At its creation in 1947, Pakistan looked back on two traditions while seeking to reject a third. One was the more than 100 years of British colonial rule that radically reshaped the superstructure of the subcontinent and was the door to modernity. The other inheritance, the Muslim conquest and dominance from the thirteenth century to the nineteenth century, provided the Islamic factor that led to the partition of India and shaped modern-day Pakistan. The Muslim conquest also offered a useful mythology of exaggerated Islamic military prowess and dominance. The tradition that the new nation rejected and sought to leave behind was that of largely Hindu India. Indeed, differentiation from that heritage was the raison d'être of Pakistan, yet it remains important, for much of Pakistan's cultural heritage is shared with India. India also remains the primary preoccupation of Pakistan's foreign policy and security concerns. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

The country's British heritage has played the greatest role in shaping the often amorphous military tradition of the Muslim period into streamlined modern forces. Beginning in the earliest days of the East India Company (chartered in 1600), native guards were hired by the British to protect trading posts. As time went by, these troops were given additional training and were organized under British officers into the armies of the company's presidencies at Calcutta (Fort William), Madras (Fort St. George), and Bombay. In 1748 the presidency armies were brought under the command of Major Stringer Lawrence, who subsequently became known as the father of the British Indian Army. A series of military reforms, first undertaken by Robert Clive in the mideighteenth century, continued through the first half of the nineteenth century as the British Parliament asserted increasing control over the East India Company and its military arm. Part of the legacy that shaped the British Indian Army was the growing understanding that civil and military spheres of activity were distinct and that each must respect the other but that ultimate control rested with the civilian power, whether in later times the governor general or the local district magistrate. The role of the military was to give "aid-to-the-civil power."

The critical event in the evolution of the British Indian Army was the uprising of 1857-58 — known as the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy Rebellion by British historians and sometimes as the First War of Independence by later Indian nationalists — when troops in north-central India, Muslim and Hindu alike, rose up against the British. Some bonds of loyalty held, but many Indian troops slaughtered both their British leaders and hapless civilians. With the help of Indian troops who did not join the rebellion — especially Sikhs and Muslims from the Punjab — the mutineers were put down with a violence that matched the atrocities that they had committed.*

The bond between Indian and Briton had been broken, and a rethinking of British military policy in India was set in motion. East India Company rule was abolished, and direct British rule — the British Raj — was instituted in 1858. Emphasis was put on recruiting in areas where disaffection was least and where the British discerned the existence of "martial races" (ethnic groups) noted for their military tradition, lack of political sophistication, and demonstrated loyalty. By these criteria, the most fertile area for recruitment was in the Punjab region of northwestern India. The Punjabization of the British Indian Army and the assumptions that underlay it would weigh heavily on both the international and the domestic politics of Pakistan once it was created as an independent entity.*

Structure of the Pakistan Army: Like the British Indian Army

The Pakistan Army structure of the early 1990s in many ways bore a close resemblance to the British Indian Army structure at the end of the nineteenth century. During that period, recruitment into individual, homogeneous regiments depended on class and caste, rather than on territory. Over time, these regiments became sources of immense pride to the men who served in them and to the ethnic group from which they were frequently recruited. Service in a specific regiment passed from father to son; the eventual shift from British to Pakistani rule went with hardly a ripple in the structure except for the change in nationality of the senior officer corps. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

The British experimented with various forms of recruitment and of elevation to officer rank. During the period between the two world wars (1919-39), the British trained Indian officers to command at least Indian troops, and training establishments were set up to produce an indigenous officer corps. A small number of officer candidates were sent to Britain to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst; after 1932 the majority of candidates were trained at the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun.*

A rank that predated that of the native officer was the viceroy's commissioned officer — an Indian who had risen from the ranks and performed officer functions (except for commanding officer), especially at the company level. The viceroy's commissioned officer came from the same social background as did the troops in his unit and performed a dual function: for the troops, he was a role model and figure of respect to whom they could turn for advice; he was also an invaluable intermediary between the troops and the British officer who commanded them.*

British Indian Army Between World War I and World War II

The British Indian Army came under immense stress during both world wars, when it was rapidly expanded and deployed abroad to wherever the British Empire appeared threatened. During World War I, nearly 750,000 Indian troops were recruited for service; some 36,000 were killed, and twice as many were wounded. The troops generally acquitted themselves well, and their contribution was used as an arguing point by Indian nationalist politicians who sought greater autonomy for their country. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

The army encountered a different kind of stress during the interwar period and beyond, when it was called on to suppress the growing wave of nationalist resistance. This use of Indian personnel alienated the nationalist leaders, especially those of the Indian National Congress, who would become the leaders of India in 1947. The problem was much less serious in what was to become Pakistan. Indeed, during the "Quit India" movement during World War II, when the British sought to crush Congress with special vigor because of its resistance to the war, the All-India Muslim League and the army supported the British cause (see Partition).*

During World War II, the British Indian Army (together with the small Royal Indian Navy and Royal Indian Air Force) grew to meet imperial requirements, expanding from essentially a constabulary force of 175,000 to a mass army of more than 2 million. This growth meant appointing many Indians as officers, who received only short training courses, and general recruitment in areas of the country where "martial" spirit had not been discerned before. Once again, Indian troops performed loyally and effectively, even while the country was in political turmoil.*

Military During the Formation of Pakistan

The Indian military had no role in the relinquishment of control by the British and the division of India into two parts — India and Pakistan. Under their British commanders, the Indian military had resisted the nationalist tide, and then, when London changed its course, Indian military personnel obediently shifted their allegiance to new masters. After partition and independence, the relationship between the military and the new nationalist government in India was at first problematic. India's first prime minister, Jawalharlal Nehru, deliberately limited the expansion and modernization of his country's armed forces, fearing that an excessive emphasis on the military would lead to the militarization of society and undermine the nation's fledgling democratic institutions. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

The Pakistani military, however, immediately became a central part of the national consciousness. Unlike their Indian counterparts, Pakistani soldiers did not bear the stigma of being antinational. The main base of army recruitment, Punjab, was at the heart of Pakistan, and the army was immediately called upon to defend the interests of the nation against a perceived security threat from "Hindu India."

The Pakistani army was fortunate in its political position, but less so in regard to the experience and technical expertise required to field an effective military force. Muslims had been significantly underrepresented in the Indian officer corps, and when partition occurred, there was a severe shortage of personnel. To lead the planned army of 150,000 men, 4,000 officers were needed, but there were only 2,500, and many of those, especially in the technical services, were underqualified. Only one major general, two brigadiers, and six colonels were available, and in the middle officer ranks the situation was equally bad. The first two commanders in chief of the army were British. The first Pakistani commander in chief — General Mohammad Ayub Khan — did not become commander in chief of the army until 1951. In the small Pakistani navy and air force, the situation was even worse: there were only nine regular officers in the navy and sixty-five pilots in the air force. Both forces had to be commanded by British officers: the navy until 1953 and the air force until 1957. Overall, some 500 British officers were retained on contract to ease the transition of the armed forces until Pakistanis could be qualified and promoted. In the interim, training underqualified officers for rapid promotion was a matter of top priority.*

The lack of equipment presented further problems. Most of the depots and virtually all of the military production facilities were located in areas that became India, which was less than forthcoming in handing over the share of military matériel that was due Pakistan under the partition agreement. Pakistan received little or nothing in the way of ships and only two of the ten squadrons of the former Royal Indian Air Force. Pakistani military historian Fazl Muqeem Khan records: "It is no exaggeration to say that for its first few months the infant state of Pakistan was without an organized army."

