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Military Culture: A Dynamic Phenomenon

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Military culture is a dynamic phenomenon which undergoes evolution in consonance with changing environments. Effects of changes may not be sudden or abrupt but over a period of time; however the variations in environment have potential to alter the entire character of an army. Sequel to this, organizational changes have direct bearing on military culture, as they define the lifestyle of a military outfit. These changes coupled with increased requirements of specialized outfits due to intrinsic geographical diversity have catalyzed cultural shifts in our military. These smaller and particular set ups have actually created/likely to lead to a no of variant or sub-cultures in the army. This sub-cultural shift if not controlled and channelized may result into serious mutations from our very strong, seasoned and well evolved military values as well as culture.

In view of above, carryout an in depth study of change in the culture of Pakistan Army attributable to organizational changes as well as concept of specialized outfits with a view to suggest remedial measures to offset any ill-tendencies / disadvantages.



Culture is diverse in nature. It exists everywhere on this earth. Pakistan is has a rich Culture which is a blend of various cultures that existed in the sub­continent during the pre-partition era. Our psycho-social and socio-economic environment has deteriorated over the past decades. The employment of units in Sub Conventional Warfare in the last decade and due to Indians Pro Active Operations Strategy has affected the military culture in Pakistan Army. The military culture whether it is affected by the organizational changes and establishing of the satellite cantonments or not is a question that has been discussed in this paper. The social and cultural problems like reduced ethical values, increased careerism, individualism etc has greatly influenced the military lifestyle. The military culture which had very strong values, customs and traditions is undergoing a process of degradation. More so the media and general awareness has also played a major role in giving rise to materialistic approach among the officers and soldiers alike.

This study has highlighted the reasons for the degeneration of military culture and also gives certain recommendations which can reduce the level of deterioration and revive the lost traditions which are a hallmark of our Military Culture.


S/No Title Page


1 Theme ii

2 Abstract iii

3 Table of Contents iv


4 a. Basic definitions and historical perspective 2

b. Roots of Military Culture of Sub Continent 10



5 a. Organizational / role changes over past 16

decade in Pakistan Army

b. Strengths of Military Culture 17

c. Deformation in Military Culture due to Changes 19

in organization and Role


6 Effects of socio-cultural disorder on Pakistan Army 23


7 Recommendations 27

8 Bibliography 33


"An Army without culture is dull witted army, and a dull witted army cannot defeat the enemy"

Moa Tse Tung


1. Cultural and social changes have been a dominant part of the evolution of mankind. Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society [1] . Military society is a unique and distinct entity with it's own sub-culture. This form of culture provides an environment under which leadership and management are exercised in the armed forces. Military culture is often determined and modified by the nature of the society of its origin. Although the elements of the military culture like training, discipline, codes, conditioning etceteras play a pivotal role to bring about changes in the cultural traits of military personnel, the cultural traits of the society remains its very foundation.

2. For a military outfit it is extremely important to have a team equipped with an enriched military culture which can deliver in the hour of need. What makes a soldier fight? In some cases it is the motivation based on ideology, in others it may be materialistic motives. It takes a wide span of time to inculcate all those attributes which a soldier needs to withstand challenges in the combat. This is a whole time commitment where one spends more time in dealing with professional choirs than with normal society. History is witness to the fact that military culture has played a key role in the final outcome of many battles. Culture is a barometer of society's health. An eroded culture will be a reflection of the illness of a society and vice versa.

3. After 9/11, not only affected the society of our country but also transformed the military culture of Pakistan Army a lot. The Sub Conventional Wars in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Swat and areas of Balochistan resulted in formation of new specialized outfits with specific tasks. Indians Pro Active Strategy has also resulted in the organizational changes as well in the form of establishment of new satellite stations/ cantonments. These organizational changes has affected the military culture in Pakistan Army prevailing a decade ago resulting in the deformation of already established military customs, traditions and culture. There is a dire need to identify the deformation that has taken place and the effort that is required to remove/ correct them.


4. To carry out an in depth study of changes in Pakistan Army culture in historic perspective, current changes in the culture attributable to organizational / specialized outfit related transformations, with a view to suggesting remedial measures to offset the deformation in the military culture.



