Pakistan Army - How True Is The Statement That Pakistan Army Is Punjabi Dominated?

By Sikander Hayat

I am writing the following lines to refute the biggest fallacy associated with Pakistan Army that it is actually a Punjabi Army which takes care of the interests of the Punjab and does not take care of the other federating units. It is outright false and wrong to say such a thing because from the time of Pakistani independence 14 Generals have commanded Pakistan Army. Out of these 14 Generals 2 were British, 4 were Pakhtun, 1 was Hazara, 1 was Baloch, 1 was a Rajput, 3 were Mohajir and 2 were Punjabi.

In 64 years after independence, Pakistan has been ruled by 4 Generals for 32 years. These Generals are General Ayub Khan (9 years), General Yahya Khan (3 years), General Zia Ul Haq (11 years) and General Pervez Musharaf (9 years). Not a single one of these Generals was a Punjabi. So much for the myth of a Punjabi dominated army.

Here is the list of all the Generals who have lead the Pakistan Army:

1. General Sir Frank Walter Messervy was born in 1893 in Trinidad to British parents. He was commissioned in the Indian Army in
1913 and later joined 9 Hudson’s Horse, India in 1914. When Pakistan achieved independence in 1947, he enjoyed a singular honour to serve as a First Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army from 15 August 1947 to 10 February 1948.

2. General Sir Douglas David Gracey was British and was born on 3 Sept 1894. He was commissioned in British Army and served in both the First and Second World Wars. He is the second Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, holding this office from 11 February 1948 to 16 January 1951.

3. General Muhammad Ayub Khan was an ethnic Pakhtun. He was born on 14 May 1907. He was selected for Royal Military Academy Sand Hurst in 1922 and got commission on 2nd Feb 1928. He joined the 1st Battalion of the 14 Punjab regiment , later known as 5 Punjab Regiment. He was made Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army on January 17, 1951, succeeding General Sir Douglas Gracey, thus becoming the first native Pakistani General to hold this prestigious position.

4. General Muhammad Musa was born on 20 Nov 1908. He was born in a Hazara Shia Muslim family in Quetta, he was from the Sardar family of the Hazara tribe in Balochistan, Pakistan.He got commission from Indian Military Academy in Dehradun on 1st Feb 1935. He was posted to the 6th Royal Battalion, the 13th Frontier Force Rifles as a Platoon Commander in 1936. He served with distinction in the Pakistani Army and rose to the rank of the commander in chief of Pakistan Armed Forces on 1st April 1957 and held the office till 17 Sept 1966.

5. General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan was born in Chakwal in 1917, to an ethnic Shia Muslim Qizilbash family of Persian descent who could trace their military links to the time of Nader Shah. He was, however, culturally Pakhtun. He got commission in British Army on 15 Jul 1939.He became Chief of Army Staff on 18 Sep 1966 and held this office till 20 Dec 1971.

6. General Gul Hassan was born on 9 June 1921. He was a Sunni Pakhtun born in Quetta. He got Commission on 22nd Feburary 1942. He commanded 1 Armed Division and remained CGS before he was appointed acting C-in-C on 20 December 1971. He was appointed C-in-C on 22 January 1972 till his retirement on 3rd March 1972.

7. General Tikka Khan was a Narma Rajput and was born on 7 Jul 1915.He was a graduate of the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun, and was commissioned on 22 Dec 1940. General Tikka Khan was Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff from 3rd March 1972 to 1st March 1976.

8. General Zia-ul-Haq was a Mohajir and was born in Jalandhar in India on 12 September 1924. He was commissioned in the British Army on 12 May 1943. At Pakistan's independence, he joined the Pakistani Army as a major. He got trained in the United States 1962–1964 at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On 1 April 1976, he was appointed Chief of Army Staff.

9. General Mirza Aslam Beg was a Mohajir and was born in Azam Garh, British India on 2 August 1931 and got commission in Pakistan Army on 23 August 1952. He was made Chief of Army on 17 August 1988 and remained in the office till 1 August 1992.