Units with a majority of Muslims (as well as individual Muslims in other units who opted for Pakistan) that were located in India had to find their way to Pakistan. These men formed into new units based on common traditions and class affiliation; the remaining service gaps were gradually filled by recruitment. Intercommunal violence at partition took a huge toll of lives, and the role played by the army in protecting the citizens of the new Pakistan created an important initial bond between army and people.*

The crucial challenge to the new Pakistani military was the outbreak of hostilities with India over the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir immediately after partition. Unlike most of the rulers of the other princely states of India, the Hindu ruler of Kashmir (as it is usually called) hesitated in declaring the allegiance of his largely Muslim realm to one or the other of the new nations. Bands of Muslim tribesmen from Pakistan — together with "volunteers" from the Pakistani army — entered the state in early October 1947 to force the issue and, after joining up with insurgents within Kashmir, were soon threatening to overwhelm the Kashmiri forces. As the price for protection, the ruler acceded to India, and elements of the Indian army arrived on October 27. They soon routed the Pakistani irregulars and moved westward to consolidate control over all of the state. Pakistan committed regular military formations to combat in May 1948 to ensure its borders and stabilize the situation. Fighting continued until January 1, 1949, when a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire took effect. The cease-fire did not, however, settle the underlying conflict. The dispute flared up several times again, most notably in 1965, and remained unresolved as of early 1994. The Indian and Pakistani armies remained deployed along much the same line as they had in 1949. The Pakistani army, however, performed credibly in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48 and won immense admiration and support among Pakistanis, on which it drew heavily as Pakistan began to pay the price of developing a military capability to offset that of India.*

Survival of the Pakistani Military in a Harsh Environment

Pakistan is located in a critical and historically contentious part of the world. At the time of independence, it was the world's fifth largest nation. Yet three of its close neighbors (China, India, and the Soviet Union) were larger, more populous, and not necessarily well-intentioned. Pakistan was divided into two wings, East Pakistan (renamed Bangladesh when it became independent in 1971) and West Pakistan. It would soon become apparent that the country, divided by 1,600 kilometers of a hostile India, was also divided by competing ethnic groups with only Islam serving as a tenuous link. Furthermore, West Pakistan was geographically a fairly narrow country, lacking in strategic depth — its main cities and communications arteries lay close to the border with India and thus were vulnerable to attack. Additionally, the headwaters of Pakistan's rivers and vital irrigation systems were largely controlled by India. East Pakistan, except for its Bay of Bengal coast, was also virtually surrounded by India. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

There were other security complications. Pakistan's borders with India were new and hence were totally unfortified and, in most places, were drawn in ways that made them almost indefensible. Because the borders were also undemarcated, there was ample opportunity for conflict. Although the military gave border control over to paramilitary forces, the armed forces remained ready for deployment in case of emergency.*

Almost all of Pakistan's ethnic groups extended into neighboring countries. This situation caused particular problems with the Afghans, who did not recognize the border as valid and hoped that their new neighbor would be unable to assert its interests.*

Security concerns were not limited to the outside world. Despite the euphoria of nationhood, Pakistan was increasingly subject to the same kinds of internal stresses that had characterized British India — fractious tribesmen, dacoits (armed gangs of thieves), and restive cities — and required the army to render aid-to-the-civil power. Even the need to repress nationalist movements recurred as regional groups within Pakistan sought greater autonomy from central control.*

Although Pakistan perceived in India a threat to its security, initially it was not able to defend itself against that perceived threat because of limited personnel and matériel. Pakistan therefore had to develop a comprehensive military strategy that would offset at least some of its weaknesses. High hopes were placed on support from other Muslim nations, some of which could help financially and others of which would provide through alliances some of the geostrategic territorial depth that Pakistan lacked. But the emergence of the first state created on the basis of Islam was of relatively little interest to the nations of the Arab world. Britain helped significantly in supplying officers and equipment, but it was itself in an economic crisis and would not alienate India.*

The year 1951 marked an important turning point. During a period of political tension, India moved troops toward the frontier in a manner Pakistan interpreted as threatening. The year 1951 also saw the appointment of the first Pakistani commander in chief of the army, Mohammad Ayub Khan, who concentrated on reshaping the Pakistani military. Ayub Khan put special emphasis on training and operational planning, two critical areas in which Pakistan did not depend completely on foreign resources. These tasks, plus reorganization, occupied the attention of the army well into the 1950s. Critical shortages of equipment, however, remained, requiring that Pakistan look abroad for its provisioning.*

Pakistan’s Early Alliance with the United States

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, it was natural for Pakistan to covet the wealth and surplus military equipment of the United States. United States-Pakistan relations were cordial, and throughout the late 1940s, Pakistan sought to nurture those close relations and gain access to United States military support; initially, these attempts were rebuffed. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

As the new decade opened, however, a series of events put new hope into the possibility of United States-Pakistan cooperation. First was the reassessment of Pakistan's military position undertaken by Ayub Khan. The second event was the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), which drew United States attention toward Asia and marked the point of no return of the globalization of United States security policy. The third factor was the advent of the Eisenhower-Dulles team, which set to work building a ring of containment around the Sino-Soviet bloc. India, committed itself to nonalignment, had come into sharp disagreement with the United States in the United Nations when it refused to censure China as an aggressor in the Korean War and thus was viewed by the United States as a voice for communist appeasement. India's refusal to join the United States-sponsored 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan — a pact among nations designed among other purposes to recruit Japan as an ally against communist inroads in Asia — further divided the two countries. India was not available as an ally; Pakistan was the inevitable alternative.*

Pakistan and the United States drew closer together, highlevel visits were exchanged, and the groundwork was laid for a security relationship that seemed to meet Pakistan's political needs and equipment deficit. At United States prompting, Pakistan and Turkey concluded a security treaty in 1954 — the TurkoPakistan Pact — which immediately enabled United States military assistance to Pakistan under the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement signed the same year. Pakistan also became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1954 and joined the Baghdad Pact, later renamed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1959. Pakistan had little interest in SEATO and discerned no danger to its interests from China, joining mainly to oblige Washington. Even CENTO, which offered the advantage of a new approach to the Muslim world, was problematic because it drove a wedge between Pakistan and the Arab countries that remained outside it and was seen by Pakistanis as institutionally weak because the United States was never willing to become a full member. None of these arrangements addressed Pakistan's main concern, however — India.*