Basic Definitions

5. In order to undertake the study it is imperative to understand the following basic concepts so as to build a sound base for the analysis.

a. Society. The English word "society emerged in the 15th century and is derived from the French word societe. The French word, in turn, had its origin in the Latin word societas, which means a 'friendly association with others," from socius meaning "companion, associate, and comrade or business partner." The Latin word is probably related to the verb sequi, "to follow", and thus originally may have meant "follower" [2] . In political science, the term is often used to mean the totality of human relationships, generally in contrast to the State, i.e., the apparatus of rule or government within a territory. In the social sciences such as sociology, society has been used to mean a group of people that form a semi-closed social system, in which most interactions are with other individuals belonging to the group. Societies may also be organized according to their political structure. In order of increasing size and complexity, there are bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and state societies. These structures may have varying degrees of political power, depending on the cultural geographical and historical environments that these societies must contend with. Thus, a more isolated society with the same level of technology and culture as other societies is more likely to survive than one in closer proximity to others that may encroach on their resources. A society that is unable to offer an effective response to other societies it competes with will usually be subsumed into the culture of the competing society.

b. Ethos. Ethos, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as "the characteristic spirit, prevalent tone of sentiment, of a people or community; the 'genius' of an institution or system", although it originally has its roots in the Greek word 'etho' or "to be accustomed to" [3] . In a place where one might gather often, the opportunity for developing communal values indefinitely arises. These types of values are those which are established in the meaning of ethos. Therefore, to be a good example of ethos, one most portray the types of traits that are most valued within a society which sometimes differs for every society. For example, those virtues as related to Athens would be "justice, courage, temperance, magnificence, magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, prudence, and wisdom. [4] 

c. Culture. Culture is defined as "the sum of symbols, ideas, forms of expression, and material products associated with a social system". It is a dynamic medium through which societies create a collective way of life reflected in such things as beliefs, values, music, literature, art, dance, science, religious ritual, and technology. In this sense, it is literally the source from which we create most of what we experience as reality, and as such its place in human life is enormously important [5] . "Culture is the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior. Culture thus consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes, institution, tools, techniques, work of art, rituals, ceremonies, and other related components. Some researchers say that culture is concerned with the state of mind, spirit and civilization. Even human society also enjoys its own particular culture, or socio-­culture system which overlaps with other systems. Variations among socio-cultural system are attributed to physical habits and stretches to the range of possibilities. Culture is inherent in various areas of activity, such as language, rituals and customs. The attitude, values, ideals and beliefs of individuals are greatly influenced by the culture in which they live. Precisely, culture is the sum total of the ways of life of people in a particular society. "Culture is the key to understanding a group, has a lot of practical value to a sociologist. If we know the culture and its implication for man or group of men, we can predict certain part of their behavior, and explain most of its part actions. Following aspects of culture are vital [6] .

(1) Culture is a continuously changing process. It adapts itself to new situation and environment though it is not observed since the changing process is quite slow apparently but has deep under currents.

(2) Whenever culture of a society is dilated upon, the instance of that society is not protected.

d. Mores. Mores are norms that reflect deeply held cultural ideals about how people should behave. Mores make more important distinctions, such as those between good and evil, virtuous and sinful, laudable and repugnant. A society's mores define standards of behaviour that are more serious and punishment for their violation tends to be both more certain and more severe. Mores extend beyond the rightness or wrongness of certain acts to the most profound ideas about life in a society is supposed to be about [7] .

e. Military Culture. The military society is a unique and a distinct entity with its own sub culture. This form of culture provides an environment under which leadership and management are exercised in the armed forces. Military culture is often determined and modified by the nature of the society and of its origin, although, the elements of culture like training, discipline ,codes, conditioning etc play a significant role to bring about changes in the cultural traits of military personnel, nevertheless, the cultural traits of the entire society remains as the foundation. Since differences or changes in cultural traits are brought about by these elements, they become factors of consideration, particularly in crisis or battle situation. The performance and conduct of soldiers in crisis and battle are the sum total of cultural traits they have imbibed over a period. Military culture is generally based on ideals of honour, sacrifice and discipline, thereby appearing different from the traditional value system of any society. The extent of attainment of these ideals; account for the professional rating of the military. This consequently differentiates a professional army from a non­professional one. Pakistan Army evolved along with the history of the nation itself and has experienced modifications of its military culture at various critical times. The different stages that the army experienced has helped to modify its culture to what it is today exercising both positive and negative trends on its professionalism.

Historical Perspective

6. Genesis of Military Culture in a Global Perspective. Military culture can be traced back to the genesis of human society itself. The interesting phenomenon is that despite the wide diversity of the world's cultural scene, military culture all over, has the same basic ingredients and therefore cannot be isolated drastically from the national culture. Military culture breeds respect, honour and regard for fellow soldiers. Its builds a positive culture in which its members live. It is the mainstay of any successful military organization [8] . Military culture, apart from geographical influences, also has deep historical roots in the genesis of the particular army as well. The armies raised by the colonial powers retain the imprints of colonial occupation in their overall outlook. As humans developed their dwellings into communal groups and the network of tribal society began spreading, so did the profession of arms. Initially all members of the clan were supposed to take up arms whenever circumstances necessitated acquiring or retaining. As civilization grew larger, different people took to different walks of life. This was the origin of professionals. In order to understand the genesis of military culture in its broader perspective, Ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece will be mention here:-

