The armed forces of Pakistan are the eighth-largest in the world. The three main services are the Army, Navy and the Air Force, supported by a number of paramilitary forces which carry out internal security roles and border patrols. TheNational Command Authority is responsible for exercising employment and development control of all strategicnuclear forces and organisations, and for Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine. Pakistani defence forces has had close military relation with China and United States and predominantly imports military equipments from these two countries. The defence forces of China and Pakistan also organises joint military exercises.
The Pakistan Army came into existence after independence in 1947 and is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan Army is the “the heart of power” in Pakistan who “consistently meddled in politics,” as well as “run secretive industrial conglomerates”. It has an active force of 612,000 personnel and 513,000 men in reserve. Conscription may be introduced in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.
Since independence, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighbouring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan. It maintained division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the past Arab–Israeli Wars, and aided the Coalition in the first Gulf War. Other major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat. Apart from conflicts, the Army has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions and played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent.
The Pakistan military first saw combat in the First Kashmir War, gaining control of what is now Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In 1961, the army repelled a major Afghan incursion on Pakistan’s western border.Pakistan and India were at war again in 1965 and in 1971. In 1973, the military quelled a Baloch nationalist uprising.
In the past, Pakistani personnel have volunteered to serve alongside Arab forces in conflicts with Israel. During the Six-Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in October 1973 PAF pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria in a state of war against Israel, Air Force pilots shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War. During the Yom Kippur War 16 PAF pilots volunteered to leave for the Middle East in order to support Egypt and Syria but by the time they arrived Egypt had already agreed on a cease-fire.
During the Soviet–Afghan war, Pakistan shot down several intruding pro-Soviet Afghan aircraft and provided covert support to the Afghan mujahideen through the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
In 1999, Pakistan was involved in the Kargil War. Currently, the military is engaged in an armed conflict with extremist Islamic militants in the north-west of the country. Since 2004, Pakistani armed forces have engaged in fighting against Pakistani Taliban groups. Militant groups have engaged in suicide bombings in Pakistani cities, killing more than 3,000 civilians and armed personnel in 2009 alone.
Internationally the Pakistani armed forces contributed to United Nations peacekeeping efforts, with more than 10,700 personnel deployed in 2009, and are presently the largest contributor. Pakistan provided a military contingent to the UN-backed coalition in the first Gulf War. Pakistani troops were rushed to Makkah on the Saudi Government’s request and Pakistani SSG commandos led the operation of the Grand Mosque Seizure.