10. General Asif Nawaz Janjua was a Rajput and was born on 3 January 1937. He was selected for Royal Military Academy Sand Hurst and got commission on 31 March 1957. He was made Chief of Army Staff from 1991 to 1993.

11. General Abdul Wahid Kakar was a Pakhtun of Balochistan province and was born on 20 March 1937 and got commission on 18 October 1959. General Wahid Kakar is remembered for starting the Shaheen Nuclear Missile Project. He was made Chief of Army Staff on 12 January 1993 and held the office till 12 January 1996.

12. General Jehangir Karamat was a Punjabi who got commission on 14 October 1961. General Karamat is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, U.S.A. He was made Chief of the Army Staff on 12 January 1996 and held the office till 7 October 1998.

13. General Pervez Musharraf is a Mohajir and was born on August 11, 1943 in Delhi, British India). He got commission from
PMA kakul on 19 April 1964. In 1998 he was promoted to General and took over as the Chief of Army Staff and he had been holding this office till November 2007.

14. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is a Punjabi who commissioned from Paksitan Military Academy, Kakul in Baloch Regiment in 1971. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is graduate of Fort Benning (USA), Command and Staff College Quetta, Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth (USA), Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Hawaii (USA), and National Defence College Islamabad.

Related Articles:

1. Pakistan Army Must Not Intervene In The Current Crisis - Who To Blame For the Present Crisis in Pakistan ?

2. Baloch Soldiers In Pakistan Army – A Step In The Right Direction

3. Pakistan army's new head is General Raheel Sharif


  1. Very interesting topic, sir. But you are fudging the facts. It doesn't always depend on generals. You please present the ethnic proportion of Pakistan army. Sir please please don't make Kakars Baloch, They are Pashtoon. There is none sindhi or Baloch General. Kakar (sometimes misspelled Kaker) is the name one of the largest Pashtun tribes, with members living in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kakar is the brother of Daavi. Sir do collect the ethnic composition of Pakistan army, you would come to know that Pak army is Punjabi and Pashtoon dominated.Regards.

  2. Dear Khosa,
    I agree with you that there are more Pakhtuns and Punjabis in Pakistan Army than the other ethnic groups but I disagree with you on the fact that Generals don’t matter. In Pakistan’s case they do matter. Pakistan army has a hierarchical structure and any orders from the top are final and have to be obeyed. I won’t go very far into the history and would like to refer you to Pervez Musharaf. When he ruled, his decision was final. He ruled Pakistan with iron fist until the restorations of judge’s movement. Similar is the case with Generl Zia, General Ayub Khan and General Yahya Khan. They all, not only oversaw Pakistan army but ruled whole of Pakistan as dictators. None of these guys was a Punjabi. All four of them combined ruled Pakistan for 32 years which is half the time after independence. Do you seriously believe that these guys had special interests of Punjab at heart? I don’t think so. They ruled all of Pakistan and took decisions for all of Pakistan.
    I have made the change regarding General Kakar but still he was a Pakhtun not a Punjabi.
    Many Thanks for your comments.
    Sikander Hayat

    1. The new Army chief is Punjabi zubair mehmood hayat (khattar JATT)

  3. Well its not matter of decision making, sir. Right now we are discussing Pakistan military's ethnic composition. Here in Pakistan, as you know sir, we have Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtoons, Balochs,Mohajirs as major ethnic groups. The interesting thing neither Balochs nor Sindhis have got any military General to their credit. Sir, the fact remains that army is Punjabi and Pashtoon dominated. Well what kind of decision it took, that is completely an other issue. Best Regards.

  4. Tikka Khan was not a Pakhtun. He was a Punjabi (Narma Rajput).

  5. Well this is very interesting topic and incarage other to step in. What matter most to Pakistan is how nation is goin to get benifit from military. Lets look at history and see if militery has benifited in ipmroving nations health and if it has then ask pak militery to adopt those tactics.