a. Military Culture of Ancient Egypt. Egypt is known as a land of ancient wisdom [9] . By the 1468 BC, small groups of people started settling down along the banks of the Nile. These settlements became small villages and in time the headman of one village grew stronger and more powerful than his neighbours. Finally his descendants became rulers were known as Pharaohs and there subjects worshiped them as gods [10] . The first Pharaoh to rule the Kingdom of upper and lower Nile was Menes, but Hyksos was the first ruler who organized the army and gave birth to the ancient military culture of Egypt. The Hyksos dynasty were driven out by Ahmes in 1567 BC, and from his time onwards, the practice of methods of war became an essential part of the Pharaoh's training curriculum. The cities needed dedicated people to defend them and the state needed a powerful army to implement its policies within and without. The Army was the only tangible instrument of power, so great care was taken to indoctrinate its members in a way that that believed in the divinity of the monarch. The important components were:­-

(1) Chivalry.

(2) Courage.

(3) Honour.

(4) Duty.

(5) Patriotism.

(6) Sense of Sacrifice.

(7) Fidelity.

(8) Unquestioned Obedience.

(9) Divinity of the Cause.

b. Military Culture of the Greeks. Greeks are a part of our mental furniture, our cultural baggage. Alternatively, they are the rock on which the painfully constructed edifices of our experiences actually rest [11] . But which Greeks are they, precisely, whom we should look back to, to trace the genesis of military culture? Alexander, the greatest flag bearer of Greek Culture, was not a Greek but a Macedonian. Nevertheless, Greeks were a warrior people. War, as Heraclites of Ephesus put it round about 500 BC, "is the king and father of all things and all men, some he makes free some slaves. War in ancient Greece, defined the political rights and responsibilities of citizens and colonies, as well as providing a peculiarly demanding test of brute physique and mental strength. It drew the line between the free and the unfree both within the Greek world and between the Greeks and the surrounding barbarian or non-Greek cultures. Apart from their cardinal values of their military culture, the Greeks had moral opposition to militarism that sets classical Greek military culture apart from that of the peoples, ancient or modern, making it ancestral in particular to 'Western' military culture [12] .


7. The Indus Valley civilization and culture emerged in about 2500 B.C. Later in 3rd century BC, King Ashoka gave a concept of highly trained and professional Army to the subcontinent. Military culture based on Ashoka's values of bravery and wisdom, flourished in the land for the centuries to come.

Early Muslim Conquests and Our Military Culture

(1) In early 8th century, Muhammad Bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir's army at Hyderabad. This exposed people of Subcontinent to the Islamic military culture based on brotherhood, bravery, justice, equality, honour and sacrifice.

(2) The next major exposure to our military culture was of Muslim sultanate which was established in Delhi by early 13th century. In 16th century the Mongols, who were the decedents of Genghis Khan swept over the mountain passes from Central Asia came to this region. Now, besides the balanced culture of Islam, the harsh culture of YASA (the constitution of the Genghis Khan), the cast-ridden culture of Hinduism and soft culture of Buddhists and Confucius got induced into the military culture of Subcontinent.

The British Colonial Era

(1) The next cultural big bang occurred due to the arrival of British on the scene. The British restructured and reorganized the local forces. British Raj influenced various facets of our military culture like customs, institutions, and ceremonies.

(2) In British Indian Army, religious tendencies were not advocated; rather British officers laid emphasis on loyalty, duty and regimentation. They presented new ideas like mess culture and the creation of rank of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO). They also created phenomenal training institutions like Military College Jhelum and Command and Staff College Quetta. So our military culture till independence was a cluttered culture of various civilizations and did not have a single theme to be pursued.

Transition Period (1947 - 1953). 1947 brought new dreams, new hopes and new challenges for the new army. That was the right time to identify our true military culture and shun all unwanted elements. But unfortunately that could not happen because at the time of independence Pakistan Armed Forces were deficient of officers. The shortage of officers, forced Pakistan Armed Forces to retain almost 500 British officers on contract at senior command and staff appointments, who maintained status quo. Therefore, Pakistan Armed Forces could not find their cultural identity in its new composite entity. Disengagement of the residual British officers in 1953 was the beginning of the development of a new military culture.

Consolidation Era (1953 - 1971). This phase witnessed political instability and the appointment of General Ayub Khan as the Commander-In-Chief. This era brought the idea of "Martial Law" in the Pakistan Armed Forces. Present shortcomings in our present military culture, due to interactions with the civilians, have their roots embedded in the time frame of consolidation era i.e. from 1953 to 1971. Another important happening in this time frame was the realization that we should give away the British traditions and in this search of our identity and national pride, the pride in affiliation with the British Crown was disowned by symbolic removal of the word "Royal" that preceded all unit designations. This era also saw 1965 War. The armed forces enjoyed an intimate backing from the civilian masses and the war made soldiers as national heroes.

e. Period From 1971 - 1977

(1) This era witnessed the darkest turn in our National history. Nation faced a political defeat in a military arena.

