Paramilitary forces of Pakistan

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Paramilitary Forces of Pakistan
State emblem of Pakistan.svg
Service branchesFederal Paramilitary Forces

Pakistan National Guard
Frontier Corps
Frontier Constabulary
Sindh Rangers
Punjab Rangers
Pakistan Coast Guard
Airport Security Force
Anti Narcotics Force

Gilgit Baltistan Scouts
HeadquartersIslamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Gilgit

The paramilitary forces of Pakistan consist of various uniformed organisations largely equipped with light infantry weapons and charged with a range of internal and external duties.

Federal Paramilitaries[edit]

Frontier Corps Colonel Masud, Commandant of the Pishin Scouts (right), presents US DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy (left) with his unit ballcap at Chaman, Balochistan, Pakistan.

The federal paramilitary forces current strength is approximately 330,000 personnel,[1] divided into two categories:

  • The Civil Armed Forces (CAF) e.g. the Rangers and Frontier Corps, within the Interior Ministry;
  • The reserves and second line military forces within the Defence Ministry e.g. the Maritime Security Agency.

In addition the provincial governments also control a number of specialised police forces.


Executive Department Service branch Authority Total active duty personnel
Defence National Guard Federal 185,000[2]
Defence Defence Service Guard Federal N/A
Defence Maritime Security Agency Federal 2,500[2]
Interior Pakistan Coast Guard Balochistan/Sindh/Federal 7,000[2]
Defence & Interior Pakistan Rangers Punjab/Sindh/Federal 25,000[3]
Interior Frontier Corps Balochistan/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 60,000
Interior Frontier Constabulary Balochistan/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 26,000
Interior Gilgit Baltistan Scouts Gilgit-Baltistan 2,481[2]
Narcotics Control, Defence & Interior Anti-Narcotics Force Federal 3,100
Aviation Division Airports Security Force Federal 8,930

Civil Armed Forces (CAF)[edit]

CAF units are authorised by the Constitution of Pakistan with border security and internal security duties, but can be "regularised" i.e. attached to regular Army as necessary.

The CAF are paid for from the budget of the Ministry of Interior which also provides administrative support; however they are (with the exception of the Frontier Constabulary) commanded by officers on secondment from the Pakistan Army. They function under the operational control of army corps headquarters, not just in war time but whenever Article 245 of the Pakistani Constitution is invoked to provide 'military aid to civil power', for example in Karachi since 2015, and in Punjab since February 2017 .

The CAF are currently undergoing significant expansion of some (57) additional 'wings' approved for raising in the 2015-16 to deal with the challenging internal and border security environment and to provide security for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), co-ordinated by a new 2-star command raised in September 2016, the Special Security Division.[4]

Many CAF units were originally raised in the colonial era on the frontiers of the empire, and played a key role in the consolidation of control by building a link between the state and communities in strategically sensitive frontier areas through recruitment to government service. In many areas paramilitary units continue to play exactly the same historical role decades after independence.

  • Pakistan Rangers: A generic phrase for two distinct organisations, the Punjab Rangers headquartered in Lahore and the Sindh Rangers in Karachi divided into battalion sized "wings" of approximately 800 men each. This force has a border security role on Punjab and Sindh provinces' the International Border with India, but also perform internal security duties (counter-insurgency, counter-gang, public order, etc.) under the operational control Pakistan Army corps commanders.[5]
  • Frontier Corps: The Frontier Corps, like the Rangers, is a generic phrase for two distinct organisations, the FC KP and FC Balochistan. FC KP before the current round of expansion consisted of 15 corps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with headquarters in Peshawar. FC Balochistan has 17 corps based in Balochistan with its HQ in Quetta. FC KP under the command of the Army's XI Corps has been in the forefront of COIN operations against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and various foreign jihadis since 2003: FC Balochistan under XII Corps has been conducting similar operations against Baloch separatists in the same timeframe.
  • Frontier Constabulary: The Frontier Constabulary operates along the internal border between the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KPK; unlike the Frontier Corps it is commanded by police officers.
  • Gilgit Baltistan Scouts: Headquarters are in Gilgit. The Northern Light Infantry was converted in 1999 from a paramilitary force comparable to the Rangers and FC into one of the infantry regiments of the Pakistan Army in recognition of their performance and their heavy losses during the Kargil War in which they played a leading part on the ground. Subsequently, they have been replaced in the paramilitary 'Civil Armed Forces' role by the Scouts.
  • Pakistan Coast Guards: The Coast Guards are charged and mandated with protecting the coastal areas of Balochistan and Sindh Province. It is largely a shore-based force with a particular focus on combatting smuggling, it is commanded by one-star rank brigadier and headquartered in Karachi, Sindh.