  6. Pakistan Army contains 44% Punjabis (figures released in 2005). Is that too much no. Becuase the population of punjabis in Pakistan is 56%. So by that mark punjabis are proportionally under-represented in the army.

    It is also worthwhile to note that in 1990 60% of the recruits from Punjab. this would tell the trend of recruitment in the army.

    As far as the question weather the Chief of the Army matter. Well he does a lot.

    1. Dear haroon bhai can you tell me the from where you get these statistic? if you have statistic please share with me?

  7. As we can see from this analysis, PAK Army as an institution is the most diverse of all the PAK institutions. We hope any pray that it now stays focused on its core mission as a professional army and stays away from politics. This will help the country and the institution.

  8. we should not consider only Army, generally speaking, Armed Forces of Pakistan including Rangers, Army, Navy and Air Force plus intelligence agencies like ISI and IB and Bureaucrats All are Panjab Dominated, i suspect very much that Army has only 43% of Punjabi. this figure seems to to be very much distorted and fabricated.

    also i highly suspect that Punjabs population is 56% of whole Pakistan. this statistics is only tailered thanks to Punjabi office bearers to get all the benifits of collective revenue or what ever to Punjab.

    P.S. no need to mention POLICE, CUSTOM PEOPLE, CIVIL AVIATION, COST GUARDS... u name it and u find PUNJAB......

    the solution is PUNJAB must be broken into smaller provinces of equal population so a sense of equality may prevail among all provinces.

    Otherwise we are heading towards a disastor!!

  9. Punjab is the only province that does not ask for seperation from Pakistan. Punjabis in general are more patriotic than any other ethnics living in Pakistan. Having punjabis in majority in the armed forces is a blessing not a disaster for Pakistan. If you think that I am being racist then think about sindhu desh movement, Jinnahpur movement, Baluchistan liberation movement and pakhtunistan movement.

  10. Dear Anonymous,
    Many thanks for your comment. It would have been great if all commentators on this site would leave their names and places.
    I believe that no one has the right to give medals of patriotism to one federating unit of Pakistan or other. Pakistan army just shows the composition of the population of the country as a whole. In current operations all sub nationalities of Pakistan have shed their blood to preserve and restore the honour of Pakistan so no one race has any superiority over the other in protecting the motherland from external and internal enemies.

  11. Dear Sir,
    I beleive and that all are Jealous of pakistan Army especially the Indians and Afghans and there allies US and Israel.WE Pakistani stand as Nation NO Pathan/Punjabi/Baloch/Sindhi/Tribal we all are first Pakistanis.We will destroy the evil desires of west and Indians to destroy the image of our patriotic Army.I salute Pakistan Army for their efforts in saving the integrity and independence of our Motherland.
    Engr.Ayaz Khan.EX-Cantt Engr.ML & C.Deptt

  12. Not Just Army ,
    the other three Pillars of Power , ie the PM's and the Presidents ,to show the same picture and refute this propagandist Fallacy with Nefracious Objective .
    here is the List of PM's
    Pakistan key PM's list hey.

    Liaqat Ali Khan

    Khawaja Nazuddin

    Mohammed Ali Bogra

    Chaudherey Mohammed Ali [ 12 Aug 55 - 12 Sep 56 ] 13 mah

    Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi

    I I Chundirigar

    Sir Feroz Khan Noon

    Noor ul amin

    Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

    Mohammed Khan Junejo

    Benazir Bhutto

    Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi

    Nawaz Shareef

    Balagh Sheer Mazari

    Nawaz Shareef

    Moin uddin Qureshi

    Benazir Bhutto

    Malik Mairaj Khalid

    Nawaz Shareef

    Zafar Ullah Khan Jamali

    Chaudhery Shujaat Hussain

    Shaukat Aziz

    Mohammed Mian Soomro

    and Now

    Yousuf Raza Geelani

    and this is the List of Presidents

    Izkandar Mirza



    Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

    Fazal Illahi choudhery almaroof Sadr ko reha karoo fame.

