Pakistan’s most powerful political party wears a uniform, commands more than 500,000 loyal, disciplined followers and has at its disposal arms and equipment of every description including nuclear weapons.
welcome to the Pakistan Army! Born as a result of the partition of India in 1947, the Pakistan Army has moved far from the constitutionally defined roles of the British and Indian armies to carve out a strategic space for itself.
Politicians intrude into the army’s sphere at their peril.
Structure and Organisation of the Army
Pakistan Army hierarchy, as in India, the chief of army staff sits at the top of the hierarchy. He is appointed by the prime minister from a list of senior Lieutenant General (LG) while other officers oversee logistics, communications, arms & training etcetera.
The army is divided into 9 corps each headed by a lieutenant general commanding about one lakh men. Key corps are those at Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.
There is a force commander in northern areas for occupied Kashmir.
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headed by LG Naveed Mukhtar. The purpose of the ISI was to gather intelligence of a military nature, which impinged on Pakistan’s security. But since 1957 it got involved in political games.
ISI manipulated and funded political parties besides supporting politicians who in turn backed them. Nawaz Sharif was one of them, Imran Khan another. ISI was deeply involved in the Afghan Jihad. It has also funded politicians and terrorists in Kashmir.
ISI is reportedly behind the attacks on journalists in the run-up to elections. It also has a role in mainstreaming Jihad groups by ensuring they contest the polls.
ISI was the major force behind three phases of army rule lasting 31 years.
Generals who ruled Pakistan are Field Marshal Ayub Khan ruled from 1958 to 1969, General Yahya Khan from 1969 to 1971 and General Zia Ul Haq from 1978 to 1988, and last but not least General Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2007.
This is an army that has never won a war against India, which it sees as its enemy. It blames the break up of Pakistan in 1971 on India when the fact is India intervened to stop the genocide of East Bengalis by the Pakistan Army. Over the years ISI has sponsored a range of armed groups against India such as the Lashkar e-Taiba, and the Haqqani network in Afghanistan. It sees terrorism as a handy tool in support of its strategic goals of dismembering India and converting Afghanistan into a pliant ally.