At Pakistan's insistence, an additional agreement (the Agreement of Cooperation) on security was concluded with the United States in March 1959, by which the United States committed itself to the "preservation of the independence and integrity of Pakistan" and agreed to take "appropriate action, including the use of armed forces, as may be mutually agreed upon . . . in order to assist the Government of Pakistan at its request." The Agreement of Cooperation also said nothing about India and was cast in the context of the Eisenhower Doctrine, which dealt with communist threats to the Middle East. Pakistan saw the agreement as representing a high level of United States commitment, however, and some United States officials apparently encouraged an interpretation that saw more in the agreement than was actually there. There was considerable self-deception on both sides — Pakistan believed that it had secured an ally in its rivalry with India, and the United States focused on Pakistan as an adherent to the anticommunist cause.*

Tangible gains to Pakistan from the relationship were substantial. Between 1954 and 1965, the United States provided Pakistan with US$630 million in direct-grant assistance and more than US$670 million in concessional sales and defense-support assistance. Pakistan received equipment for one additional armored division, four infantry divisions, and one armored brigade and received support elements for two corps. The Pakistan Air Force received six squadrons of modern jet aircraft. The Pakistan Navy received twelve ships. The ports of Karachi (in West Pakistan) and Chittagong (in East Pakistan) were modernized. The program did not, however, provide for the wholesale modernization of the military, much less its expansion. Forces in Kashmir and East Pakistan were excluded, and there was a continuing tug-of-war between the United States and Pakistan as Pakistan sought to extend the scope of the program and wring more benefits out of it.*

The impact on the military of this new relationship was intense. Pakistanis embraced the latest concepts in military organization and thinking with enthusiasm and adopted United States training and operational doctrine. The army and the air force were transformed into fairly modern, well-equipped fighting forces. In the course of the rearmament program, the military was substantially reorganized along United States lines, and hundreds of Pakistani officers were trained by United States officers, either in Pakistan or in schools in the United States. Although many British traditions remained, much of the tone of the army, especially the officer corps, was Americanized.*

Pakistan's hopes for an equitable settlement of its disputes with India, especially over Kashmir, were probably small in any event, but by bringing the United States directly into the South Asian security equation, rapprochement with India became virtually impossible. More important, India responded to Pakistan's new alignment by turning to the Soviet Union for military and political support — and the Soviet leader at the time, Nikita S. Khrushchev, was only too happy to oblige. As a result, Pakistan not only incurred Soviet hostility but also ultimately triggered a Soviet military supply program in India that more than offset the United States assistance to Pakistan. Soviet displeasure was further heightened by Pakistan's decision to grant facilities at Peshawar for the United States to conduct U-2 aerial reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union.*

Military Takes Control of Pakistan

The developing relationship with the United States was only one of the dramatic experiences that the military underwent in the late 1950s. The political system had been performing very poorly, especially since the assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951. There was increasing public disillusionment with the system and little respect for political leaders, who were seen as incompetent and corrupt. In fact, decision-making power had been moving inexorably away from the leaders of the political parties and into the hands of the two national institutions that were seen as competent and honest — the bureaucracy and the army. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

On October 7, 1958, President Iskander Mirza annulled the 1956 constitution by proclamation, dissolved the national and provincial assemblies, and banned political parties. Asserting that if Pakistan were to be saved, the army would have to assume political control. Mirza then declared martial law and appointed General Ayub Khan chief martial law administrator. Twenty days later, Ayub moved against Mirza, sending him into exile, and assumed the office of president himself. Thus began the second role of the military — self-appointed guardian of domestic affairs of state as well as defender against external enemies. The results were mixed, both for Pakistan and for its soldiers. The military continued to enjoy preferred access to resources in Pakistan, and an elaborate system of quasi-governmental bodies provided economic opportunities for military personnel, especially after retirement. The country as a whole welcomed army rule, which brought a period of stability and rapid economic growth and vigorously attacked the corruption that beset the country. The army ruled with a firm but light hand, retaining ultimate control but working largely through the bureaucracy.*

Economic gains, however, were so badly distributed that they seemed hollow for many Pakistanis. The involvement of military personnel in governing detracted from their primary mission. Although the military remained popular, it became associated with the political divisions of the country and was no longer solely the symbol of national unity. Opposition began to develop, especially among intellectuals and politicians.*

Ayub Khan lifted martial law in 1962, replacing it with an authoritarian constitution under which he was elected president. While the new system had some constructive features, it failed to gain public support, and even though the army was no longer governing the country, Ayub Khan and his system were seen as unpopular manifestations of military rule.*

Collapse of Pakistan's Security System in the 1960s

Pakistan's tie to the United States was a product of the post-World War II communist containment strategy and the fear of Soviet expansionism. By the end of the 1950s, a number of factors had changed — some to Pakistan's advantage, but others not. The positive factor was the emergence of China as an independent international actor at odds with both the Soviet Union and India, thereby creating new policy options for Pakistan. Less favorable was a decline in international tensions that reduced the United States preoccupation with containment and, hence, Pakistan's value. At the same time, the Eisenhower administration was seeking to reclaim some of the ground it had lost with India, and this trend was strengthened as tensions grew between New Delhi and Beijing, Washington's principal bête-noire of the time. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Pakistan was able to profit from Sino-Indian hostility by securing China as an additional source of support, but ties to Beijing were anathema to Washington and caused serious problems in United States-Pakistan relations during the 1960s. Rapprochement between New Delhi and Washington also caused deep concern. Pakistan was appalled when, at the time of the SinoIndian War in 1962, the United States rushed to rearm India without meeting Pakistan's demands that assistance be coupled with effective pressure to force India to settle the Kashmir dispute. The United States reassured Pakistan that India was not arming against Pakistan, but Pakistan realized that the external equalizer it had brought into the subcontinent to make up its security deficit would now be devalued as the United States, at best, played an even-handed role or, at worst, shifted its principal attention to India.*

The security situation deteriorated still further as India, which had hitherto spent relatively little on defense, engaged in a major buildup of forces that were primarily aimed at China but could as readily be turned against Pakistan. In addition, after 1964 India took a series of steps to incorporate Kashmir more closely into the Indian union, rendering less likely any negotiations on the matter with Pakistan. Under the circumstances, Pakistan decided that its chances of gaining Kashmir would only deteriorate; hence, it opted for early action.*

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

In mid-1965 Pakistan sent guerrilla forces into the Indian part of Kashmir in the hope of stirring up a rebellion that would either oust the Indians or at least force the issue back onto the international agenda. Pakistani forces did not find as much support among the Kashmiri population as they had hoped, but fighting spread by August, and a process of escalation culminated in a full-scale Indian offensive toward Lahore on September 6. Fighting, frequently very bitter, continued until a UN-sponsored cease-fire took hold on September 23. Both sides had tacitly agreed not to let the war spread to the East Wing of Pakistan. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

