How much truth in the label of ‘Punjabi’ Army? What the facts and figures tell us
The Army recruits officers based on a quota system for every province.
Punjab has the largest representation in the armed forces, bureaucracy, and judiciary as it is Pakistan’s most populated province.
According to the 2017 census of Pakistan, out of 208 million Pakistanis, 110 million live in Punjab (56%), and the induction in government services is based on administrative quotas.
The Army recruits officers based on a quota system for every province – Punjab being more than 50 percent of the population, is a dominant ethnic group in the Pakistan Army.
Renowned Scholar and Author, Steven Philip Cohen, wrote in his book that when Pakistan was established, the Pakistan Army needed about 4,000 officers for its 1.5 million-strong army and only 2,500 were available. Besides the temporary commissioned and short service officers, the shortage was filled by about 500 British officers.
Steven P. Cohen added that since the independence of Pakistan, it had been calculated that in the areas that joined Pakistan, 77% of recruitments from the time of the war were from Punjab, 19.7% from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.2% from Sindh, and only 0.06% from Baluchistan.
The ratio is more or less the same today. About 75% of the troops are from the four districts of Punjab – Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum, and Chakwal.
On the regional affiliation of officers joining the Pakistan Army, Cohen wrote, “Every year, about 320 officers between the ages of 17 and 22 have been sought after in Pakistan who are selected for the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul.
Is the top leadership of the army Punjabi?
Since the independence of Pakistan, the army has been commanded by 16 Army Chiefs, of which the first two were British. Out of 14 native commanders, four were Pashtun, one was Baloch, three were immigrants, and six were Punjabi.
At present, the proportion of provinces in the Pakistan Army is more or less commensurate with their population. According to the 2017 census, Punjab is 52.95% of the total population and now has the same share in the army. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 14.59% of the total population, and its proportion in the military is the same.
Similarly, the proportion of Baluchistan, which is 5.94% of the total population, is also being continuously increased in the army.
Power politics has its own dynamics in which many elements are involved. The proportion of all provinces in the Pakistan Army are in line with their population.
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