The Pakistan Army Special Service Group (SSG),colloquially known as the Maroon Berets:173 due to their distinctive service headgear, is the special operations force of the Pakistan Army mandated and tasked with their five primary missions: foreign internal defense, reconnaissance, direct actions, counter-terrorism, and the unconventional warfare– their most important mission.
The Special Service Group’s other roles included the combat search and rescue, seek and destroy, counter-proliferation, military hostage rescue, information operations, peacekeeping missions, psychological operations, security assistance, and enemy manhunts.
The command and control of the special forces fall in the domain of the Pakistan Army’s Strategic Forces Command (ASFC), and its personnel are directly recruited into ISI’s Covert Action Division (CAD) upon their retirements. Many of their operational work and war techniques are kept in secrecy and knowledge of their work became known in public through the published literary work by the army veterans or authorized documentaries in the news media.
The Pakistan Armed Forces (Urdu: پاکستان مُسَلّح افواج, Pākistān Musāllah Afwāj) are the military forces of Pakistan. They are the sixth largest in the world in terms of active military personnel and the largest among Muslim countries. The armed forces comprise four main service branches – Army, Navy, Air Force and paramilitary forces and the Strategic Plans Division Force. Chain of command of the military is organised under the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) alongside chiefs of staff of the army, navy, and air force. All of the branches work together during operations and joint missions under the Joint Staff Headquarters (JS HQ).
Since the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement, the military has had close military relations with China, working jointly to develop the JF-17, the K-8, and other weapons systems. As of 2013, China was the second-largest foreign supplier of military equipment to Pakistan. Both nations also co-operate on development of nuclear and space technology programs. Their armies have a schedule for organising joint military exercises. The military also maintains close relations with the United States, which gave Pakistan major non-NATO ally status in 2004. Pakistan gets the bulk of its military equipment from local domestic suppliers, China, and the United States.
The armed forces were formed in 1947 when Pakistan became independent from the British Empire. Since then, the armed forces have played a decisive role in the modern history of Pakistan, fighting major wars with India in 1947, 1965 and 1971, and on several occasions seizing control of the government. The need for border management led to the creation of paramilitary forces to deal with civil unrest in the North-West and security of border areas in Punjab and Sindh by paramilitary troops. In 2017, there were approximately 654,000 active personnel in the armed forces, excluding 25,000–35,000+ personnel in the Strategic Plans Division Forces and 482,000 active personnel in the paramilitary forces. The armed forces have a large pool of volunteers so conscription has never been needed, though the Pakistani constitution and supplementary legislation allow for conscription in a state of war.
Accounting for 18.5% of national government expenditure in 2018, after interest payments, Pakistan’s military absorbs the largest part of the country’s budget. The armed forces are generally highly approved of in Pakistani society. Since the founding of Pakistan, the military has played a key role in holding the state together, promoting a feeling of nationhood and providing a bastion of selfless service. As of May 2019, Pakistan was the sixth-largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping efforts, with 5,083 personnel deployed overseas. Other foreign deployments have consisted of Pakistani military personnel serving as military advisers in African and Arab countries. The Pakistani military has maintained combat divisions and brigade-strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the Arab–Israeli Wars, aided the Coalition forces in the first Gulf War, and took part in the Somali and Bosnian conflicts.
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