Command & Structure

570,000 (+500,000 army reserves)

Paramilitary Force
National Guard- 185,000
Frontier Corps – 80,000
Pakistan Rangers – 35,000
Frontier Corps – 5,000
Baluchistan Corps – 2,000
Anti-Narcotics Task Force – 4,500
Airport Security Force – 1,000+
Maritime Security Agency – 2,500
Levies/Khassadar Force (tribal areas) – No solid numbers, might be in several thousands



Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majeed
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani
Deputy  Chief of the Army Staff
Chief of General Staff Pakistan Army Lieutenant General Salahuddin Satti (1 November 2006)


The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) was created in May 1976 by the order of the Prime Minister Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, to ensure integrated defense decision-making and co-ordination between the three services, but constitutionally has no command authority. The Chiefs of Staff Committee is dominated by the COAS in his capacity as President. While the Chairman of the JCSC is a four star general, and has his own headquarters (Joint Staff HQ, in Rawalpindi), there is an anomalous situation in which, although he chairs routine meetings, the most important decisions are made when the President/COAS presides, in which case the JCSC is transformed from an advisory to a command function. The Committee is responsible for advising the government on infrastructural matters, especially in communications and logistics; recommendations regarding force structures of the three services, (and the civil paramilitary forces subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior); review, but not necessarily construction, of joint-service defense plans,  and acting as a sounding board for government intentions concerning internal security matters.

The Pakistan Army is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff. He is assisted by a number of Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) who are all three-star generals:

  • Chief of the General Staff (CGS)
  • Adjutant General (AG)
  • Quartermaster General (QMG)
  • Master General of Ordnance (MGO)
  • Inspector General Training and Education (IG T&E)
  • Military Secretary (MS)

Within the army the most influential deliberative body is the Corps’ Commanders’ Conference chaired by the COAS and also attended by the Vice and Deputy Chiefs and the three-star PSOs.

GHQ Pakistan Army, at present located in Rawalpindi, is expected to move to a new complex on the outskirts of Islamabad in the next 2-3 years.


The composition of fighting formations varies according to roles and tasks, with the aim of maintaining a balanced and flexible divisional grouping capable of accepting reinforcement of, for example, a further independent brigade under command for a particular operation. Ongoing mechanization, following resumption of M-113 (variant) production, has resulted in both armored divisions achieving greater mobility, and the mechanized infantry division having its appropriate allocation of armor and tracked support, given delivery of more SP M-109s from the US. Infantry divisions in the two strike corps have re-equipped almost entirely with APCs, but will be receiving SP artillery in the short term. Brigades are conventionally structured, as far as possible in square formation, and the independent armored brigades in V Corps (HQ Karachi) are to all intents an armored division. Force Command Northern Area, a mountain division in all but name, is lightly equipped and has no armor. Within combat divisions, logistics brigades have been formed to command all support elements.


Of Pakistan’s nine corps HQ, six are sited close to the Indian (Bharat) border. Those in Peshawar (11 Corps) and Quetta (12 Corps) are heavily involved in internal security and counter insurgency operations in North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. X Corps HQ, Rawalpindi, commands formations along the Line of Control.

In Karachi, V Corps (with some elements at present involved in internal security operations in Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces), has the role of countering a thrust by India (Bharat) intended to cut the main Karachi-Lahore road. (This important route is being complemented by the new Indus Highway leading up the centre of the country, an initiative prompted by both economic and strategic considerations.) The corps is also responsible for countering possible landings by Indian marines or Special Forces.

The three infantry-heavy formations, IV, XXX and XXXI Corps are tasked with countering Indian thrusts in their immediate areas.

Both 1 Corps (Mangla) and 2 Corps (Multan) are armor-heavy ‘strike’ corps, which would implement the doctrine of the Riposte.


500,000 (plus reserves of some 500,000)
Infantry division × 19 (some mechanized)
Independent infantry/mechanized infantry brigade × 6
Armored division × 2
Independent armored brigade × 7
Armored reconnaissance regiments × 3
Artillery Division × 1
Brigade × 9
Brigade × 7
Battalion × 3
HQ × 1
Brigade × 8

