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Reserve and Paramilitary Forces

There is an army reserve of 500,000 whose members have a triennial attendance obligation to the age of 45. Refresher training is as adequate as can be expected of a three week period, but reserve service seems popular. Paramilitary organizations, which were mainly of symbolic importance, included the 185,000-member National Guard, comprising the Janbaz Force -- locally recruited militia mainly charged with air defense -- and two programs similar to the United States Reserve Officers Training Corps, the National Cadet Corps and the Women Guard. The Women Guard, unlike the National Cadet Corps, included individuals trained in nursing, welfare, and clerical work. There were also some women in the Janbaz Force, and a very small number of women were recruited into the regular service in limited numbers to perform medical and educational work. The 180,000 strong National Guard would be useful in guarding vulnerable points. It consists of the Mujahid Force of 60,000, organized in battalions, some with light air defence capability, the Janbaz Force of 100,000, whose members are intended to serve close to their homes; and the National Cadet Corps in universities and colleges.

Pakistan has been faced with continuing dilemma of providing a credible defense in the face of large standing armed forces of the Indian adversary. Ideally, Pakistan would have a large, well trained and equipped standing army to provide effective deterrence. This Pakistan cannot afford. The only other way to fill the wide gap between the forces required and the force available is to have an effective organization of auxiliary forces which should be capable of supporting and supplementing the efforts of the regular standing army, during peace and war. In Pakistan, the requirement of such forces has been met to some extent by the Civil Armed Forces and the Organization of the National Guards with the passage of an Act of Parliament on 13 August 1973.

Every male citizen of Pakistan who is of such age as may be prescribed, may offer himself for enrolment in the Mujahid Force for service in any unit and any such person, who satisfies the conditions laid down in the Regulations may be enrolled for such period as laid down in the terms of service. Every Person enrolled shall, without unnecessary delay, be appointed in a unit to which he has applied for service. Every person offering himself for enrolment in the force shall be a male citizen of Pakistan between 18 to 30 years of age. Maximum age limit for ex servicemen is relaxable to 45 years. A large number of people of Azad Kashmir are serving in the Mujahid Force. After retirement they are denied the facilities of ex-Servicemen which is not justified.

Paramilitary internal security forces were organized on the provincial level but were subordinate to the Ministry of Interior and were commanded by seconded army generals. These forces were in effect an extension of the army for internal security duties. The Pakistan Rangers, headquartered in Lahore, dealt with unrest in Punjab, while the Mehran Force performed similar functions in Sindh. In 1994 their strengths were 25,000 and 24,000, respectively, divided into "wings" of approximately 800 men each.

The Frontier Corps, with a strength of 65,000, was based in Peshawar and Quetta with responsibility for the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan. The corps was responsible to both the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions and to army headquarters. The corps was divided into twenty-seven local units -- fourteen in the North-West Frontier Province and thirteen in Balochistan -- and included the Chitral Scouts, the Khyber Rifles, the Kurram Militia, the Tochi Scouts, the South Waziristan Scouts, the Zhob Militia, and the Gilgit Scouts. There was also a Coast Guard, subordinate to the Ministry of Interior and staffed by army personnel.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:02:24 ZULU