(2) On the contrary, the strength of the Armed Forces was not decreased and the Government maintained a strong and efficient military. Our culture did not change much in this period but the masses and the Armed Forces started feeling the requirement of integrating the Islamic values into their daily lives.

f. Period From 1977 - 1988

(1) This era again brought the Armed Forces to the center stage of national politics. In this phase, religion remained central to General Zia's philosophy. Changes such as comprehensive ban on drinking were implemented. A cultural shift from a westernized life style to a more Islamic life style started to begin.

(2) Military co-operation with other countries improved. It was estimated that about 30,000 Pakistani troops were stationed in 24 different countries in 1983. This brought a wave of prosperity among the officers and men. There was a swift shift of culture in this time frame from western style to core oriental and Islamic way of military life style. This was the era whose impressions can still be found in our present military culture.

Period From 1988 - 1999. This era was characterized by democratic rule and political instability. In a span of seven years, four governments were changed. Due to self interest of various political parties, the political atmosphere remained charged. In spite of tall claims, the economic state depleted and foreign investment decreased due to rampant corruption, deteriorating law and order and political instability. During this decade, both India and Pakistan became overtly nuclear. This gave a temporary boost to National spirit and the public sentiments aroused. This was immediately followed by the Kargil Campaign. Our culture, however, did not change much during this decade.

Period From 1999 to 2007

(1) General Pervaiz Musharaf took over as Chief Executive after military coup. Qualified / suitable Retired military / civilians were appointed as heads of prime organizations which gave an economic boost to these organizations. This era also attracted foreign investment, offered better job opportunities and increase in foreign exchange reserves. Some of its achievements were:-

(a) WAPDA was saved by the Army from total disaster.

(b) Pakistan Railways was rescued and it started giving profit.

(c) Steel Mill also started giving profit.

(d) Media became independent and a lot of private channels were opened.

(2) The events of 9 / 11 changed the complexion of international environment and perception of our people. Government decided to become an ally of NATO forces on Global War on Terror (GWOT). Effects of this strategic shift can be seen even today. In later stage of his reign General Musharraf lost his pride as a leader which had direct influence on the image of the Army. This era can conveniently be termed as one man show. The episode of Dr Abdul Qadir Khan, assassination of Akbar Bugti, Lal Masjid operation and removal of Chief Justice, holding of President office being in uniform and emergency declared on 3rd Nov 2010 were some of the controversial decisions resulted in the decline of Musharaf's era.

i. 2008 till todate

(1) Army pulled out from all political institutions. Elections were held and Political Government was set in. Inefficient people with accelerated promotions got appointed as heads of prime institutions. At occasions, National and Provincial Assemblies gave a picture of fish market. The institution which had the public mandate lost its value, resultantly all organization from transport (PIA and railways) to energy sectors are on verge of collapse. Corruption, lawlessness, injustice, worst energy short fall, unabated inflation and price-hike have further compounded the situation in the country. There seems to be no strategy to give relief to the commoners. Uncontrolled and un-steered media became a monster. Instead of providing strength to the society it started to bash various organizations with Army as no exception. Presently, talk shows have become famous for blame game and use of un-parliamentary language. Some of the under mentioned incidents clearly show planned Army bashing by media and politicians:-

(a) 2nd May incident.

(b) Memogate scandal.

(c) Salala post incident.

(d) North Atlantic Treaty Organization supplies issue.

(2) However, during this period Army totally remained focused on military affairs and improved its image. Professionalism came back and training took the center stage. Some of the highlights of this period are appended below:-

Army level war games (AzmeNau series).

Year of soldier with introduction of Base line menu.

Pay package was considerably increased.

Introduction of Yum e Shuhada including Shuhada package.

Year of training focusing back to basics.

Army level study periods.

Incentive of free uniform and plots for JCOs / soldiers.

Revision of policies.

Improvement in Information Technology environment (inclusion of Office Automated System).

Success of Military Operation in Swat.

Management of Internally displaced personnel (IDPs).

Introduction of combat dress.

Enhanced accountability.


Organizational / Role Changes over Past Decade in Pakistan Army

8. Organizational Changes. After the incident of 9/11 and the following Global War on Terrorism brought not only changes to the Pakistani Society but also had definite changes onto the military culture of Pakistan Army. It changed the outlook of almost entire army as to how it looked before its commitment in the Sub Conventional Warfare's operations. It definitely had some positive aspects to its credit but as far as military culture is concerned it brought some drastic unwanted changes and deformation. The organizational changes that took place during this decade were:-

a. Commitment of Army in civilian affairs to include monitoring of various state run institutions which were decaying due to inefficiency, which included:-

(1) WAPDA.

