub Khan during 1968 and 1969 resulted in Ayub Khan relinquishing his office as President and Chief of Army Staff in favour of General Yahya Khan, who assumed power in 1969. 16 Division, 18 Division and 23 Division were raised at some point between 1966 and 1969 and 9 Division was re-raised during this period.

1969–1971

Main articles: 1971 Bangladesh atrocitiesOperation Searchlight, and Bangladesh Liberation War

During the rule of General Yahya Khan, the people of East Pakistan protested against various political and economic disparities that had been imposed on them by West Pakistan and massive civil unrest broke out in East Pakistan. During operations against these rebels, called Operation Searchlight, a faction of the Pakistan Army under General Yahya Khan was responsible for the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. Beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971 and due to the Bangladesh Liberation War, there were numeroushuman rights abuses in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, with support from local political and religious militias, especially against HindusTime reported a high ranking U.S. official as saying “It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland.

The original plan envisioned taking control of the major cities on 26 March 1971, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. The prolonged Bengali resistance was not anticipated by Pakistani planners. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid May.

On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender.Over 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the Indian forces, making it the largest surrender since World War II.

In 1997 R. J. Rummel published a book, available on the web, called “Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900″, In Chapter 8 called “Statistics Of Pakistan’s Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources” he looks at the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Rummel wrote:

In East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)  also planned to murder its Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. They also planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. And they planned to destroy its economic base to insure that it would be subordinate to West Pakistan for at least a generation to come. This plan may be perceived as genocide.

According to Maj. (Retd.) Agha Humayun Amin, Pakistan Army high command commanders had not seriously considered an Indian invasion of East Pakistan until December 1971 because it was presumed that the Indian military would not risk Chinese or U.S. intervention. Maj Mazhar states that the PA’s senior command failed to realize that the Chinese would be unable to intervene during the winter months of November to December 1971 period due to snowbound Himalayan passes and the U.S. had not made any real effort to persuade India against attacking East Pakistan.

1971–1977

A Pakistan International Airlines flight was sent to fetch Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from New York, who at that time was presenting Pakistan’s case before the United Nations Security Council on the East Pakistan Crises. Bhutto returned home on 18 December 1971. On 20 December, he was taken to the President House in Rawalpindi where he took over two positions from Yahya Khan, one as President and the other as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Thus he was the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator of the Pakistan.

1977–1999

Two AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters of the Pakistan Army Aviation Wing at AVN Base, Multan. These were sold to Pakistan by the U.S. during the Soviet-Afghan war to help defend Pakistan against a possible attack by the Soviets.

In 1977 a coup was staged by General Zia ul-Haq and the government was overthrown. This led to the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after he was tried and proclaimed guilty of conspiracy of murdering a politician named Kasuri by Zia’s handpicked judges. Zia ul-Haq reneged on his promise of holding elections within 90 days and ruled as a military dictator until his death in an air crash in 1988. General Mohammad Iqbal Khan served as a joint chief from 1980 to 1984 and was the Chief Martial Law Officer during that time.

In the mid-1970s the Pakistan Army was involved in fighting an uprising in Balochistan. Various Balochi factions, some with the oblique support of the USSR, wanted independence or at least greater provincial rights. The rebellion was put down on the behest of the Bhutto government but the Army suffered heavy casualties. After Bhutto was deposed, the province returned to normalcy under General Rahimuddin.

In the 1980s, Pakistani armed forces co-operated with the United States to provide arms, ammunition and intelligence assistance to Afghan mujahideen who were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. supplied modern military equipment to Pakistan.

During the 1st Gulf War Pakistan Army contributed troops for the defence of Saudi Arabia against possible Iraqi retaliation. Although Pakistan Army saw few actions their still it’s performance was remarkable. The 153 Lt AirDefence (GM/SP) Regiment deployed in Tabuk scored multiple hits on number of Iraqi Scuds and provided round the clock Air Defence protection to Saudi Troops in the Area.

