The Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) was established at Kakul in October 1947 soon after the creation of Pakistan. On 25th January 1948, “The First Pakistan Battalion” was instituted. Its companies were named after the luminaries of Muslim military history i.e, Khalid, Tariq, Qasim, and Salahuddin. Two months later in March 1948, the Battalion was bestowed with Quaid-e-Azam’s patronage as Colonel-in-Chief and the most coveted claim “The Quaid-e-Azam’s Own’ While the Quaid’s failing health prevented him from visiting PMA, Khawaja Nazim-ud-din, the then, Governor-General inaugurated it on behalf of the Quaid-e-Azam and presented the Quaid-e-Azam banner. Ever since, at every passing out parade, it is held aloft with splendid honour by champion company.
Regimental colours presented in 1950 by Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the National Standard in 1961 by General Muhammad Musa, the then, Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, have been some of the honours showered on the Academy, which it has always jealously guarded and kept high in letter and spirit.
The Indo-Pak War of 1965 necessitated Academy’s expansion and Second Pakistan Battalion was raised in December 1965. Its four companies were named after some renowned Muslim military leaders from the subcontinent i.e. Ghaznavi, Babur, Aurangzeb, and Tipu. In early 1989, Third Pakistan Battalion was added to its fold. Its constituent companies were named after some very inspiring military generals in early Muslim history i.e. Haider, Ubaida, Saad, and Hamza.
The Pakistan Military Academy is very proud of hundreds of its graduates who gallantly fought during the Indo-Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971. Amongst them are the four recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, the highest gallantry award, three Hilal-e-Jurat, one hundred and seventy-seven Sitara-e-Jurat, besides innumerable other gallantry awards. Its alumni have vindicated themselves at every moment of trial. They have immensely contributed to vast and variant roles ranging from national defence to national development and from mass relief to national reconstruction in perilous conditions.
PMA has come a long way since its inception in 1947. It has grown and expanded from stage to stage. Over the years, there has been a colossal contribution towards the improvement of the campus and enrichment of its curriculum. Presently, its facilities and curriculum fully cater to all challenges and needs for the foreseeable future.
Abbottabad, at 1220 meters (4000 feet) is named after James Abbott, a British Administrator, who served in the Hazara Division, part of northwest Frontier Province of present Pakistan, in the 1840s and ’50s. It is known as the military town, full of soldiers exercising, parading, playing polo, and practicing the bagpipes. The cantonment area, a reminder of the British era, is full of spacious bungalows surrounded by gardens and pine trees, in addition to a church and a club at the top of the hill. A healthy climate greets the visitor to this town which ranges from moderately cold in the winters to moderately hot in the summers. The town boasts of well-equipped bazaars catering to every need of the individual with modern transport facilities running to all corners of the town.
A short distance from Abbottabad, a fine straight road leads to PMA. Surrounded by beautiful Abbottabad hills in a lush green and serene corner of the valley. PMA provides conceivably the best environment for effective grooming, moulding, and development of Pakistan Army’s future leaders.
It is a place where the development of a sense of Discipline, Honour, Patriotism, and the acquisition of Knowledge is fostered in the cadets to enable them to tackle appropriate academic and military subjects with a wide interest in current world problems and the enthusiasm to continue to increase their knowledge through their own initiative. They develop a deep appreciation of officers’ traditional code of behaviour and embody in themselves the greatest reliability and resolution. Thus PMA provides efficient and promising junior leadership to Pakistan Army.
The cadet of today is the officer of tomorrow; future custodian of his country’s honour. By means of command and authority entrusted in him, he has to enforce obedience and discipline for the achievement of the mission, to serve the state, and to act judiciously in the face of danger to his life.
In the Academy, a cadet is trained to be a man of character who is clear about his aim in life and is committed to the mission and objectives assigned to him.
A Cadet is consistent and courageous, willing to take risks and lead from the front, possesses adequate knowledge, professional competence, and good communicative skills.
Cadet has strong faith in Allah, possesses integrity and detests hypocrisy, and is taught to set a personal example for his followers. His maturity of outlook, his liberal and tolerant attitude enables him to be a “Team Member’ through his comradeship, he ensures the well-being of his subordinates with a marked sense of justice.
He has a strong sense of discipline and duty and is firm in enforcing orders under all circumstances. For him, the country takes precedence over self, and accomplishment of task a matter of faith.
