General Ayub Khan arriving to take command of the Pakistan Army in 1951
The Pakistan Army was created on the 30th of June of the year 1947 from the division of the British Indian Army. The then soon to be created Dominion of Pakistan received six armoured, eight artillery and eight infantry regiments compared to the twelve 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 the Muslim majority state of Kashmir to oppose the Maharaja of Kashmir 1947. In response to this, the Maharaja acceded to India. The Indian Armed Forces were then deployed to Kashmir. This led to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Regular Army units joined the invasion later on but were stopped after the refusal of the Chief of Army Staff, British officer General Sir Frank Messervy, to obey Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali 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, theBaghdad Pact, which led to the formation of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization(SEATO) in 1954. This aid greatly expanded the Pakistan Army from its modest beginnings.
Main article: Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Pakistan Army took over from politicians for the first time when General Ayub Khan came to power through a bloodless coup in 1958. He formed Convention Muslim League which included Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who would later become Pakistan's first democratically elected Prime Minister. Tensions with India flared in the 1960s and a brief border skirmish was fought near the Rann of Kutch area during April 1965. The War began after the failure of Operation Gibraltar on 5 August 1965. On the night of 6 September 1965, the Indian Armyopened the war front to the Province of Punjab of Pakistan, The Indian Army almost reached the Pakistani city of Lahore. The battle (Lahore Front) ended with a Pakistani tactical victory. Indian forces lost 360 square kilometres (139 square miles)-500 of Pakistani territory on the outskirts of Lahore.Indian forces halted their assault on Lahore once they had reached captured the village of Burki.[page needed] The rationale for this was that a ceasefire was to be signed soon, and had India captured Lahore it would likely have been returned in ceasefire negotiations.[page needed] The War eventually ended with a United Nations(UN) backed ceasefire and was followed by the Tashkent Declaration. 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 Pakistani side, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan's army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, schooled in the belief of their own martial prowess, refused to accept the possibility of their country's military defeat by "Hindu India" and were, instead, quick to blame their failure to attain their military aims on what they considered to be the ineptitude of Ayub Khan and his government.
At the time of ceasefire declaration, India reported casualties of about 3,000 killed. On the other hand, more than 4,000 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the battle. Indian sources claim that about 471 Pakistani tanks were either destroyed or captured by India. India lost a total of 128 tanks during the conflict.
However, most neutral assessments agree that India had the upper hand over Pakistan when ceasefire was declared. At the end of the war the Indian army was in possession of 758.9 miles² (1,920 km²) of Pakistani territory and the Pakistan army held 210 mile² (550 km²) of Indian territory. The territory occupied by India was mainly in the fertile Sialkot, Lahore and Kashmir sectors, while Pakistani land gains were primarily south in deserts opposite to Sindh and in Chumb sector near Kashmir in north.An uprising against General Ayub Khan during 1968 and 1969 resulted in Ayub Khan relinquishing his office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army in favour of General Yahya Khan, who assumed power in 1969. The 16th Division, 18th Division and the 23rd Division were raised at some point between 1966 and 1969 and the 9th Division was also re-raised during this period.
Main articles: 1971 Bangladesh atrocities, Operation Searchlight and Bangladesh Liberation War
During the rule of 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 which was called Operation Searchlight, some factions of the Pakistan Army were 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 numerous human rights abuses in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, with support from local political and religious militias, especially againstHindus. Time reported a high ranking US 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 the mid of May.
Soon heavy fighting broke out between the Pakistan Army and the Indian-backed Bengali rebels. In this period the Pakistan Army killed an estimate ranging from 26, 000 to as many 3 million people. In December 1971, Pakistan attacked India's western air bases, in an attempt to thwart Indian support for the rebels. This officially led to start of the Pakistan India War of 1971 (also called the Bangladesh Liberation War). In the eastern theatre, the Pakistan Army was decimated by the Indian Army and rebels, while in the western front the Pakistan Army was defeated in the battles of Basanter and Longewalla.
On 16 December 1971, Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender. Over 93,000 Pakistani personnel surrendered to the joint Indian and Bengali 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) [the President of Pakistan, General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, and his top generals 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, the Pakistan Army 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 intervention by China or the United States (US), who were generally close Pakistani allies. Maj Mazhar states that the Pakistan Army's senior command failed to realize that the Chinese would be unable to intervene during the winter months of November to December, due to snowbound Himalayan passes, and the US had not made any real effort to persuade India against attacking East Pakistan.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 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 (UNSC) on the East Pakistan crisis. 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 Pakistan.
Two AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters of the Pakistan Army Aviation Wing at AVN Base, Multan. These were sold to Pakistan by the US during the Soviet-Afghan war to help defend Pakistan against a possible attack by the Soviets.
In 1977, a coup, Operation Fair Play, was staged by General Zia ul-Haq and the government was overthrown. This led to the hanging of Bhutto after he was tried and proclaimed guilty of conspiracy of murdering a political opponent by Zia's handpicked judges. Zia retracted 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 mid-1970s, the Pakistan Army was involved in fighting an uprising in the Province of Balochistan. Various Baloch factions 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 1980s, the Pakistan Armed Forces co-operated with the United States to provide arms, ammunition and intelligence assistance to Afghan rebels who were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
During 1st Gulf War, the Pakistan Army contributed troops for the defence of Saudi Arabia against a possible attack by Iraq. The 153 SP Air Defence 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.
A Pakistan Army soldier keeping watch at Baine Baba Ziarat in Swat
Pakistani forces after victory in Operation Black Thunderstorm.
In October 1999, after the Kargil Conflict ended with the unconditional withdrawal of the Pakistani forces from the Indian controlled peaks, the Pakistan Army overthrew a democratically elected government once more, 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 him as Chief of Army Staff and appointed General Ziauddin Butt to that position instead, when Musharraf's plane was in the air. That was not enough, the plane was not allowed to land at the airport in Karachi 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 the airport in Karachi and arrested the then Inspector General ofSindh Police, Rana Maqbool Ahmed. Musharraf stepped down as President in August 2008. On 30 July 2009, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule 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-Qaeda 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 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.
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 then newly formed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group of militants based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA), a semi-autonomous region of Pakistan, 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 criticized 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 Taliban terrorists. This opinion was highlighted following the release of a video showing the flogging of a girl by the Pakistani Taliban in the 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 orders received 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 the Pakistan Army's offensive was the formidable Waziristan region. A US inmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) bomb strike in FATA killed the leader of the Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, in August. A power struggle engulfed the Taliban during September, but by October a new leader had emerged, Hakimullah Mehsud. Under his leadership, the 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 into South Waziristan. The Army eventually re-took all of South Waziristan.
In April 2012 an avalanche struck the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion headquarters in Ghyari sector of Siachen, entrapping 135 soldiers.