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.*

Pakistan was rudely shocked by the reaction of the United States to the war. Judging the matter to be largely Pakistan s fault, the United States not only refused to come to Pakistan s aid under the terms of the Agreement of Cooperation, but issued a statement declaring its neutrality while also cutting off military supplies. The Pakistanis were embittered at what they considered a friend's betrayal, and the experience taught them to avoid relying on any single source of support. For its part, the United States was disillusioned by a war in which both sides used United States-supplied equipment. The war brought other repercussions for the security relationship as well. The United States withdrew its military assistance advisory group in July 1967. In response to these events, Pakistan declined to renew the lease on the Peshawar military facility, which ended in 1969. Eventually, United States-Pakistan relations grew measurably weaker as the United States became more deeply involved in Vietnam and as its broader interest in the security of South Asia waned.*

Iran, Indonesia, and especially China gave political support to Pakistan during the war, thus suggesting new directions in Pakistan that might translate into support for its security concerns. Most striking was the attitude of the Soviet Union. Its post-Khrushchev leadership, rather than rallying reflexively to India's side, adopted a neutral position and ultimately provided the good offices at Tashkent, which led to the January 1966 Tashkent Declaration that restored the status quo ante.*

Impact of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

The aftermath of the 1965 war saw a dramatic shift in Pakistan's security environment. Instead of a single alignment with the United States against China and the Soviet Union, Pakistan found itself cut off from United States military support, on increasingly warm terms with China, and treated equitably by the Soviet Union. Unchanged was the enmity with which India and Pakistan regarded each other over Kashmir. The result was the elaboration of a new security approach, called by Ayub Khan the "triangular tightrope" — a tricky endeavor to maintain good ties with the United States while cultivating China and the Soviet Union. Support from other developing nations was also welcome. None of the new relationships carried the weight of previous ties with the United States, but, taken together, they at least provided Pakistan with a political counterbalance to India. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Pakistan needed other sources of military supply, most urgently because of its wartime losses and the United States embargo. After 1965 China became Pakistan's principal military supplier, providing matériel to all three services in substantial quantity and at attractive prices. Submarines and Mirage aircraft were also purchased from France. The Soviet Union sought to woo Pakistan with military equipment, but that program never really developed because of Moscow's concern not to jeopardize its more important relationship with India. The United States gradually relaxed its embargo; however, it was only in 1973 that substantial supplies again flowed to Pakistan.*

The late 1960s were politically turbulent times for Pakistan; by 1969 conditions had deteriorated to the point where the army once again felt called on to intervene. On March 25, an ailing and discredited Ayub Khan transferred power to army commander in chief General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan, who declared himself president as well as chief martial law administrator (CMLA) and announced that Pakistan would have national general elections — for the first time since independence — and a new constitution. The elections in December 1970 were fair but led to the breakup of Pakistan. In the process, the army and Pakistan's security situation deteriorated still further.*

1971 War That Created Bangladesh

The largely Punjabi army was in a politically untenable position in East Pakistan, which had voted overwhelmingly for an autonomist party. Once it became clear that a compromise between the civilian leaders of West Pakistan and East Pakistan was unattainable, Yahya Khan was forced to choose between the two sides, and his actions were seen by the Bengalis of the East Wing as favoring the interests of West Pakistan, which were hardly distinguishable from those of the armed forces. Yahya Khan decided to postpone indefinitely the convening of the new National Assembly, which would have been dominated by Bengalis. It was feared that a government dominated by East Pakistani interests would cut back sharply on military prerogatives and roll back the dominance of Punjab in national affairs. Within days, unrest spread throughout East Pakistan. Bengalis went on strike and stopped paying taxes. Bengali autonomists became separatists. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Army elements in East Pakistan were strengthened in the spring of 1971 and were used to suppress Bengali recalcitrance. The task was undertaken with ferocity; killing, rape, looting, and brutality were widespread and resulted in the flight of nearly 10 million refugees to India over six months. International outrage was growing and forced the Richard M. Nixon administration in the United States to halt its attempts to reopen military supply lines to Pakistan.*

The army was generally successful during the spring and summer of 1971 in restoring order in East Pakistan, but increasing Indian support of the antigovernment Bengali guerrillas known as the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Force) began to shift the balance. When Indian troops finally intervened directly in December, there was no hope of stopping them. Even though the garrison in East Pakistan had been reinforced, national strategy was still based on the assumption that Pakistan could not simultaneously defend both wings of the country against an Indian attack; hence, an attack in the east would be countered in the west. On December 3, Pakistani forces began hostilities in the west with attacks on Indian airfields. They had little success, and within twenty-four hours India had seized air superiority, launched attacks against West Pakistan, and blockaded the coast. Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered to the Indian army on December 16, and India offered a cease-fire. In the face of superior force on all fronts, Pakistan had little choice but to accept the breakup of the country.*

Impact of the 1971 War That Created Bangladesh

The armed forces were shattered and their equipment destroyed; 9,000 troops were lost, and 90,000 prisoners of war were in the hands of Indians and Bengalis in Bangladesh (the former East Pakistan). Yahya Khan resigned in disgrace, and the winner of the elections in West Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, succeeded him as CMLA and president. Pakistan, a country originally created in the name of religion, lost its raison d'être as the homeland of Muslims in the subcontinent and was much reduced in size. Although the politicians were ultimately responsible for the events of 1971, the army and its leaders were the obvious villains. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

The security situation of the nation also changed. Any illusions of parity vis-à-vis India were demolished. Although both China and the United States had tilted toward Pakistan politically, it was abundantly clear that neither of those superpowers was in a position to offset Indian primacy in the region, especially in view of the friendship treaty that India had signed with the Soviet Union in August 1971, just before the outbreak of hostilities. The Soviet Union, forced to choose sides, opted for India, and the rapprochement that had taken place between Pakistan and the Soviet Union evaporated. Pakistan stood largely alone and at the mercy of India. The 1972 bilateral Simla Agreement restored most of the status quo ante the 1971 war in the relations between the two nations. The agreement states that "the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them." Although India maintained the more narrow interpretation that disputes be settled bilaterally, Pakistan in subsequent years favored a looser interpretation — one that did not exclude a multilateral settlement of the Kashmir dispute.*

Yet the loss of East Pakistan also had positive implications for Pakistan's security. The loss of the East Pakistani population as a recruitment pool was only of minor significance. By shedding its most dissident and poorest province, Pakistan emerged stronger and was able to focus its energies more effectively. A major strategic problem — the geographic division of the country — was eliminated. The loss of East Pakistan also removed the need for a Pakistani role in Southeast Asia. Pakistan withdrew from SEATO, and Bhutto refocused national attention toward Muslim West Asia. He apparently tried to develop ways of putting the Kashmir issue to rest so that Pakistan could greatly reduce its preoccupation with South Asia. No longer closely tied to the United States, Bhutto sought a larger role for Pakistan among the nonaligned countries and, especially, within the Islamic world. A brilliant diplomat, he was able in a very few years to restore Pakistan's prestige, stake out a leading role for Pakistan among Muslim nations, court the superpowers, and even establish cordial relations with Bangladesh.*

