Last week, Pakistan agreed to send ships to help enforce a U.N.-approved arms embargo against Houthi rebels in Yemen, but declined a request by Saudi Arabia to send attack aircraft or troops to join the Saudi-led coalition there. In an email interview, Ayesha Siddiqa, an independent security analyst in Pakistan, discussed Pakistan’s military capabilities.
WPR: What are the Pakistani military’s size, training priorities, capabilities and operational strengths?
Ayesha Siddiqa: The Pakistani military is a volunteer force and the seventh-largest military in the world. It is primarily dedicated to conventional warfighting. There are 617,000 active duty personnel in the Pakistani military, with an additional 513,000 reserve and 300,000 paramilitary troops. Out of the three services of the armed forces—the army, navy and air force—the army is the largest and politically the most potent; it has been in power four times since the late 1950s.