Defense: From a Handful to World’s 7th Atomic Nation


Creation of Pakistan was not usual. The leaders who made it happen were not usual either. The sacrifices given for the cause were unusual too. But the most unusual thing was the way adverse circumstances were embraced and dealt with. And these unfavourable circumstances were seized as an opportunity to shine out and prove it to the world what Pakistan was capable of.

The story of Pakistan’s security and defense growth is of utter wonder. From a meager number of resources it grew into world’s top ten armies and became the first Muslim nuclear state. Pakistan has also extended its military services to other countries and has been an active member of United Nation’s peace keeping missions.

The Pakistan Army came into existence as a result of uniting the Muslim troops of the pre-independence British Indian Army. On 30 June 1947, the procedure for the division of the armed forces was agreed upon by the Partition Council, chaired by the Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten and consisting of the top leaders of the Muslim League and the Indian Congress. According to the original agreement, armed forces and other assets were suppose to be divided in the ratio of 64% for India and 36% for Pakistan, but Pakistan was later forced to accept one-third share of assets. According to the statistics compiled by Pakistan army, of the total 46 training establishments, only 9 were located in Pakistan. Moreover all of the 17 ordnance factories were located in India, as were most of the Ordnance Depots and Engineer Store Depots. In addition to Pakistan receiving far less stores than originally stipulated, most of the stores received were perishable, unwanted and obsolete.

According to an article, by October 1947, only ten infantry brigades (50% of the required) were guarding 5,000 miles of West and East Pakistan’s frontiers and an armoured brigade with only 13 running Stuart tanks. In addition to this, they had ammunition reserves only for a week. In a Joint Defence Council Meeting, both Mountbatten and Supreme Commander Auchinleck had made it clear to Pakistan that in case of war with India, no other member of the Commonwealth would come to Pakistan’s help.

In spite of limited resources, hindrances and numerous conspiracies Pakistan Army rose to the occasion and protected its country well during every conflict and war against India. This is pretty much evident from Kashmir’s 1947-48 war, Rann of Kutch Conflict, 1965 war, 1971 war and so on. Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani Commander in Chief, appreciating pak-army’s incredibility said, “It would always be a matter of pride and glory for this army when history will recall how heavy a burden was placed on its young shoulders and how creditably it always rose to the occasion”.

The Pakistan Armoured Corps was born with the birth of Pakistan. At the time of partition, there was no Armoured Corps training institution in Pakistan. Under the Independence Act, it was decided that the Indian Army, including the Armoured Corps, will be divided at the ratio of 2:1 between India and Pakistan. But again Pakistan did not receive the deserving share. After various hardships, the Armoured Corps Directorate was established much later when Brigadier Idrees, Commander 3rd Armored Brigade was appointed the Director of Armoured Corps. Since then, the performance of all the lancers and cavalries have been marvelous during all three wars.

At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited four fabric covered austere airplanes and only two regiments of anti-aircrafts. Since PAF had yet to be created, the base of Air Defence in Pakistan was laid by 5 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment. Now PAF has emerged as one of the most well-reputed and successful entities of Pakistan. There are eleven flying air bases and six non-flying air bases all over the country along with different PAF educational and training institutes. PAF has a collection of some very efficient and sophisticated aircrafts like F-7/J-7 Airguard, J-10, JF-17 Xiaolong/Thunder, Mirage III, fantana-5, Q-5 and many more. The arsenal also consists of transport aircrafts, trainer aircrafts, helicopters and special purpose aircrafts like Bregut Atlantique and P-3 Orion.