1999–present

Army Welfare Trust, Rawalpindi

In October 1999, after the Kargil War ended with the unconditional withdrawal of the Pakistani forces from the Indian controlled peaks, the Pakistan Army overthrew a democratically elected government for the fourth time, resulting in additional sanctions being applied against Pakistan, leading to General Pervez Musharraf coming to power in a bloodless coup. However, this time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sacked Musharraf when he was on his way to Pakistan from Colombo. He dismissed the Army Chief and appointed General Ziauddin Butt as Army Chief when Musarraf’s plane was in the air. That was not enough, the plane was not allowed to land at the Karachi Airport and barricades were erected on the runway. The corps commanders acted swiftly across Pakistan, particularly in Karachi and Islamabad. Brigadiar Muzaffar Usmani took control of Karachi Airport and arrested the Inspector General of Sind Police, Rana Maqbool Ahmed. Musharraf stepped down as President in August 2008. On 30 July 2009, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that Musharraf’s imposition of Emergency Rule in 2007 was unconstitutional.

After the September 11 attacks in the United States, Pakistan joined the US-led War on Terror and helped the United States armed forces by severing ties with the Taliban and immediately deploying 72,000 troops along Pakistan’s western border to capture or kill Taliban and al-Qaida militants fleeing from Afghanistan. On the north western front, Pakistan initially garrisoned its troops in military bases and forts in the tribal areas. In May 2004 clashes erupted between the Pakistani troops and al-Qaeda’s and other militants joined by local rebels and pro-Taliban forces. However, the offensive was poorly coordinated and the Pakistan Army suffered heavy casualties, while public support for the attack quickly evaporated. After a two year conflict from 2004 until 2006, the Pakistani military negotiated a ceasefire with the tribesmen from the region in which they pledged to hunt down al-Qaeda members, stop the Talibanization of the region and stop attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, the militants did not hold up their end of the bargain and began to regroup and rebuild their strength from the previous two years of conflict.

The militants took over the Lal Masjid in Islamabad. After a six month standoff fighting erupted again in July 2007 when the Pakistani military decided to use force to end the Lal Masjid threat. Once the operation ended, the newly formed Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of all militants based in FATA, vowed revenge and launched a wave of attacks and suicide bombings which erupted all over North-West Pakistan and major Pakistani cities, including Karachi, throughout 2007.

The militants then expanded their base of operations and moved into the neighbouring Swat Valley, where they imposed Sharia law. The Pakistan Army launched an offensive to re-take the Swat Valley in 2007, but was unable to clear it of the militants who had fled into the mountains and waited for them to leave before taking over the valley again. The militants then launched another wave of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. The Pakistani government and military tried another peace deal with the militants in Swat Valley in 2008. This was roundly criticised in the West as abdicating to the militants. After initially pledging to lay down their arms if Sharia Law was implemented, the Pakistani Taliban subsequently used the Swat Valley as a springboard to launch further attacks into neighbouring regions, reaching to within 60 kilometres (37 mi) of Islamabad.

Public opinion then turned decisively against the Pakistani Taliban. This opinion was highlighted following the release of a video showing the flogging of a girl by the Pakistani Taliban in Swat Valley. Similar events and terrorist attacks finally forced the Pakistan Army to launch a decisive attack against the Taliban occupying Swat Valley in April 2009, after having received orders from the political leadership. After heavy fighting the Swat Valley was largely pacified by July 2009, although isolated pockets of Taliban remained in the area.

The next phase of Pakistan Army’s offensive was the formidable Waziristan region. A US drone attack killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, in August. A power struggle engulfed the Pakistani Taliban during September, but by October a new leader had emerged, Hakimullah Mehsud. Under his leadership, the Pakistani Taliban launched another wave of terrorist attacks throughout Pakistan, killing hundreds of people. After a few weeks of air strikes, artillery and mortar attacks, 30,000 troops moved on South Waziristan, in a three pronged attack. The Pakistan Army re-took South Waziristan and is currently thinking of expanding the campaign to North Waziristan.

On April 2012 an avalanche struck the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion headquarters in Ghyari sector of Siachen, entrapping 135 soldiers.