These triumphs were not shared with the military, as Bhutto moved to create a "professional but docile" military. Senior officers were dismissed, and their replacements were chosen by Bhutto. The military establishment was reorganized so that it would be under more effective civilian control. Bhutto's 1973 constitution narrowly defined the role of the military as defending Pakistan against external aggression and "subject to law" acting in aid-to-the-civil power when called on so to do. Any attempt to abrogate the constitution was deemed high treason (see Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and a New Constitutional System).*

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the Pakistani Military

In 1972, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto established the Federal Security Force of some 18,000 men to provide assistance to the civil administration and police and to do civic action work. Not under military control, the Federal Security Force was, in effect, Bhutto's private political army. The military, beaten and demoralized, had no choice but to accept this further setback, even as it harbored deep concerns over the impact Bhutto was having on the integrity of the army and its ability to defend Pakistan. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Bhutto purged the military ranks of about 1,400 officers. He also created a paramilitary force called the Federal Security Force (which functioned almost as his personal bodyguard), a watchdog on the armed forces, and an internal security force. A white paper on defense issued in 1976 firmly subordinated the armed forces to civilian control and gave Bhutto, then also prime minister, the decisive voice in all matters relating to national security. In that role, Bhutto took credit for bringing home more than 90,000 prisoners of war without allowing any of them to come to trial in Bangladesh for war crimes. In 1976 Bhutto replaced Tikka Khan, whose term had expired, with General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq as chief of staff of the army. Like Ayub Khan, Zia was appointed over several more senior generals. Also like Ayub Khan, Zia came from a community not heavily represented in the armed forces (the Arains from Punjab) and was thought to be without political ambition. *

In 1973 Bhutto began to focus on rebuilding the tamed military because Pakistan continued to face serious security threats from abroad, highlighted by the Indian nuclear test in 1974, and at home — a major insurgency from 1973 to 1977 in Balochistan, which ultimately required the involvement of 80,000 army troops. New military production facilities and a navy air wing were established. Bhutto's diplomacy resulted in a partial lifting of the United States embargo on military sales to Pakistan in 1973 and a complete removal of the embargo in 1977. He also used diplomacy to tap into the burgeoning oil revenues of the Middle East; still, Pakistan could not afford to buy much, and its inventories of weapons were increasingly made up of outdated and ill-matched equipment from a variety of sources. Nonetheless, the army's self-confidence again began to grow. Expenditures on defense by 1974 had reattained the 1969 level — even though the gross national product (GNP) was little more than half of the amount that had been produced before Bangladesh became independent. The defense budget continued to increase over the next several years, supporting a somewhat expanded strength — 428,000 personnel in 1976. Pakistan's nuclear program was also established by Bhutto.)

Bhutto's domestic position, however, eroded rapidly in the mid-1970s, and, as his charisma waned, he turned to the army to deal with domestic unrest. The rigged elections of March 1977 resulted in mass demonstrations demanding Bhutto's resignation. General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, chief of the army staff — a new title for service chiefs replacing the former title of commander in chief — saw that the army was unwilling to engage in the violence that would be necessary to put down the unrest. In a stunning move, Zia arrested Bhutto and other political leaders on July 5, 1977, and declared Pakistan's third period of martial law.*

Military Reasserts Itself Under General Zia

Although General Zia asserted that this military intervention in politics would be brief and there would be new elections within ninety days, he had the longest tenure of any Pakistani ruler. Although he came to power more as a spokesman of military interests — a first among equals — and was thought to be a political naif, he was highly skilled in gathering power into his own hands. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

On assuming power, Zia named himself chief martial law administrator and suspended parts of the 1973 constitution. (Zia assumed the presidency as well in September 1978.) Because it appeared that Bhutto, if freed and available as a candidate, might easily win the elections, Zia postponed them and undertook a campaign to discredit his predecessor politically. Zia's initial assumption of power was peaceful, and even his subsequent decision to allow Bhutto to be hanged after Bhutto's conviction as an accomplice to murder a political opponent, did not bring disturbances severe enough to threaten his regime. There was, however, continued opposition to military rule, and Zia was able to maintain himself in power only through a combination of political luck, skill, and authoritarianism.*

Although the military regime was often repressive, state violence was downplayed, and some observers believe that human rights conditions were better than during the Bhutto years. Zia also emphasized the corruption in political life and the need for reform. Ethnic resistance in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) was dealt with adroitly; only the ethnic Sindhis remained profoundly alienated (see Zia ul-Haq Under History). Zia also proved politically skillful in employing a strategy of continually holding out the promise of free elections when circumstances permitted, making political concessions that would strengthen rather than undermine his position and, especially after 1979, co-opting influential political groups among orthodox Muslims.)

The first years of Zia's tenure marked another low point in the security situation. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 overthrew one of Pakistan's staunchest friends, and the missionary zeal of its new Islamist regime did not bode well for Pakistan-Iran relations. The Saur Revolution (April Revolution) in Afghanistan in 1978 ousted a government that had become conciliatory in its relations with Pakistan, replacing it with a group that also preached radical change — this time, communist. When the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, Pakistan found itself in a security nightmare — for the first time, the Soviet Union posed a potentially immediate threat.*

Relations with the United States were also at a low point. The administration of President Jimmy Carter had adopted an extremely hard line on Pakistan's nuclear program and suspended all military and economic assistance in April 1979. In March 1979, after the Iranian Revolution, Pakistan withdrew from a moribund CENTO. Tensions with the United States peaked when a Pakistani mob burned the United States embassy in Islamabad in November 1979, killing two Americans and two Pakistani employees, in response to a BBC radio broadcast of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's speech, in which he falsely accused the United States of invading the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Although China remained a good friend, political scientist Robert G. Wirsing's assessment proved accurate: "Never before had Pakistan been quite so isolated and quite so threatened at the same time."

Zia and Islam in the Pakistani Military

Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who was rhe leader of Pakistan from 1977 to 1988, promoted conservative officers to generals, assigned Muslim cleric to combat units, introduced Islamic teaching to the military academy, expanded the powers of the intelligence services and forged close ties with conservative Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, which gave Pakistan money to build large mosques and Islamic schools. Zia was not overly religious himself. He used conservative Islam as a way of unifying the country, restoring some dignity lost in the debacle with Bangladesh in 1971 and giving a religious mandate to the military and his role as its leader. He stop short of introducing Islam to political and economic policy and was a secularist in those matters.