(2) Government educational institute.

(3) Hospitals.

(4) Census.

(5) Elections.

(6) Railways.

(7) Pakistan Steels and others.

b. Pakistan Army moved to the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Area along the Durand line after the invasion of Afghanistan by United States of America. Pakistan Army moved to these areas for the first time after the independence. The units and formations those were deployed have a changed role not previously practiced or known to them. They were not properly trained for this type of warfare. These units had to undergo changes not only in their role but also in their military culture due to the changed environment. These changes in the military cultures were demand of the situation and time. With the passage of time these unwanted deformation in the military customs and cultures came with these changes in the organization and roles of the units and formations of army.

9. Evolution of Special Units/Outfits. The last decade saw changes in terms of evolution of specialized outfit and units. The raising of these units, outfits and organizations vastly improve the combat potential of the Pakistan Army. The evolution and raising of these new units and outfits was the need of the hour. These specialized units were trained; equipped and stationed at special locations in consonance with their operational roles. The examples in case are Light Commando Battalions and Units of Army Strategic Force Command. Due to their peculiar roles and task, these units were cut off from the routine life of a cantonment; adversely affecting the military culture of these outfits.

10. Establishments of Satellite Station/Cantonments. In the last one decade, Indian Army has been evaluating and practicing its Pro Active Operations Strategy. This strategy has serious consequences for Pakistan Army resulting in the construction and establishments of new forward cantonments/satellite stations. Pakistan Army's response to Indian's Pro Active Operations Strategy is New Concept of War Fighting. This entailed moving of troops to forward locations during the peace time. This factor has further put troops and officers away from the main cantonments and away from the military cultures. This also includes affecting the training and grooming of all ranks.

11. Strengths of Military Culture. Pakistan Armed Forces enjoys the reputation of being a professional combat force capable of taking on any operational task. This has been proved time and again by our troops engaged in the nation building, United Nations peace keeping missions and during war with India. Some of the strengths of our military culture are:-

a. Symbol of National Unity. Ever since its emergence, military has maintained its nationalistic ethos despite various cultural, ethnic, religious rifts gripping Pakistani society. The military has a stature of being above these, thus acting as a unifying force for the country. The role it played in subduing the anti national forces has earned them the respect and are being viewed as the Symbol of National Unity.

b. Strength of Institution. The institution of armed forces is constituted on strong ideological foundations of defense of the motherland from internal and external threats.

c. National Army. Military culture has an inherent flexibility of warmly accepting all individuals without any discrimination of caste, creed or colour. A large number of Balochi Youth has been inducted in all arms and services of Pakistan Army not only to bring them in mainstream but also to make Pakistan Army as true National Army. It approves healthy competition of achieving professional excellence and rightful doings.

d. Religious Values. The recruitment of armed forces is carried out on voluntary basis. Because of the inherent religious strength of our society the desire for martyrdom has always been the prime facet of our military culture.

e. Fair System. Military has a system of checks and balances. It is for the same reason that individuals even holding the top most positions in hierarchy were brought to books. The principle of fair play and justice has made this profession well reputed amongst leading professions.

f. Institutional Efficiency. Armed Forces are the most well organized and responsive institution in the country, and derives vital strength from its traditional values and strong moral ethics. Conversely the military culture's strength lies in the efficiency of the organization that it supports.

g. Professionalism and Sense of Responsibility. Professionalism has always been the hallmark of our military culture. It includes:-

Commendable standards of training.

(2) Bravery.

(3) Dedication and devotion to duty.

(4) Impartiality and adoptability.

h. Faith in Leadership and Prevailing System. The officer class has the faith in present leadership. Similarly the lower ranks have faith in their officers.

i. Versatility. The military displays tremendous versatility, in responding to varying tasks, be it rescue and rehabilitation during natural calamities, internal security, international peacekeeping, mega organizational projects like SAAF Games, international high level conferences and other events of the kind. Doing all this in a befitting manner in otherwise unstable socio-politico environment of the country, has earned it the reputation of sound administration.

j. Nation Building. As an institution Armed Forces have contributed tremendously towards all nation building mega projects such as construction of roads like KKH, desilting of canals, conduct of census, expansion of telecommunication network, enhancing of goods transportation resources, extending medical care and educational facilities in the remotest areas.

k. Sports. It is an important facet of our military culture, which has facilitated in maintaining the morale and physical health of all ranks.

Deformation in Military Culture due to Changes in Organaization and Role

12. Discipline. The purpose of discipline in the military is to bind together a number of vastly different individuals into an organized group which works as a unit. The saluting, dress and turnout is the direct gauge of the standard of discipline of any organization. Saluting used to be the pride of a soldier but over a period of time has deteriorated considerably. The root cause of almost all the problems is laxity in discipline which has occurred over a period of time due to weak individual discipline at various levels. There is a need to go back to basics.

