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Pakistan Personnel and Training
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    The manpower base of Pakistan, with its population of more than 120 million, is more than adequate to maintain force levels that the country can afford. In 1994 there were an estimated 6.4 million men and 5.7 million women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two and another 10 million men and 9 million women between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-two. About two-thirds of the individuals in these groups were estimated to be physically fit for service. Although there is provision for conscription, it has not proven necessary because there are more than enough volunteers for a profession that is both honored and, by Pakistani standards, financially rewarding.

    Although recruitment is nationwide and the army attempts to maintain an ethnic balance, most recruits, as in British times, come from a few districts in northern Punjab Province and the adjacent North-West Frontier Province. Most enlisted personnel come from rural families, and although they must have passed the sixth-grade level in school, many have only rudimentary literacy skills and very limited awareness of the modern-day skills needed in a contemporary army (see Education , ch. 2). Recruits are processed gradually through a paternalistically run regimental training center, perhaps learning to wear boots for the first time, taught the official language, Urdu, if necessary, and given a period of elementary education before their military training actually starts. In the thirty-six-week training period, they develop an attachment to the regiment they will remain with through much of their careers and begin to develop a sense of being a Pakistani rather than primarily a member of a tribe or a village. Stephen P. Cohen, a political scientist specializing in military affairs, has noted that the army "encourages the jawan (basic private) to regard his regiment and his unit as his home or substitute village; and it invests a great deal of time and effort into . . . `man management,' hoping to compensate in part for generally inferior military technology by very highly disciplined and motivated soldiers." Enlisted men usually serve for fifteen years, during which they participate in regular training cycles and have the opportunity to take academic courses to help them advance.

    About 320 men enter the army annually through the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul (in Abbotabad) in the North-West Frontier Province; a small number--especially physicians and technical specialists--are directly recruited, and these persons are part of the heart of the officer corps. They, too, are overwhelmingly from Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province and of middle-class, rural backgrounds. The product of a highly competitive selection process, members of the officer corps have completed ten years of education and spend two years at the Pakistan Military Academy, with their time divided about equally between military training and academic work to bring them up to a baccalaureate education level, which includes English-language skills. There are similar programs for the navy at Rahbar (in Karachi) and for the air force at Sarghoda.

    The army has twelve other training establishments, including schools concentrating on specific skills such as artillery, intelligence, or mountain warfare. Plans are being drawn up for the National University of Science and Technology, which would subsume the existing colleges of engineering, signals, and electrical engineering. At the apex of the army training system is the Command and Staff College at Quetta, one of the few institutions inherited from the colonial period. The college offers a ten-month course in tactics, staff duties, administration, and command functions through the division level. Students from foreign countries, including the United States, have attended the school but reportedly have been critical of its narrow focus and failure to encourage speculative thinking or to give adequate attention to less glamorous subjects, such as logistics. The air force has an advanced technical training facility at Korangi Creek near Karachi for courses in aeronautical engineering, and the navy's technical training is carried out at Karsaz Naval Station in Karachi.

    The senior training institution for all service branches is the National Defence College at Rawalpindi, which was established in 1978 to provide training in higher military strategy for senior officers. It also offers courses that allow civilians to explore the broader aspects of national security. In a program begun in the 1980s to upgrade the intellectual standards of the officer corps and increase awareness of the wider world, a small group of officers, has been detailed to academic training, achieving master's degrees and even doctorates at universities in Pakistan and abroad.

    Pakistani officers were sent abroad during the 1950s and into the 1960s for training in Britain and other Commonwealth countries, and especially to the United States, where trainees numbering well in the hundreds attended a full range of institutions ranging from armored and infantry schools to the higher staff and command institutions. After 1961 this training was coordinated under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, but numbers varied along with vicissitudes in the United States-Pakistan military relationship. Of some 200 officers being sent abroad annually in the 1980s, over two-thirds went to the United States, but the cessation of United States aid in 1990 entailed suspension of the IMET program. In 1994 virtually all foreign training was in Commonwealth countries.

    Pay scales and benefits for enlisted personnel are attractive by Pakistani standards. Officer pay is substantially higher, but with inflation and a generally expanding economy, officers find it harder to make do and feel that they are falling well behind their civilian counterparts in the civil service, where salaries are somewhat higher and the opportunities for gain considerably greater.

    Officers retire between the ages of fifty-two and sixty, depending on their rank. The retirement age for enlisted personnel varies similarly according to grade. Retirement pay is modest, especially for enlisted men, but the armed services find ways to make the retiree's lot easier. Especially during periods of martial law, retired senior officers have found second, financially rewarding careers in government-controlled organizations. Land grants to retired officers have been common, and scholarships and medical care are available on a relatively generous basis. In the event of an officer's death on active duty, certain provisions, including grants of free housing, are often extended to his family.

    The Fauji Foundation is a semiautonomous organization run for the benefit of active and, especially, retired military personnel and their families. It engages in a variety of lucrative businesses throughout Pakistan and annually produces a surplus of US$30 million for its beneficiaries. The Baharia Foundation provides a similar service to navy families, as does the Shaheen Foundation to those of the air force. )

    Data as of April 1994

    NOTE: The information regarding Pakistan on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Pakistan Personnel and Training information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Pakistan Personnel and Training should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 27-Mar-05
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