Mohsin Hamid wrote in Smithsonian, under Zia “hard-eyed men with beards became commonplace in our cities as a more intolerant and narrow brand of Islam took hold among civil authorities, my fellow teenagers and I would be arrested just for going out on dates. radio and television began broadcasting news in Arabic, a language spoken by few Pakistanis. And my father, the a professor of economics at Punjab University, came home with stories about colleagues resigning after being held up at gunpoint for expressing views that were “un-Islamic.”

Islamist groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Siahaba were heavily supported by Zia who used them to harass civilian politicians and continued to have strong ties with the Pakistan intelligence services particularly through retired agents and army officers who worked in Afghanistan and at home.

According to “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices”: General Zia “facilitated the Islamization of the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), an organization that controlled Pakistan's foreign policy and supported Islamic insurgency in the Indian state of Kashmir, with the goal of incorporating Kashmir, with its Muslim majority, into Pakistan. Overall, Zia ul-Haq's Islamization policies not only had wide social impact in Pakistan but also attracted considerable foreign funding and led to the establishment of a militant Islamic infrastructure that was still in operation at the start of the twenty-first century. [Source:“Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices,” Thomson Gale, 2006]

Pakistani Military, Islamist Politics and Muslim Extremism

Because Islamic parties in Pakistan have traditionally done so poorly in elections they have looked to the military to gain power. For its part, the military has found the parties useful as way of influencing and harassing opponents.

Many people in the Pakistani military have been sympathetic to Taliban. In 1995 a general named Zaheer Abbasi plotted a coup and hoped to make Pakistan an Islamic republic with himself as the supreme leader. He was arrested and thrown in jail. Afterwards officers were “thoroughly screened” for signs of excessive zealotry. The length of a man’s beard is sometimes used as a barometer of a man’s degree of Islamic zeal.

Under Musharraf, most of the top offices were pro-Western but many rank and file soldiers sympathized with Muslim extremists and harbored anti-American sentiments. One Pakistani intelligence office told the Los Angeles Times. “Most jihadis are natural allies of the army. They are pursuing he same, objectives.”

In the old days many officers received training in Britain and the United States but that changed when sanctions were placed on Pakistan in the 1990s for its nuclear weapons program. These days many have received some education in the same madrassah that produced the Taliban. For a long time have a beard and praying five times a day was means of gaining promotion. In the Musharraf era in the 2000s overly religious fervor was discouraged, with those who overtly showed it steered into dead end positions.

Officers have been arrested for having ties with Al-Qaida. An army major was court marshaled for providing shelter for top Al-Qaida member Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Other officers were arrested for failing to say anything about the scheme even though they knew about it. Al-Qaida is believed to have penetrated the Pakistani military. This is especially worrisome when you consider Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

History of the Role of Islam in the Pakistani Military

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto introduced certain Islamic practices, notably prohibition of alcoholic beverages, into the army, and Zia encouraged still more, including the assignment of mullahs ( as chaplains, some of whom reportedly go into combat with the troops. Modest mosques have been built in military training areas, Islamic texts are being introduced into training courses, mid-grade officers must take courses and examinations on Islam, and there are serious attempts under way to define an Islamic military doctrine, as distinct from the "Western" doctrines that the Pakistanis have been following. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

In the early 1990s, Islamic military doctrine had not replaced more traditional military doctrines, and it probably never will. Military affairs specialist Stephen P. Cohen has, however, highlighted several interesting points that have emerged. For instance, Islam has traditionally been identified with the concept of jihad, a righteous religious "striving" against unbelievers, and Islamic governments have been assiduous in describing whatever wars they fight — even against other Muslims — as jihad. Recent thinking, however, has emphasized that jihad is not a perpetual invitation to wage war against nonbelievers and, indeed, that it need not necessarily entail violence. More specifically, Pakistani writers have rejected as un-Islamic the idea of total war that emerged in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They emphasize the Quranic injunctions to conciliation and persuasion and see force only as a last resort.*

Further, these Pakistani theorists see the function of force less as a capability for combat than as something that strikes terror into the hearts of enemies and thus can actually prevent war. There is an obvious parallel here to the idea that the most terrifying of all weapons, nuclear ordnance, can act as a deterrent to war. Many Western military writers have portrayed the era of United States-Soviet mutual deterrence in these terms, and some have even applied this view as a rationale for Pakistani and Indian nuclear capabilities. Pakistani writers find this approach a convenient justification for their nuclear programs, and, indeed, most of the "Islamic" thinking on war still looks more like retroactive rationalizations for strategies already adopted rather than guideposts to new departures. Furthermore, Pakistanis are well aware that air combat tactics or at-sea replenishment techniques are not determined by religion, and the armed forces will continue to look for secular guidance.*

At the personnel level, the generation of cosmopolitan officers who were trained in British and United States traditions and consider religion a purely personal matter is passing from the scene. The new generation of officers is less exposed to foreign influences and is, increasingly, a product of a society that has been much more influenced by "orthodox" Islam, in which the primacy of Islam is continually emphasized and accepted.*

Relatively few Pakistanis have turned to Islamic fundamentalism, and because of the demands of their profession, Pakistani officers and soldiers seem likely to keep at least one foot in the modernist camp. Senior generals are reportedly concerned about religion looming too large in military affairs, but unless there are major changes in society and politics, the armed forces may increasingly see itself as an Islamic as well as a nationalist force.*

Pakistan Becomes a Frontline State After the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made Pakistan a country of paramount geostrategic importance. In a matter of days, the United States declared Pakistan a "frontline state" against Soviet aggression and offered to reopen aid and military assistance deliveries. For the remainder of Zia's tenure, the United States generally ignored Pakistan's developing nuclear program. Other donors also rallied to Pakistan as it stood firm against Soviet blustering, hospitably received over 3 million Afghan refugees who poured across the borders, provided a conduit for weapons and other support, and gave a safe haven to the Afghan mujahidin. Pakistan's top national security agency, the army's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, monitored the activities of and provided advice and support to the mujahidin, and commandos from the army's Special Services Group helped guide the operations inside Afghanistan. In the Muslim world, Pakistan increasingly assumed a leading role. As a long-term goal, Zia envisioned the emergence of an Islamic government in Kabul that would provide Pakistan with geostrategic depth, facilitate access to Muslim West Asia, and forswear a revision of the Pakistan-Afghanistan boundary. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Pakistan paid a price for its activities. The refugee burden, even if offset in part by foreign assistance, created dangerous pressures within Pakistani society. Afghan and Soviet forces conducted raids against mujahidin bases inside Pakistan, and a campaign of terror bombings and sabotage in Pakistan's cities, guided by Afghan intelligence agents, caused hundreds of casualties. In 1987 some 90 percent of the 777 terrorist incidents recorded worldwide took place in Pakistan. The actual danger to Pakistan, however, was probably never very great. There is no concrete evidence to support the revitalized "Great Game" argument that the Soviet invasion was a modern manifestation of Russia's historic drive to garner access to a warm water port and that it was but a first step on a road through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. Nor was it likely that the Soviet Union would have conducted major military operations against Pakistan as long as Islamabad did not flaunt its support to the mujahidin.*