13. Conformism. Our misplaced concepts of discipline, loyalty and obedience have bred excessive conformism in our officers and junior leaders. Difference of opinion is regarded as an act of disobedience and is thus not a desired virtue in the Army. This attitude is detrimental both to a satisfactory intellectual growth of the leaders and overall progress of the organization. Conditioned by a false value system, our officers tend to rigidly follow formats, expect and give detailed orders and in situations where guidance and order are not forthcoming, find themselves at a loss to respond effectively and confidently.

14. Institutional Degeneration. The history of the Pakistan Army is of an institution without steady and continuous growth rather a series of adhoc expansions and reforms. The present times have witnessed revolutionary changes in all segments of the societies including the armed forces. The most serious inroads and fissures for people in uniform have occurred in challenges imposed on its traditional and long cherished norms and values pertaining to the officers' corps. A more career conscious and materialistic approach has emerged. Achievement orientation has been replaced by relentless pursuit of career progression and a host of other bureaucratic practices which have not only replaced the cherished core values but brought about a total change in the ethical and moral code of the military profession.

15. Heavy Commitments. Over the years, the commitments in the Army (particularly non-professional and administrative) have multiplied placing added strain on units and the men.

16. Regimentation. Under the garb of loyalty with unit / formation / regiment, a negative trend of indulgence in undesirable activities in the name of battalion / regiment like accumulation of command funds through unfair means is being practiced and accepted as legal right. This trend has given rise to malpractice by all concerned who deal with accounting of rations, stores etcetera. Similarly during training and sports competitions this negative trend is markedly visible. Units indulge in all sorts of gimmick to win a competition by hook or by crook. This rising tendency of organizing unit becoming first in the competition also speaks of this negative trend.

17. Careerism. Projection of one's image for the sake of creating an impression is a common sight. This career consciousness has raised the fear of being caught on the wrong foot, the fear of making mistakes of being checked and so many other unwanted fears. A tendency to go all out for ensuring vertical climb is noticed on part of some.

18. Mess Life. In good old days, cities being far away, messes were big attraction for officers. It was the only place where officers found the way to satisfy their interests after work. It also gave an opportunity of interaction between senior and junior officers in an informal way. A very upright and stern looking senior in the unit was a friend in the mess. At present, messes are almost barren.

19. Civilian Military Interaction. Till 1970s, cantonments remained out of cities but were coming close. Officers were leading their lives in a pure military culture. Due to the mergence of cantonments and cities all the evils existing in civilian life are creeping into military culture as well. This is one of the major causes of decay of military culture.

20. Deprivation of Sense of Pride. A soldier's pride lies in his duties and service for a cause. The employment of combat soldiers on non military duties such as batman, mess, welfare shops, maintenance and cleanliness of garrisons is highly detrimental to his pride. The saving of petty amount by employing soldiers on such duties may prove very costly in the longer run.

21. Financial Problems. Although pay and allowances have been increased from time to time yet there is a feeling among the officers that their peers in civil are better paid. Army provides the best of facilities in shape of living, education and health, there is a need to make our officers aware of these facilities. At the same time there is a need to revise the pay and allowances more frequently to afford a chance to the officers to live decently.

22. Technological Advancements. Technological change associated with industrialization and modernization has created vast challenges as well as benefits. Changes that began with mechanization and automation have led to stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, genetic engineering and biotechnology, robotics, and the globalization of electronic telecommunications. These developments continue to change the world in which we live. Social problems of technological change range from unemployment and the loss of personal privacy and control, from ethical dilemmas to social inequality, and from cultural lag to cultural colonialism.

23. The prolonged involvement of military into these operations has created debilitating effects on military culture. These changes brought following changes:-

a. Unit cohesiveness and cultural identity has broken due to piecemeal involvement of sub units in low intensity conflicts.

b. Loss of morale and motivations due to confused reasons/cause of these activities.

c. Pride in the uniform has witnessed substantial downfall due to media campaign to malign the military.

d. Professional grooming and training of officers has been adversely affected



24. Pakistan Army, being an offspring of a society having a subculture derived from the same culture as that of the nation is the true reflection of the same. The virtue and evils prevalent in the environment has badly affected the Army. A highly structured and morally sound society will preserve an institution of the same grade, because the character of man is shaped by the environment where he lives. On the contrary a society with low morality, and free of ethical norms should not expect its institutions to remain clean and straight. Being free from political pressure and having independent power base, the institution has succeeded to some extent to remain upright in the present environment, some of the effects of the socio-cultural disorder on the Army are as following:­-

a. Value System. The profession of arms demands ethical values of unique nature. These values are also known as military traditions; which dictates and guides the members towards a way of life which makes them different from the members of other institutions. The values and traditions encompass both professional obligations, as member of a highly esteemed professional organization, and social requirements, as member of not only a well knitted social organization but also of the society as a whole. Members of Pakistan Army were once seen as models in behaviour. They always displayed a high standard of conduct. The problem lies in the believe that how is it possible to maintain the credibility of the Army while living in a society which has lost its direction due to reasons discussed above. The traditions and values of the Army have been greatly affected by the deteriorating socio cultural environment.

