Since Independence, the Pakistan Army has been selflessly at the beck and call of the nation in every moment of trial and ordeal. It always responded to any calamity, natural or man-made, to help not only the fellow Pakistanis in distress but the humanity worldwide. Whether it was the October 2005 massive earthquake that caused havoc and devastation in Kashmir and Northern Areas of Pakistan, the 2004 Tsunami in the Far East, the floods in Turkey or cyclone in Bangladesh, the Pakistan Army responded with all its strength and missionary zeal to aid the mankind.

Ever Since its inception, the Army has been on job, first during the 1947 Partition when the barbaric Sikh and Hindu hordes set upon the refugee caravans of thousands of Muslims migrating to Pakistan. The mass exodus of Muslims of the subcontinent from India was ravaged and attacked by the fanatics thus necessitating the Pakistan Army being pressed into the service of protecting the refugee caravans. Immediately after the Independence, the Pakistan Army, devoid of weapons and arms, faced the Indian onslaught and fought bravely against them in Kashmir.

In September 1965, the Indian forces sneaked into the international border and attacked Pakistan. The entire nation stood like a rock behind the army and fought back India. The enthusiasm and spirit of the people and their Armed Forces in the 1965 War proved to be Pakistan’s finest hour. Pakistan’s valiant sons stood united as one solid edifice to defend their motherland.Pakistan Army has come a long way from its modest beginning. The story of the evolution of the Armed Forces is the story of the birth of Pakistan itself against heavy odds.  Post partition the military assets of British India were unjustly divided between Pakistan and India. Unfortunately, the Indian spitefulness resulted in Pakistan receiving only a fraction of its original share and that too in a dilapidated state.

The road to development, self reliance and indigenization has enabled Pakistan to develop its own missiles, tanks, armored personnel carriers, submarines, ships and aircraft. Pakistan’s missile program is indigenous and has a wide array of weapon systems in its missile arsenal, which range from the short-range Hatf to the medium-range Abdali, Ghaznavi and Shaheen and the long-range Ghauri and Shaheen-II; Pakistan has successfully tested its indigenous Cruise Missile Babur, which can be launched from ground, air and sea platforms including submarines.

In May 1998, India carried out its second nuclear tests at Pokhran after the first in 1974, and became highly belligerent. Its saber-rattling forced Pakistan to come out of the nuclear closet and conduct tests of its own, declaring to the world that it possessed nuclear weapons for its defence and deterrence of war-mongers but it harbours no aggressive designs against any one.

Pakistan’s defence capability both in production and acquisition has come of an age. The Pakistan Ordnance Factory, which was established in 1951, at Wah, near Rawalpindi, to produce small arms, ammunition, and explosives was modernized and expanded to meet the challenges of modern armed forces. Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, an arms rebuilding factory, is a name to be reckoned with. Heavy Industries Taxila provides facilities for overhaul, rebuild and progressive manufacture of Main Battle Tanks, Armored Recovery Vehicles, Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), guns and production of MBT-2000 Al-Khalid, and Al-Zarrar Tanks. In addition it has the capability to rebuild, upgrade and modernize Armored Vehicles of both Eastern and Western origin.

Since 1984 Pakistan Army is maintaining a military presence at Siachen. In the last 29 years, over one thousand Pakistani soldiers have laid down their lives at Siachen while defending the motherland.

As an aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Pakistan reluctantly joined the US-led war on terror. The prolonged occupation of Pakistan’s western neighbor and the role played by its armed forces brought the wrath of al-Qaeda and Taliban upon Pakistan. They not only brought terrorism on the doorsteps of Pakistanis but exposed its armed forces and security agencies to heinous attacks by suicide bombers. To-date over 50,000 Pakistanis have become a casualty, either embraced Shahadat or got severely injured as a result of the terror attacks, 19,000 of them belong to the Security Forces.

The terror mongers occupied the valley of Swat and were threatening to attack Islamabad. Pakistan Army launched Operations Rah-e-Rast and Rah-e-Nijat and cleared Swat and South Waziristan from the terrorists. Once again, it was the Pakistan Army that not only fought the miscreants of al-Qaeda and Taliban but also came to the aid of the displaced persons, forced to flee their homes.

Pakistan Army won laurels in the service of the nation. After the successful operation in Swat the exodus of the displaced persons (IDPs) of Swat and Malakand was a mass movement of humans but it goes to the credit of the army as well as the government that their ordeal did not last long.

Since 1960, the Pakistan Army has been actively participating in the UN multinational efforts to maintain peace and order around the globe. Its contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions has been as wide-ranging as the varied cultural, geographic, political and security conditions in which it had to operate. Congo, West Iran, Somalia, New Guinea, Cambodia, East Timor, Slovenia, Haiti, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Kuwait and Yemen are to name just a few. The humble contribution it has made in this regard bespeaks its desire to see the principles of human dignity, freedom and self-determination applied to all the peoples who are struggling to secure their inalienable basic rights.

From providing infrastructure for sports facilities to facilitating and organizing participants and sponsors, the contribution of the Army in the field of sports and towards bringing glory to Pakistan in national and international events is unparalleled.

The Army has played a major role in improving the socio-economic conditions of the tribal belt as well as Balochistan, and has uplifted them through a sustained focus on its human resource development, education, health, and communication infrastructure and poverty reduction.

The Karakoram Highway is a clear example of a daring feat of construction in one of the most treacherous terrains of the world. Restructuring of the Sukkur Barrage was a challenging task, which the engineers of Pakistan Army successfully accomplished.

Pakistan Army has never demurred from lending a helping hand whenever asked to do so. It has performed multifarious tasks in the aid of civil power, whenever the occasion arose, whether it was duties during census or elections, anti-dacoit actions, tracking ghost schools or wapda recoveries, medical aid or evacuation of flood, fire or train accident victims, and so on. Its Cantonments provide sanctity and security along with job opportunities and basic amenities like education, medical and sports facilities to local civilians residing in the vicinity.

Army affiliated organizations like SCO, FWO and NLC play a major role in providing logistics and laying the communication infrastructure in the most demanding of terrains.

During the last sixty-six years, Pakistan army has evolved into a highly motivated, modern and professional force defending the ideological and geographical frontiers of Pakistan. Equipped with state-of-the-art weapon systems, organized under sound structures and supported by battle-tested doctrines, it stands alert to serve Pakistan, both in peace, and war,  to deter and combat any enemy, within and without, never being reluctant even to make the supreme sacrifice of their lives.

During the last six and a half decades of Pakistan’s existence, the defenders of Pakistan have withstood multifarious challenges and tests of time. Backed by the people of Pakistan, its Army always rose to the occasion, be it guarding the frontiers in war, protecting the lives of people in various calamities, rendering services for nation building, purging the society of the menace of extremism and terrorism or service to humanity in various UN missions. The Pakistan Army makes the nation proud of its service with honor, dignity, dedication and commitment.n