The Soviet invasion enabled Pakistan's army to present itself as the defender of the nation in times of trouble, making criticism of military rule almost unpatriotic. Zia used the situation to strengthen his grip on internal affairs by appealing to national unity and pointing to Pakistan's growing international stature. In addition, the substantial amounts of aid money coming from various sources boosted the economy and, in the short run at least, more than offset the costs of the refugees and rearming the military. Overall, the economy grew rapidly in the Zia years, in large part because of remittances from many Pakistanis who worked abroad.*

Zia's ability to obtain high levels of support and modern weaponry strengthened his position within the military establishment and enabled Pakistan once again to build up a credible military capability. Under the United States assistance program, Pakistan bought F-16 aircraft, upgraded M-48 tanks, Harpoon naval missiles, helicopters, and artillery, and received second-hand frigates on loan. In the four years after the invasion, Pakistan's armed forces grew by nearly 12 percent, from 428,000 to 478,000 persons. A substantial amount of the costs of modernization and expansion were covered by United States aid and financial contributions from Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf countries.*

General Zia During the Soviet Occupation of Pakistan

Zia was extremely skillful in protecting his base in the military. To ensure control, he was concurrently chief of the army staff, chief martial law administrator, and president, and he carefully juggled senior military appointments. The satisfaction of the military was also enhanced by arrangements under which Pakistani service personnel were seconded to the armed forces of Persian Gulf countries, where emoluments were much more generous than in Pakistan. Retiring officers received generous benefits, sometimes including land allocations, and often found lucrative positions in government service or in parastatal economic enterprises. The assignment of serving officers to approximately 10 percent of the senior posts in the civilian administration also provided opportunities for economic gain, sometimes in ways that were ultimately harmful to the army's image of itself. For example, some military personnel reportedly participated in the rapidly growing narcotics business. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Zia had learned well the lesson of 1965 and was careful not to allow the nation to return to the status of a client state of the United States. Even as Pakistan faced the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, it kept that threat in perspective. Immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, Zia declined the Carter administration's assistance package offer of US$400 million as "peanuts." It was not until 1981 that Pakistan concluded an assistance agreement with the United States, which provided for US$3.2 billion over six years, divided equally between economic and military aid. This agreement was extended in 1986 to provide an additional US$4.0 billion over the next six years. Zia was careful to avoid the trappings of a formal alliance, preferring continued involvement in the Nonaligned Movement — which Pakistan joined in 1979 — and with the Islamic nations of the Middle East through his leading role in the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Credit for the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan lay mainly with the mujahidin and their Pakistani mentors, but would hardly have come about had Mikhail S. Gorbachev not decided to cut back drastically on Soviet foreign entanglements. After tedious negotiations, an agreement was reached in April 1988, providing for the withdrawal of Soviet troops by February 15, 1989.*

Pakistani Military After General Zia

The Zia era ended as it had begun, with a Bhutto in power, for Benazir's party emerged with a narrow victory. Her position was much different from that of her father. She became prime minister under a constitution that left great power in the hands of the president, her parliamentary majority was narrow, and the army was strong, self-confident, and unwilling to renounce its political role. As the price of power, Benazir had to negotiate an arrangement with President Ishaq Khan and General Beg by which she reportedly promised to keep Zia's constitutional changes and to limit her involvement in military affairs, including management of the fighting in Afghanistan and nuclear weapons policy. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Several times Benazir ineffectually challenged the armed forces and the president on military matters. She was never able to find a comfortable relationship with these other two major players of the triangle of political power in Pakistan. She showed interest in improving relations with India but had little scope to take concrete steps. She skillfully cultivated her good ties to Washington, but overall her performance as prime minister was disappointing, and when the president — with the obvious backing of the army — dismissed her in August 1990 and called for new elections, there was little opposition.*

The elections brought to power the Islamic Democratic Alliance (Islami Jamhoori Ittehad — IJI), a coalition that enjoyed the implicit support of both the president and the armed forces. Punjab's chief minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, a businessman and protégé of Zia, became prime minister. Although the dismissal of Benazir had been against the spirit, if not the letter, of the constitution, the new power arrangement seemed to offer Pakistan favorable prospects for stable representative rule because the three power centers were all in apparent alignment, and Nawaz Sharif represented the interests of the Punjabi majority. The arrangement worked adequately for some time, and when General Beg's time for retirement as chief of the army staff came, he did not attempt to force an extension of his tour of duty.*

Beg's replacement, General Asif Nawaz Janjua, was a much lower-profile leader and sought to lead the army away from corruption and toward a renewed emphasis on professionalism and a sensible adaptation to the post-Cold War realities of Pakistan's strategic position. The army, however, was drawn into politics in May 1992 when the law and order situation in Sindh deteriorated so badly that the provincial government invited the army to restore public order under Article 147 of the constitution. Although the army could not solve Sindh's many problems, it made significant progress in combatting the cycle of terror, banditry, and kidnapping that had plagued the province. The army stopped short of imposing martial law, but it intervened in the politics of the province and, in the process, moved against political allies of Nawaz Sharif, the IJI coalition prime minister, who was already at odds with the president.*

General Janjua died suddenly in January 1993, and President Ishaq Khan used his prerogative to reach well down the list of lieutenant generals to appoint Abdul Waheed, a highly regarded officer without apparent political aspirations. Waheed seemed to fit Pakistani political scientist Mohammad Waseem's description as "the transition from a group of conservative generals led by Zia who were inspired by Islamic ideals to a relatively liberal and modernist generation of military officers who have positive attitudes toward Western-style democracy."

Waheed was quickly called upon to demonstrate his commitment to democratic process. When a power struggle between the president and the prime minister in April 1993 resulted in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ouster, the military resisted the temptation to take charge during the ensuing period of political turmoil. In July, Waheed brokered a settlement in which both the prime minister and the president resigned, a neutral caretaker government was appointed, and new elections were scheduled for October.*

There remained different points of view within the officer corps, almost all of whom had little respect for politicians and feared that an incompetent civilian leader might irreparably damage their core values — the integrity of the military and the security of Pakistan. Some officers were politically ambitious and had found their period of power under Zia rewarding — financially and otherwise. Many, however, believed that any political activity, whether in the context of martial law or in the context of helping elected leaders deal with crises caused by politicians' ineptitude, undermined discipline and morale and detracted from the ability of the armed forces to perform military missions. Retired General Shaukat Riza, describing an earlier period of martial law observed: "After a short period of hot, righteous action, military men succumb to setting their mark on whatever is served up to them. Martial Law is disarmed, leaving in its wake a debris of shattered dreams and wasting social order."