b. Reduced Professional Commitment. The changed values in the Army have diverted their focus of attention, to a great extent from professional attainment. After 1971 war with India the Army took a different role and was used as an instrument of power to keep people in power. Its involvement in issues for which it was not trained badly affected its operational readiness. Coming to the rescue of civil governments now and then was another factor which took it away from its basic role which is to defend its frontiers. It is only after its involvement in the GWOT that it has restored its operational readiness and has made up for its lost stature in the past. You can very clearly make out from the body language of a soldier on duty in the cantonments about his operational readiness.

c. Psychological Effects. Ever since its inception Army now and then has been used as an instrument of power, many people joined Army whether as a soldier or an officer was on the same pretext. People in the civil would often talk about the Army having ultimate powers, although at times in an exaggerated manner. This feeling trickled down in the military as a superiority complex. This behaviour got strengthened in the martial law regimes particularly. Then the incident of 9/11 took place which brought another psychological turn to the Army. In the civil society the legitimacy of GWOT is questioned frequently. The same effect can be seen in the Army as well. This all has also affected the fighting capability of the Army, as it is not possible to fight without complete conviction.

d. Shift of Emphasis. War whether conventional or unconventional is a course of action during which most unexpected and undesirable situation can be faced. The fear of unknown, tension, and death always looms over a soldier, but despite all these fears he still faces the odds just for his believe in the life hereafter and attainment of the exalted status of a Shaheed. With the materialistic approach discussed earlier, the belief on Jehad and desire for Shahadat has been replaced by urge for material gains. Now a days joining the Army for most people is securing a source of livelihood.

e. Self - Respect and Prestige. Pakistan Army has always enjoyed self respect in the hearts of the nation. This image started gradually deteriorating after the military take over in 1977. Weak institutions which could not operate independently were at the mercy of help from the Army. Interaction with civilians working in institutions like education department and WAPDA gave birth to corruption and took the image of Army down the drain. Incident of 9/11 with all its negative outfall had something in positive, it made people believe that Army still has its strength and can very well guard its frontiers may that be western or eastern. The image of Army has improved further after the recent elections.

f. Economic Effects. Pakistan Army's personnel live in the society in close interaction with social forces. They can not live in isolation, as such they are also pressurized by the demands of the present day society. The people with eroded moral values tend towards material gains irrespective of the source. Though Army's check and balance system has greatly kept it away from these immoral turpitudes, yet there were occasions when army personnel were involved in acts like bribery, robberies etc.

g. Technological Progress. Rapid progress made by the technology over the past decade has also affected the military life style. On one hand it has increased the general awareness among the troops and officers whereas it has created an environment of inactivity among the officers. This can for sure be considered one of the major factors of deteriorating mess life. The officers earlier would go the mess in the evening to watch the television and satellite broadcasted channels which would provide a good opportunity for all to socialize. With the invent of cable network and access to internet in the rooms have restricted the officers particularly the young officers from going to the mess in the evening or playing games.

h. Environment of Mutual Trust and Respect. With the passage of time it has been observed that the young officer pays less respect and respect is confined to individual's interest. Saluting which used to be pride of a soldier is now undertaken reluctantly.



25. Having gone through the problems it is believed that some of the problems are self created and result of unnecessary gripe and cribbing. By now it is established that the Military Society beholds only a subculture variation of the various cultures being adorned by the people of the Country. Whatever goodness or evil that is present in these host cultures is going to manifest in the subculture of Military. However, this does not absolve the Military of its due share in the responsibility of cultural reformation. There are number of steps which if adopted and pursued vigorously will help in the revival of Military culture. These recommendations can be categorized in short and long terms.

a. Short Term Measures

(1) Steps to Reduce the Gap between Leaders and Led. Before any of the measures to revive the military culture it is important to revive the brotherhood and cohesion among fellow soldiers including officers and men. Some measures in this regard are:­-

(a) Specific quota for commission, say 10 - 12 percent, should be delegated for the individuals who has a quest to rise and excellence, from the ranks. Later phased elimination of the Junior Commissioned Officer rank may be considered as enough competence is infused into the non-commissioned ranks by the policy of offering regular commission to outstanding Non Commissioned Officers.

(b) A single ward for male and female instead of having separate wards for officers and soldiers would provide good treatment facilities to all.

(c) Married accommodation for soldiers on all stations must be given high priority. Declaring 2008 as 'Year of Soldier' has greatly addressed this issue. Extending this program for another 3-5 years would pay rich dividends.