Royal Pakistan Navy came into being on 14th August 1947. Rear Admiral James Wilfred Jefford was appointed as first Commander in Chief of Royal Pakistan Navy. Its share of the ships at the time of partition comprised of 4 sloops, 4 fleet minesweepers, 8 motor minesweepers and harbor defence launches. During these years navy has stocked up its arsenal with a number of vessels, submarines and frigates from China, Britain, France and USA. Recently Pakistan has signed a deal with China to purchase 8 nuclear submarines.
Pakistan Artillery inherited only eight gun units, one survey battery, an air observation post flight and two formation headquarters. Today, it has been divided into mountain, field, medium, heavy and mortars. This division is based on a combination of factors like mobility, caliber, range, trajectory and size of the shells. Pakistan has an extremely impressive stock of missiles which includes Hatf-1 (60-100 Km), Hatf-2(250 Km), Shaheen I, Shaheen II, Shaheen III, Tipu and Ghaznavi. Shaheen III was tested recently on 9th March 2015 and is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 2750 km, as reported by ISPR. Pakistan on 13 march 2015 successfully tested its first indigenous armed drone named “Burraq”, and its laser guided missile named “Barq”.

When it comes to Army vehicles, Pakistan is fully equipped in this area too. Military trucks in 3 and 6 tons are present under “Yasoob” series. One-fourth ton jeeps named “Millat” and “Nishan” are also being produced with civil collaboration. Refurbishment of the large fleet of M-34/M-35 trucks of US origin is also currently being implemented under the “Shahzore” project. For better performance, the Corps of Signals has completely revolutionized defence communications with the introduction of PASCOMS (Pakistan Army Strategic Communications) inaugurated in April 1995, DEFCOMM (Defence Communication) for inter-services communications, and PATCOM (Pakistan Army Tactical Communications). Under the latter program, all corps have been equipped with hand-held radio sets, VHF vehicles radio sets, low and medium power radio sets, field exchanges and FAX machines.

Another important aspect of Pakistan’s defence and security system is its nuclear might. India, in the past had led a number of offences against Pakistan and became a nuclear state first. It was high time for Pakistan to update and strengthen its defences. Though Pakistan had embarked on the journey of uranium enrichment program in the mid of 1970s but tested its first nuclear weapon on 28th May 1998.

In 1972 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto established Pakistan’s nuclear program. In the beginning the progress was bit slow but after the arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in 1975, remarkable advancement was made. Now, according to the SIPRI 2014 Yearbook, Pakistan possesses between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons. The International Panel on Fissile Materials concluded in 2013 that Pakistan possesses fissile material sufficient for over 200 weapons. Its nuclear arsenal has approximately 3.0 ± 1.2 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU), and produces enough HEU for perhaps 10 to 15 warheads per year. Pakistan currently has a stockpile of 150 ± 50 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, with the ability to produce approximately 12 to 24 kg per year.

Pakistan has made an incredible growth since the initiation of the nuclear weapons program. After the success of CHASNUPP-1 and CHASNUPP-2, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) had agreed to supply two additional 650-MW power reactors to Pakistan, CHASNUPP-3 and CHASNUPP-4. These are under construction and are expected to be completed by 2016 and 2017 respectively. These nuclear plants will also be placed under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (UN’s Vienna based watchdog). In November 2013, Pakistan announced the construction of two additional Chinese-supplied 1,100 MW reactors, KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3, under a 9 billion dollars agreement.

28th May 1998 marks a very important day in the history. The world, already fearing Islam, started to fear an Islamic bomb. And due to this fear they have executed a number of conspiracies to denuclearize Pakistan but have failed in all endeavors. Pakistan stands very alarmed in this regard and will not let any harm come to its atomic interests.

Pakistan, unequivocally has improved, grown and bloomed since its creation. Pakistan’s army comes in the top ten armies of the world. In 2010, the army won Exercise Cambrian Patrol. The efficiency of Pakistan’s defence and security system is quite evident from the fact that the governments of Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Jordan and others have invited Pakistani Military Missions, in the past, to organize and train their armed forces. In the Gulf War of 1991, Pakistani ground forces played their role in Saudi Arabia’s defence and thereafter in prolonged mine lifting operations in Kuwait.


Zahabia is an aspiring journalist pursuing a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi. She tweets @zkmotorwala and can be reached at

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