Pakistan Army Corps

Corps Base Responsibilities/Composition
1 Mangla A ‘strike’ corps, it commands six Armored Division, eight Independent Armored Brigade Group, and two mechanized infantry divisions (17 and 37).
2 Multan Also a ‘strike’ corps, with a mechanized infantry division (40), an infantry division retraining as mechanized (14), an armored division (1) and an independent armored brigade.
4 Lahore The corps’ mission is to defend the area of Punjab province opposite Amritsar in India (Bharat). It comprises two infantry divisions (10 and 11), two independent infantry brigade groups (probably mechanized), and one independent armored brigade group.
5 Karachi The corps defends eastern and southern Sindh province. It has two infantry divisions (16, 18, partly mechanized), and three independent armored brigade groups.
10 Rawalpindi Responsible for local security in the event of an emergency (the task of 111 Independent Infantry Brigade, Rawalpindi), and for northern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. HQ Force Commander Northern Areas (FCNA) is under administrative command of 10 Corps, and op-com from GHQ. FCNA commands four brigades with their HQ in Skardu, Astor, Siachen Glacier and Gilgit; most infantry units are Northern Light Infantry battalions (13). The three infantry divisions (12, 19, & 23) have a total of 12 brigades along the Line of Control (LOC).
11 Peshawar Two infantry divisions (7 and 9) responsible for North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the Afghan border, and for reinforcement of eastern formations as required. Currently involved in large counter-insurgency operations, and heavily reinforced by units and formations from eastern corps.
12 Quetta Two infantry divisions (33 and 41) responsible for western Sindh, the Afghan border, and for reinforcement of eastern formations as required (as took place during the India (Bharat)-Pakistan confrontation in 2002). Also committed to internal security operations against the separatist Baloch National Army.
30 Gujranwala Two infantry divisions (8 and 15), two independent armored brigade groups. Responsibility for defense of the eastern front, south of 4 Corps’ boundaries.
31 Bahawalpur Two infantry divisions (14, 35, mechanization in progress), two independent armored brigades. Provides depth defense and available for exploitation and counter-attack.



Squadron Base Aircraft
VIP Flight Rawalpindi SA-330, King Air 200, Citation V, Gulf Stream 450, Cessna 421, Commander 690, Commander 840, H-500 (special duties)
Aviation School and Centre Rawalpindi (Qasim) Mushshak, Alouette III, Schweizer 300, Bell 206B, other on attachment.
2 Lahore Mushshak, UH-1H
3 Multan Mushshak
4 HQ at Qasim (formerly known as Dhamial), south of Rawalpindi. Detachments at Rahwali, Gilgit, Samungli (Quetta) Mi-17
5 Qasim Alouette III
6 Qasim UH-1H, Mi-17
7 Sharea Faisal  Mushshak
8 Qasim SA 315/316 Lama
9 Peshawar  Mushshak, Alouette III
13 Qasim  Mushshak, Y-12
21 Multan SA-330, UH-1H
24 Multan SA-330
25 Dhamial. Detachment at Gilgit SA-330
31 Multan AH-1S anti-tank
32 Multan AH-1S  anti-tank

ORDER OF BATTLE           

The Pakistan Army does not make its Order of Battle public. The table below is based on a number of sources which does not include Pak Army and any Government of Pakistan sources. In total, including those units listed, there are estimated to be:

2 × armored divisions
19 × mechanized/infantry divisions
7 × independent armored brigades
6 × independent mechanized/infantry brigades
9 × corps artillery brigades
7 × engineer brigades
3 x air-defense groups with a total of eight brigades
3 × armored reconnaissance regiments
1 × special forces group
14 × aviation squadrons

Unit/Formation Location
I Corps (Army Reserve North) Mangla
6 Armored Division Kharian
17 Mechanized Division Kharian
37 Infantry Division (in process of mechanization) Gujranwala
II Corps Multan
1 Armored Division Multan
14 Mechanized Division In process of being formed
40 Infantry Division Okara
IV Corps Lahore
10 Infantry Division. Lahore
11 Infantry Division Lahore
3 Independent Armored Brigade  
212 Independent Infantry Brigade  
V Corps Karachi
16 Infantry Division Hyderabad
18 Infantry Division Hyderabad
Three Independent Armored Brigades  
X Corps Rawalpindi
Force Commander Northern Areas (Equivalent of a Division – possibly five infantry brigades) Gilgit
12 Infantry Division Murree
19 Infantry Division Jhelum
23 Infantry Division Gujrat
111 Independent Infantry Brigade Rawalpindi
8 Independent Armored Brigade Kharian
XI Corps Peshawar
7 Infantry Division Mardan
9 Infantry Division Kohat
XII Corps Quetta
41 Infantry Division Quetta
33 Infantry Division Quetta
XXX Corps Gujranwala
8 Infantry Division Sialkot
15 Infantry Division Sialkot
XXXI Corps Bahawalpur
35 Infantry Division Bahawalpur
14 Infantry Division Panna (Pannu) Aqil
105 Independent Brigade Group  