MoD Paramilitary Forces[edit]

  • Pakistan National Guard: The National Guard, the military reserve of the Pakistan Army, comprises the Janbaz Force and locally recruited militia, the Mujahid Force, and are charged with air defence. Also included the dissolved National Cadet Corps and Women's Guard.
  • Maritime Security Agency: The 2,500-strong Maritime Security Agency, headquartered in Karachi, is a coast guard and is responsible for patrolling Pakistan's territorial waters. The MSA is equipped with a former Pakistan Navy destroyer, two coastal patrol craft and four oceanic patrol craft, it too is seeing significant upgrades and expansion as a result of CPEC.
  • Defence Service Guard: The DSG Corps provides static security to MoD and MoDP installations across Pakistan, including highly sensitive nuclear facilities. Its regimental centre is in Dera Ismail Khan, it was known from 1947 onwards as the MoD Constabulary until its renaming.

Note that the Northern Light Infantry and the Azad Kashmir Regiment were once considered paramilitary forces until their promotion into the Pakistan Army in 1999[6][7][8][9] and 1972[10] respectively.

Other Federal Paramilitary Forces[edit]

  • Anti-Narcotics Force: ANF is a principal agency in Pakistan for combating supply and demand reduction of illicit narcotic drugs that enter Pakistan mainly through the long porous border with Afghanistan. The agency works under umbrella of Pakistan Army and Ministry of Narcotics Control, it also carries out Raids and Intelligence Based Operations IBOs against Narcotics, Illegal Arms Ammunition, Money Laundering and dangerous/inflammable Chemicals.
  • Airport Security Force: Safeguarding and protecting airports in Pakistan. Formerly part of the Ministry of Defence but later transferred to the Cabinet Secretariat Aviation Division[11]


Provincial Paramilitary forces[edit]

The police forces of the Provinces of Pakistan maintain paramilitary arms which act as a mobile armed reserve, they are not usually in contact with the public except during public events, civil unrest, and natural disasters. They maintain key guard posts and participate in antiterrorist operations. Depending on the type of assignment, they may be or may not be carrying firearms.


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[edit]

Note that the Levies and Khasadar will now fall under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police[23].


  • Punjab Police
    • Punjab Police Dolphin Force - a motorcycle based mobile patrol force
    • Punjab Police Elite Police is the highly trained tactical that assists district police with high-risk operations
    • Punjab Police Special Protection Unit (SPU) 3,829 men providing security for foreigners working on national important projects within Punjab[24]


  • Sindh Police
    • Sindh Police Sindh Reserve Police
    • Sindh Police Special Security Unit
    • Sindh Police Rapid Response Force

Other territories[edit]

Azad-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are not officially provinces of Pakistan but both have limited self-rule and hence their own police forces each of which maintains paramilitary branches.

Azad Kashmir[edit]

Azad Kashmir is the Pakistani portion of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own police who maintains several paramilitary forces within it.


Gilgit-Baltistan is the currently independent northernmost portion of the Pakistan which maintains the Gilgit-Baltistan Police and is home to the Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Pakistan Intelligence, security Activities and Operations Handbook, Int'l Business Publications, 2011 Edition, pp. 131, ISBN 0-7397-1194-6
  3. ^ The International Institute of Strategic Studies (14 February 2017). The Military Balance 2017. Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Incorporated. ISBN 9781857439007.
  4. ^ Uploader (15 August 2016). "NAP decision: 29 new wings of civil armed forces to be raised". Archived from the original on 27 February 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Pakistan Rangers (Sindh)". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  6. ^ Archived 25 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine Northern Light Infantry Regiment (NLI)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Archived 4 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine History of Gilgit Baltistan Scouts
  9. ^ Snedden, Christopher (2015), Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris, Oxford University Press, p. 255, ISBN 978-1-84904-342-7
  10. ^ "Azad Kashmir Regiment". 22 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Videos - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  12. ^ a b Shahid, Saleem (15 April 2012). "Levies force restored in Balochistan". Dawn. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Counter Terrorist Force (CTF) - Balochistan Police". Archived from the original on 29 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Current Expenditure (2010-2011)". Government of Balochistan. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Rs 152 bn Balochistan Budget 2010-11 presented". Government of Balochistan. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Development project". Government of Balochistan. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Mansoor Akbar, Kundi (1993). Balochistan, a socio-cultural and political analysis. Qasim Printers. p. 26.
  19. ^ "History". Frontier Police. Retrieved 1 July 2008.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Welome". Archived from the original on 31 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  21. ^ Musa Khan Jalalzai (1 October 2015). The Prospect of Nuclear Jihad in South Asia: Pakistan's Army, Extra-judicial Killings, and the Forceful Disappearance of Pashtuns and Balochs. Algora Publishing. pp. 215–. ISBN 978-1-62894-167-8.
  22. ^ "Khasadar force personnel's future uncertain after FATA-KP merger - Pakistan Today". Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Policing responsibility in the merged districts given to Levies and Khasadar forces". Samaa TV. Archived from the original on 12 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Special Protection Unit (SPU) - Punjab Police". Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.

External links[edit]