    Zia ul Haq

    Ghulam Ishaq Khan

    Waseem Sajjad

    Farooq Leghari

    Waseem Sajjad

    Rafiq Tarar


    Mohammed Mian soomra

    and Now


  13. Also Paksitan Inherited the Punjab Regiment ,the oldest Regiment of pre-partition India

  14. sir can u plz tell me is general ashfaq parvez kayani ia a rajput or not

  15. I am Noor ul Amin kakar, from Quetta.
    It is great to see here that you have compaired the number of Pashtoons with Punjabies. Though i am proud say that "Pashtoons are more comptent and country loving than any other nation" yet we are not considdered as a part of this Country.
    Dear sir,,, why dont you give your comments on the other positins in the country like civil services and also comment on the budget share of Punjab. Pashtoons, if have become the CoAS are just because of their ability not owing recomendations.

  16. Interesting article. The Pakistan armed forces is constantly improving a diversifying especially as more and more areas are becoming settled into the national grid work. News that 5000 Baloch and the previous creation of Sindh regiments in the Pakistan army are wonderful and will further to give them representation in this important institution of the country. The armed forces, is reknowned for instilling discipline in all that pass through its training regimen, something that would benefit all Pakistani's. In fact I think the previously mandatory training that was required of students after passing high school was a very positive character building process and I would wish that the government/army re-start that. Also, in discussing the ethnic make-up of the Pakistan army, one needs to realize the ethnic make-up of the country and factor that into play. While I strongly believe that we need to have equal representation and all ethnic as well as minority groups need to have equal avenues of opportunity, quality and merit should not be compromised. Furthermore, while ensuring equal opportunity and representation, we need to consider the country in a federal manner without casting suspicion on other ethnic groups. Where in this together!

  17. If the Kalima cannt get muslims together .... its just a wishful tunking tht we can be together as Pakistani , punjabi , pashtuns or anything else///

  18. can any one tell me rajput belong to which race punjabis or sindhis or else

  19. Hi Rao,

    They are found in many races and countries through intermarrying and settlements.

    Sikander Hayat

  20. Sirs
    Stop bulshitting ordinary pakistanis.
    Every1 knows Paki army is punjabi dominated. There exists a punjabi mafia and a culture of favoritism towards punjabis in the Army (and the PAF and PN).
    Sindhis and Balochis are treated like 2nd class citizens even Mohajirs are treated badly. Look at all promotions, they are all punjabis with others thrown in for a change.
    More importantly, most terrorist outfits like LeJ, LeT, JaishM have all took birth in punjab. AlQeda has most of its supporters in punjab.
    You can draw your own conclusions...........

  21. Regarding my comment, my name and place
    Dr Kadar Khan FRCS

  22. after take a glance I come to the point that majority of the other provinces are biased. majority of the Generals are either Pathan or muhajir and all marshal-law-administrator was also non punjabi. at one side pathan are at ruling post in govt services on the contrary they are more contaminated in illegal activities like smuggling, extremism, terrorism, unethical activities etc than any other ethnic group but nobody seems to ready to blame them and point-out them. I think all other ethnic groups are afraid of Pathans while Punjabi, on the other hand is of cool temper, less prejudice and biased to other so all other criticize him. one more thing, Pervaiz Musharaf who said I will kill balochi nationalist from where they never think, his steps promote insurgence in Baluchistan but why people not blame to muhajar in this context, like they blam to punjabis in same scenario. and one famous case of kala bagh dam, the only reason of opposition is that it will the property of punjab and the prejudiced leader of other provinces can't see the punjab to be more stronger ( experts have told there is no harm to nosharah, no harm to the water of sindh and it will also help in stopping floods). literacy rate in the cities of punjab is very high then that of other provinces and the population of punjab is 60% of Pakistan so its natural phenomenon that punjabi will be dominant in all services but majority of them are not prejudices while the leader of other provinces want there people to be illiterate and slave to them for this they do such kind of propaganda. .. there is a big list of such examples which show the prejudice of others against Punjabis without any reason, it has become a trend and nothing else.