Unit Base Type Role
1 Squadron Dhamial Jet Ranger II/III Liaison/Training
2 Squadron Lahore UH-1H Iroquois & Mushshak Liaison
3 (Composite) Squadron Multan Mushshak Liaison
4 Squadron Quetta Mi-17 Helicopter Support
Det Rahwali Mi-17 Helicopter Support
5 Squadron Dhamial Alouette III Observation/Liaison
6 Squadron Dhamial UH-1H Iroquois, Mi-17 Helicopter Support
Emergency Relief Cell Dhamial AB 205A-1 Disaster Relief
7 (Composite) Squadron Faisal Mushshak Liaison
8 Squadron Dhamial SA 315B Lama Observation/Liaison
Det Skardu Alouette III Observation/Liaison
9 (Composite) Squadron Peshawar MushshakAlouette III Miscellaneous Duties
13 Squadron Dhamial Cessna 421, Commander 680/840, Y-12 VIP Transport
21 Squadron Multan SA 330J PumaUH-1H Iroquois Helicopter Support
24 Squadron Multan SA 330J Puma Helicopter Support
25 Squadron Dhamial SA 330J Puma Helicopter Support
Det Gilgit SA 330J Puma Helicopter Support
31 Squadron Multan Jet Ranger III, AH-1S Huey Cobra Attack, liaison
32 Squadron Multan Jet Ranger III, AH-1S Huey Cobra Attack, liaison
Aviation School Rahwali Mushshak, Schweizer 300C, Alouette III, Jet Ranger II/III Training

*New variant of helicopters like Bell-412EP, Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec, and Bell-407 have been inducted recently, however, we are not sure which units they have been inducted into. Some of SA-330 Puma helicopters are actually Romanian IAR-330.


The Special Services Group (SSG) is headquartered at Cherat and has a base at Attock. It is also responsible for the Airborne School at Peshawar. It consists of three battalions each of four companies.

Other SSG elements include:

  • Akbar Company (Combat Diver Unit)
  • Musa Company (Counter terrorism) (possibly now called Zarrar Company)
  • Iqbal Company (Communications Unit)


Pakistan’s paramilitary forces – in the main subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior in peacetime (but to GHQ in war) – number some 100,000 and free the army and navy from most of the responsibilities of policing borders and economic zones. Their officers are provided by the regular forces. The army’s already severe shortage of junior officers is exacerbated by this requirement and consideration should be given to creating an officer corps solely for paramilitary elements such as the Pakistan Rangers (who police the border with India [Bharat]) and the Frontier Corps (responsible for the western borders with Afghanistan and Iran). In war, some of the higher-caliber units would provide reinforcement for the army, as formed bodies of troops of company or even battalion size.

The Frontier Corps consists of fourteen units based in the North-West Frontier area and thirteen units based in Baluchistan.

The Pakistan Rangers on the eastern border are approximately 5000 strong and are divided into four border corps:

  • Chenab Rangers, HQ Sialkot.
  • Sutlej Rangers, HQ Lahore
  • Desert Rangers, HQ Bahawalpur
  • Cholistan Rangers, HQ Rahimyar Khan


There is an army reserve of about 500,000 whose members have a triennial attendance obligation to the age of 45. Refresher training is as adequate as might be expected of a three-week period, but reserve service seems popular. The 180,000-strong National Guard would be useful in guarding vulnerable points. It consists of the Mujahid Force of 60,000, organized in battalions, some with light air defense capability; the Janbaz Force of 100,000, whose members are intended to serve close to their homes; and the National Cadet Corps in universities and colleges.


Training is the overall responsibility of the Inspector General, Training and Evaluation (IGT&E) in GHQ. The army relies largely on its efficient regimental system whereby each infantry regiment has its own training centre, as have other arms and services. Initial training of officers (now including females in other than the Medical Corps) is conducted mainly at the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, Abbottabad. Standards are adequate, although emphasis has to be placed on instruction in the English language.

Main Military Schools, Training Centers and Depots

School/Center/Depot Location
Baloch Regiment Center
Frontier Force Regiment Center
HQ School of Mountain Warfare (mobile detachments; element in Skardu); Pakistan Military Academy.
Azad Kashmir Regiment Center
Special Services Group (SSG) (also at Cherat and the Parachute School, Peshawar)
Corps of Military Police Center Dera Ismail Khan
Punjab Regiment Center Mardan
Schools of Army Education, Logistics, Intelligence Murree
Schools and Centers of Armor, Artillery, Service Corps. Nowshera
Parachute School (SSG) Peshawar
Sindh Regiment Center Petaro
Command and Staff College
School of Infantry and Tactics
Aviation Centre & School
Military College of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering
Army Medical College
Military College of Signals.
Military College of Engineering Risalpur





Pakistan official stance that it has no biological weapons, and there is no evidence of their previous or present manufacture. As a signatory to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Pakistan is obliged to agree to UN inspections.


Little evidence is available to indicate possession (or otherwise), of chemical weapons. It ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in October 1997, and the first inspection by a team from the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was conducted at the Wah defense manufacturing complex, 20 km from Islamabad, on 19 February 1999.

Pakistan is not a member of the international accords prohibiting the development, stockpile, transfer, testing or use of nuclear weapons, namely the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), although it did sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963 (ratified in 1988). The country is a member of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (ratified in 1997), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (ratified in 1974).

Compiled by H Khan, with sources of references from ISPR, Jane’s Information, Hilal Magazine, Defense Journal, and ex-Pak army personal.