(d) On large stations Soldiers' Adult Literacy schools can be established to educate the less educated soldiers and their families.

(2) Refreshing Religious Beliefs. An all out effort must be made by commanders at various levels to revive and refresh the religious virtues. After engaging in fight against Taliban this issue needs to be given serious attention. Legitimacy of this fight about which certain people have doubts must be made clear so that the Army stands firm while dealing with this menace which is a matter of serious concern to all.

(3) Traditions and Values. Traditions are important to be maintained for the revival of military culture but should be made simple and austere. The values and traditions to serve the colonial rule should be given away. But at the same time the traditions which helped in maintaining morale and values must be kept.

(4) Austerity Drive. Austerity in our culture has become a dogma, to be exploited by the rich and suffered by the poor. Much hype is created about it every time nation reaches at the brink but soon it is dumped as soon as the signs of distress start to fade. The Military Culture shares absolutely equally in this extravagance which is painfully visible in the military life, with and exponential rise with rising ranks. Some suggestions of the Military Culture are:­-

(a) Bicycles be made compulsory as fair weather traveling means inside the cantonments for plying between residences and the offices for all ranks below 50 years of age. This will also keep the officers fit and healthy.

(b) All new official cars should be purchased of a capacity not in excess of 1000 cc.

(c) Officers not in possession of motorcars and motorbikes should also be given extra allowance.

(d) Formal and informal dresses be made simple and in consonance with the weather and culture of the Country.

(e) Offices, official residences, guest rooms and officers' mess must be kept simple and inexpensive to provide a model for simple living.

(f) Menus on official functions should be kept as simple as possible.

(g) Ceremonial functions like Installation Ceremonies etc must be kept simple.

(5) Zero Error Syndrome. The initiative and self assurance of the officers and soldiers can only be restored if the supervisors are ready to face some blunders and mistakes. The juniors may that be an officer or a soldier will commit mistake when they are allowed to perform a task and will in turn learn from those mistakes. Commanders at all levels must shun away the Zero Error Syndrome and adopt a more practical approach which may be difficult initially.

(6) Revival of Mess Culture. Mess is a focus for social life, an essential element in the upbringing of young officers and most importantly has a pivotal role in fostering the esprit-de­-corps. It is to our judgement as to how we can improve and make our mess life more attractive for our young and senior officers alike so that this important institution plays its assigned role. It is safe to assume that unless the younger lot decides to uphold the decorum of the mess and improve the environment, no body else is in a position to do this for them.

(7) Senior - Junior Relationship. Discipline is one of the hallmarks of military lifestyle. Seniors must behave in a manner that they command respect rather then demanding it. At the same time the juniors should not forget that they have to become seniors one day. Misbehavior on part of junior officers and soldiers should not be taken lightly and strict disciplinary action must be taken against the culprits.

b. Long Term Measures

(1) Policy Research Institute. The powers of coercion are often used indiscriminately by the Military. It may be used to implement policies, but cannot be availed to enforce attitude and behaviour, which are the reflections of a culture. These are important matters which need professional analysis. An institution should therefore, be established to act as a diagnostic centre for all sociological matters of the Military.

(2) Ideology of Pakistan. The creation of Pakistan is based on ideology which must remain fresh in the minds of our new generation. They must be aware of the sacrifices made by our elders for liberation of Pakistan where Islamic system could be freely practiced. The ideological frontiers of Pakistan are under constant threat. We must also be aware of our geographical vulnerabilities particularly from cultural view point. Young officers and soldiers must be encouraged to study the history of making of Pakistan.

(3) True Islamic Faith. Efforts must be made by making the soldiers understand the meaning of Jihad in its true context. Religious teachers must be taking regular lectures on this subject. It is a continuous and time consuming effort, but will bear fruit.

(4) Canteen Stores Department (CSD). The CSD department is doing a wonderful job by running higher purchase schemes, thus, enhancing the buying power of both officers and soldiers. It is recommended that such schemes be made simpler.

(5) Separation of Cantonments from Civilian Areas. Due to different lifestyles of civilians and military personnel the cantonments which are mixed with civilian areas like Lahore, and Karachi, must be separated as it will prevent the feeling of inferiority complex among the military people, and provide an opportunity of socializing within rather than spending the evenings in civil parties.


26. The problems faced by the military represents a broad spectrum. The identification of these pitfalls, their root causes and progressive eradication is a tall order which can be cut short by conviction. Leadership has to Understand and realize the severity of the problem and unflinching resolve to change it. An organization affecting large no of people does not require ages but years to transform. Consistent and proactive policies would bring in the desired transformation. The belief in hard work is vital to strengthen that conviction. The situation at hand demands a trend setter role from the Military for which each of the individual has to play a vital role. If every individual realizes his role in reviving the true military culture, then this daunting task would be over in a much lesser time.

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