On balance, the army preferred to avoid direct involvement unless the political order threatened to collapse completely. The crucial question for Pakistan's political future was in the shaping of the middle ground. Should the armed forces simply be recognized as having a voice in Pakistan's politics, or should their role be formally institutionalized? Zia's attempts to do the latter through creation of a National Security Council had been successfully resisted by Junejo, but the question remained central to Pakistan's security as well as to its politics.*

Relations with the U.S. Deteriorate in the 1990s

The external relations of the military deteriorated sharply in the post-Zia period because of the collapse of Pakistan's relationship with the United States. President George Bush determined in October 1990 that he could no longer certify that Pakistan did not possess nuclear weapons and, as required by the Pressler Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, terminated all United States assistance to Pakistan that was not already in the pipeline. Pakistan handled the cutoff with little public rancor and committed itself to freezing the nuclear program in an attempt to placate the United States. Washington permitted such commercial purchases as spare parts for aircraft and the continued joint naval and special forces exercises, but such key items as fighter aircraft on order were kept in abeyance. Further, the United States moved to reclaim nine ships that were on loan — about half of Pakistan's surface fleet. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

In late 1993, the administration of President William J. Clinton, citing what it considered to be asymmetrical treatment accorded to Pakistan and India over their respective nuclear programs, proposed revising the Pressler Amendment and certain "country-specific" sections of the Foreign Assistance Act. The administration argued that by the time nuclear nonproliferation provisions had been added to the Foreign Assistance Act, India had already acquired the capability to build nuclear weapons and thus Pakistan had borne the brunt of most United States sanctions. In early 1994, the administration withdrew its proposal to revise the amendment because of strong criticism from a number of influential members of Congress, including Senator Pressler himself. In March the administration was reported as "floating" a proposal for releasing to Pakistan up to twenty- eight F-16 fighter aircraft — already paid for and part of a long- standing commercial order but undeliverable because of the Pressler Amendment. The proposal, which was certain to be challenged in the United States Congress, was to be part of a broader initiative to get India and Pakistan to halt their production of weapons-grade nuclear material and to discourage them from deploying surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.*

The impact on Pakistan's military readiness by the United States decision to halt assistance has been described by observers as near catastrophic, but even more important than the money and equipment involved was the strategic signal sent by the aid cutoff. As long as Pakistan was in the front line of opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States found ways of continuing its aid despite Pakistan's nuclear program. Once the Soviet forces left Afghanistan and the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist, Pakistan's importance dwindled. Whatever limited successes Pakistan may have had in salvaging parts of the relationship with the United States, it was clear that the end of the Cold War marked the end of Pakistan's strategic role.*

The loss of United States support came at a difficult time. Unrest in Indian Kashmir had developed rapidly after 1989, and Pakistan inevitably supplied moral and covert matériel support, thus raising the specter of a new conflict with India. There were serious concerns in early 1990 that a war might break out. At United States prompting, both sides took effective steps to reduce the danger. Neither country wanted a conflict, but Pakistan remained in a quandary because it could not ignore events in Kashmir although it did not have substantial international support for its position. The United States and China made clear their unwillingness to provide political or matériel support to Pakistan, thus increasing still further the latter's sense of isolation.*

The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan removed a potential threat to Pakistan, and the substantial retreat of Russia from the security affairs of the subcontinent offset somewhat the withdrawal of the United States. For the first time since 1947, Pakistan was not concerned about a two-front threat. Further, the emergence of five independent Muslim republics in Central Asia raised hopes that they might become allies and offer Pakistan both the political support and the strategic depth it lacked. As long as Afghanistan was in chaos, Pakistan would lack direct access to the new republics. However, it was still far from certain in the early 1990s whether or not the republics would find Pakistan an interesting political partner.*

Approaching the next century, Pakistan faces yet another reconfiguration of the forces that determine its security environment. As Russia, China, and the United States stand back from South Asia, there are fewer constraints on India. Yet other sweeping changes are under way in the international environment. Pakistan remains engaged in its search for outside help to ensure its security. The end of the Cold War was only changed the terms of the problem.*

Foreign Security Relationships in the 1990s

Pakistan must look abroad for both material assistance and political support. Its principal tie has been with the United States. When relations were good, this connection meant access to funds, sophisticated weaponry, training, and an enhanced sense of professionalism. When relations were bad, it meant bitter disillusionment and the severing of support at critical junctures. These wide swings of fortune are something to which the Pakistanis have become accustomed, and they recognize that, whatever the provocation, the tie to the United States has too much potential benefit to be discarded lightly. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Relations with China in the early 1990s were less emotionally intense and much more stable. China has been a steady source of military equipment and has cooperated with Pakistan in setting up weapons production and modernization facilities. Within months of the 1965 and 1971 wars, China began to resupply the depleted Pakistani forces. Between 1965 and 1982, China was Pakistan's main military supplier, and matériel has continued to be transferred. In 1989 Pakistan and China discussed the transfer of a nuclear submarine, and China was helpful in developing Pakistan's missile and, allegedly, nuclear weapons programs. But Chinese weaponry was inferior to that supplied by the West and also to what India received from the former Soviet Union and hoped to continue to receive from Russia. The Pakistanis dispatched a military mission to Moscow in October 1992, probably to explore the possibilities of acquiring surplus Russian and East European equipment at cheap prices.*

The Pakistani military's close ties to the nations of the Middle East are based on a combination of geography and shared religion. The closest ties are with Saudi Arabia — a sporadically generous patron; much of the equipment bought from the United States during the 1980s, for example, was paid for by the Saudis. The smaller Persian Gulf states also have been sources of important financial support. The flow of benefits has been reciprocated. Beginning in the 1960s, Pakistanis have been detailed as instructors and trainers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Pakistani pilots, sailors, and technicians have played key roles in some Persian Gulf military forces, and Arabs have been trained both in their home countries and in military training establishments in Pakistan. After unrest in Saudi Arabia in 1979, Pakistan assigned two combat divisions there as a low-profile and apolitical security force. This unofficial arrangement ended in 1987, however, reportedly when Pakistan refused the Saudi demand to withdraw all Shia (Shiite) troops. Some 500 advisers, however, remained behind. These exchanges had built up close contacts between the forces of Pakistan and the Arab host countries and were profitable to Pakistan and to the individual Pakistanis assigned abroad, who were paid at much higher local pay scales.)

Pakistan has a particular interest in cooperating with neighboring Iran, with which it had occasionally difficult relations after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In more recent years, however, delegations have been exchanged, and Pakistan has sold military equipment to Iran. Pakistan also has military ties with Turkey and would like to use these, as well as its Iranian connections, as a bridge to the new Muslim states of Central Asia. When the situation in Afghanistan again becomes normal, Pakistan will no doubt attempt to capitalize on the support it gave the mujahidin by forging close military links to its second-most important neighbor to the west.*

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (tourism.gov.pk), Official Gateway to the Government of Pakistan (pakistan.gov.pk), The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Wikipedia and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated February 2022

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