Pakistan Army is the land-based service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It came into existence after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) it had an active force of approximately 550,000 active personnel and 500,000 reserve personnel as of 2015.
Wars and Major Operations
Since its establishment in 1947, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighboring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan. Since 1947, it has also maintained a strong presence along with its inter-services in the Arab states during the past Arab-Israeli Wars and aided the coalition in the first Gulf War. Recently, major joint-operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Operation Toar-e-Tander (Black Thunderstorm) and Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation).
Chief of Army Staff
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), by statute a four-star general, is appointed by the President with the consultation and confirmation needed from the Prime Minister. The Pakistan Army is currently commanded by General Raheel Sharif.
Chapter 2 of Part XII of the Constitution of Pakistan defines the purpose of the Army along with the other parts of the Armed Forces as:
“The Armed Forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.”
The Pakistan Army operates three commands during peacetime. Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Lieutenant General. Each command is directly affiliated to the Army HQ in Rawalpindi.
Women in the Pakistan Armed Forces
Women in the Pakistan Armed Forces are the female soldiers who serve in the Pakistan Armed Forces. Women have been taking part in Pakistani military since 1947 after the establishment of Pakistan. There are currently around 4,000 women who are serving in the Pakistan Armed Forces.
Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest military award
The Nishan-e-Haider (Sign of the Lion) is the highest military award given by Pakistan, ranking above the Hilal-i-Jur’at (Crescent of Courage). Nishan-e-Haider recipients receive an honorary title as a sign of respect: Shaheed meaning martyr for deceased recipients. As of 19 September 2013, all Nishan-e-Haider awards have thus far been given to the people engaged in battles with India. It has only been awarded to 10 Pakistan Army personnel since 1947. They include Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Major Tufail Mohammad, Major Aziz Bhatti and others.