  23. this is true and bitter fact the army is Punjabi dominated organization.
    a conspiracy case was spotted back in 1984. where selection officers were told to select highly intelligent boys from Punjab and select pathan with average level of intelligence. so that the power always remains with Punjabi's in shape of generals and the key posts .
    after retirement all the organization like AWT, fauji fertilizer, fauji foundation , you can even check now that they are all infested with Punjabi's with just one or 2 pathan to bluff the world.

  24. Traditionally, the army was a predominantly Punjabi force because of its dominant Population (Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population). In British India, three districts: Jhelum, Rawalpindi, and Campbellpur (now Attock) dominated the recruitment flows. By 2007 the percentage representation in the Pakistan Army as a whole (officers and Other Ranks or soldiers) was as follows: Punjabis: 57%,Pushtuns: 15%, Sindhis: 13.5%,, Kashmiris: 9.11%, Balochis: 3.2%, and Minorities: 0.72%.


  25. General Raheel Shareef is from Punjab province. He was born in Gujrat and lives in Lahore. He is a successor to Mr Kayani, who has lead the Pakistan army for six years through a very difficult period. Let us see how the new general handles pressure and stay away from politics. Regards Sikander Hayat

  26. Pakistan army welcomes new head General Raheel Sharif

    29 November 2013 Last updated at 11:14 GMT

    In a ceremony full of pomp in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, General Ashfaq Kayani has handed over the reins as the country's army chief.

    It is one of the most important roles in South Asia in terms of regional stability, and many observers await to see how his successor General Raheel Sharif will approach the job particularly in relation to the conflict in Afghanistan.

    While many Pakistanis question whether or not their country is safer after General Kayani's tenure, he has been praised for not doing what some army chiefs have done there in the past - stage a coup.

  27. Pakistan means Punjab & Punjab means Pakistan .. same goes for army .
    i'm racist person .. but our terrible history what tell to us we all know ..
    no Sindhi General in army/air force/navy throughout Pakistan's history since time of independence
    first Sindhi elected Prime minister was hanged by punjabi army . and his daughter another first female prime minister in muslim world assassinated by so called pak army back talibans.
    on the day of incident Punjabi army gave order to washout the road & clear evidences from the road ..
    punjabi army is busy to killing innocent baloch and sindhis people .. extra - judicial killing
    like East india Rule .. so called Pakistan national media remain inaccessible from affected areas
    Sindhis & Baloch only want their rights on their land ,.
    Sindh & Baluchistan produce oil , gas , coal & minerals but unfortunately in punjab there is no reserves . Lol maybe God is angry from punjab. :P
    actually problem is punjabi mentality , in 1971 punjabi did mess in bengal and result came as Banadelsh. again punjabi establishment & army want to stop our voices by arms , chemical bombs which are used in balochistan ..

    i want to ask just one thing what is difference between israel & pakistan ??
    is that so called Islamic Republic Pakistan ?? if this is Islam .. then Damn on this islam .. which is responsible to killing innocent people ..
    i couldn't see any difference between Talibans & Pakistan Army .
    :) i hope this post will work as fire for so called Patriotic Pakistanis :D
    Pakistan Army Gen : Ayub khan won election by rigging and in the result of Lady Fatima jinnah lost election ... pakistan army didn't leave Sister of founder of country : LOL
    Pakistan army lost kashmir in tashkent pact . actually pakistan army don't want to resolve kashmir issue ,. because this is burning issue and army wants to alive it that they will make fool pakistani nation :P

  28. a childish and immature comment

  29. BTW what is your definition of Punjabi? Surprised to see that Gen Zia is not accounted as Punjabi? I know for a fact that he was ARAIN from JALANDHAR in east Punjab! Same is the case with Asif Nawaz Junjua. He was a rajput from Jhelum!


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