Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC)
Pakistan formally instituted an elaborate nuclear command and control mechanism in February 2000 that comprised National Command Authority (NCA), Strategic Plan Division (SPD) and Strategic Forces Command. Army Strategic Forces Command is regarded as a corps and commanded by a lieutenant general with his HQ in Rawalpindi. Army Strategic Forces Command is responsible for training, deployment and activation of nuclear missile assets.
In 2006 the government set up separate commands in its three services equipped with nuclear weapons and missiles capable of retaliating for any first nuclear strike. The Armed Strategic Force consists of special commands in the army, air force and navy that store nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable missiles in semi-knocked-down condition in peace time for assembly and deployment during periods of high tension.
As of late 2006 the Pakistani nuclear command and control organization consisted of three branches: (1) the National Command Authority (NCA), consisting of the country's ten highest decision makers; (2) the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is the secretariat to the NCA and is in charge of developing and managing Pakistan's nuclear capability in all dimensions; and (3) the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) for each branch of the military, which is responsible for planning and control as well as operational directives for nuclear weapons deployment and use.
The Ghauri missile system was inducted into the army strategic forces command early in 2002 along with Shaheen-I and Ghaznavi ballistic missile systems. President General Pervez Musharraf had handed over the highly accurate Ghauri Missiles to the ASFC at an impressive ceremony. The Ghaznavi, or Hatf 3, was formally adopted by the Strategic Forces Command on 22 February 2004. With the 11 October 2004 test firing of its Ghauri (Hatf 5), the Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command within about a year had test-launched all of its major ballistic missiles.
In November 2006 Pakistan's Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) carried out a significant exercise to test the reflexes and operational readiness of its strategic nuclear and missile establishments. This is the first time that such an exercise exclusively devoted to testing the reflexes and co-ordinating capabilities of its strategic nuclear and missile establishments has been held. The exercise culminated in the firing of an intermediate-range HATF 5 (also called Ghauri) missile.
On 16 November 2006 Pakistan successfully test-fired the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Hatf 5 (Ghauri). The launch was carried out by the troops of the Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) at the culmination phase of a training exercise held to test the operational readiness of a Strategic Missile Group (SMG) equipped with Ghauri Missiles.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Saleem Hyat besides a large number of senior military officers and scientists and engineers of the strategic organisations witnessed the launch exercise. Among those who attended the exercise and the launch were Mr.Shaukat Aziz, the Prime Minister, Gen.Ahsan Saleem Hyat, the Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen.Khalid Kidwai, Director-General of the Strategic Forces Command, Lt.Gen.Khalid Munir, Commander of the Army Strategic Forces Command, Dr.Samar Mubarakmand, who co-ordinated the 1998 nuclear tests at Chagai, Mr.Anwar Ali, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), and Mr.Karim Ahmed, the Chairman of the Kahuta Research Laboratory. The prime minister congratulated the officers and other ranks of the ASFC on the high standards achieved during the training, which was reflected in the successful launch and the accuracy of the missile in reaching the target.
On 09 December 2006 Pakistan successfully conducted the test-fire of the short-range ballistic missile, HATF-III (Ghaznavi), which has a range of almost 300 km. ''The launch was carried out by the strategic missile group of the Army Strategic Forces Command,'' a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations said.
On 07 March 2007 President Gen Pervez Musharraf appointed Maj-Gen Syed Absar Hussain as the Commander of the Strategic Forces Command following his promotion to the rank of Lt-General. Lt-Gen Absar was serving as the Director-General of Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO). Lt-Gen Absar was commissioned in the Artillery in April 1972. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta; Egyptian Army Staff College, and National Defence University, Islamabad.
A Strategic Missile Group (SMG) of the Pakistan Army's Strategic Force Command (ASFC) conducted a successful training launch of the Shaheen-1 (Hatf-IV) Medium Range Ballistic Missile on Friday, January 25, 2008. The launch was conducted at the conclusion of the annual field training exercises of a Shaheen-1 Missile Group.
On February 13, 2008 a Strategic Missile Group (SMG) of the Pakistan Army's Strategic Force Command (ASFC) today conducted successful training launch of Ghaznavi (Hatf III) Short Range Ballistic Missile. The launch was conducted at the conclusion of annual field training exercise of a Ghaznavi Missile Group. With this launch, ASFC also concluded its highly successful winter collective training, wherein, various Missile Groups conducted firing of live ballistic missiles under realistic operational environment. This was the third consecutive test by ASFC Troops in recent weeks. Earlier two other SMGs had conducted successful launches of Shaheen-1 and Ghauri ballistic missiles. The Ghaznavi Missile has a range of 290 km. The field launch exercise was witnessed by Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, senior military officers and scientists.
On April 23, 2008 Pakistan successfully conducted the first training launch of Long Range Ballistic Missile Hatf VI (Shaheen-II) Weapon System. The launch was conducted by the Army Strategic Force Command and marked the culmination of a field training exercise. It validated the operational readiness of a strategic missile group equipped with Shaheen-II missile. Shaheen-II is Pakistan's longest range ballistic missile system with a range of 2000 Km. It is a two stage solid fuel missile which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. The launch exercise was witnessed by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir and a large number of senior military officers, scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.