The faculty comprises a rare amalgam action of diverse specialists. May that be an academic discipline, a tactical lesson, an athletic skill, some leadership training, or a feature of character development, it must be taught, conducted, or supervised by highly competent, devoted, and inspiring staff. Besides their independent but hearty investment of time and expertise, they all work in harmony with others so as to have the best of yield. In the entire professional endeavor of the faculty, a cadet remains its focus.
The members of the faculty achieve optimized results through the display of professional excellence, personal involvement, and above all by own exemplified conduct. In their academic pursuits, cadets are required to do their graduation in science or arts subjects, both being university degrees, calls for accomplished academicians to brace the challenge well. PMA’s academic staff consists of highly qualified, experienced, and efficient teachers. All of them have done Master’s in their respective disciplines while a host of them have earned M. Phil or Ph. D degrees.
The courses offered at PMA cover all aspects of human behavior and are devised so as to stimulate the physical and mental capabilities and potential of cadets.
Military training at the Academy comprises a comprehensive package of basic military skills, conceptual appreciation of varied professional knowledge, tactical exercises in simulated battle conditions and classroom instruction, for building Logical mental attitudes, analytical approach, and clarity of thought, all so vital for correct decision-making. Cadets participate in extensive weapon handling practices, numerous tactical exercises in varied terrain and austere climatic conditions and encounter challenges of command in different appointments, as leaders. During their entire stay at PMA, they lead a spartan life, marked by spotless personal appearance, proud participation in parades and ceremonies, high standard of military discipline, and exposure to a host of challenges. Actual combat is the acid test of a true military leader. Cadets receive extensive training in challenging field conditions in the form of assault-course and field-camps so as to be ready for their ultimate test. Some salient features of training methodology are:
The most effective manner to lead is by example. An officer, therefore, ought to be a lot more dexterous in professional skills than his men, to inspire them well. Cadets are given extensive coaching and practice in the handling of different weapons, tips of fieldcraft, and use of signal equipment. Besides, they receive intensive help and guidance in tactical skills, leadership traits, and skills which improve their physical and mental fitness.
Cadets relate their theoretical tactical concepts to ground situations depicted in the form of models. Exhaustive activation of mental processes lead to conceptual clarity and promotes readiness for field operations.
Various aspects of a given topic are discussed. A detailed questionnaire is dished out to the class a day in advance for prior browsing, mental exercise, and preparation. The whole exercise is made very stimulating, ideally suited for analytical work and self-learning.
Tactical Exercises Without Troops (TEWTs)
Cadets move out in the field for a day-long discussion on tactics and other concepts of military operations substantiated by simulated field conditions.
The Academic Programme
The academic subjects taught at PMA are designed to produce a young potential leader with a sound education in appropriate academic subjects, with interest in the current world problems, and enthusiasm to continue to increase his knowledge through his own initiative. There are two courses in Academic Studies which are Science Course (B.Sc) and Arts Course (B.A). English, Military Geography, National & International Affairs, Mutalya-e-Quran, Military & General Science or Social Science are common subjects, while one of the following range of combinations is mandatory:
Mathematics & Physics, Mathematics & Statistics, Mathematics & Computer Science, or Physics & Computer Science.
History & Political Science, History & Economics, Computer Science & Economics, or Statistics & Economics.
Extra Curricular Activities
The physical fitness schedule of gentlemen cadets has been so prepared so as to develop in them optimum agility of body, the robustness of muscles, and sharpness of mind. They are made to do extensive exercises regularly with the help of elaborate and most modern apparatus under the guidance of highly trained coaches. Physical development programs are a mix of challenging physical events, intrepid initiatives, thrilling adventures, and refreshing exercises. An effective junior military leader must be a hardened but agile athlete so as to stand up to all challenges, however, tough and perilous.
Correct physical development creates that warrior-spirit in the cadets which helps them sustain the rigors of active combat and continue fighting for an ultimate win even under heavy odds. Physical training effort begins with cadets’ mastery of individual skills which later finds its extensive application in harder team-events. Physical fitness plays its due part in the strengthening of cadets’ other faculties i.e. intellectual soundness, leadership skills, military training, and above all character-building. It indeed takes into account the psychological, motivational, and emotional aspects of total fitness. Some peculiar features of physical development programs are:
Variety of Sports
Regular participation in sports contributes immensely towards cadets’ physical fitness while variety within its vast range adds to its recreational value. It inculcates in them the sportsman spirit. Facilities for nearly all popular major sports exist i.e. volleyball, football, basketball, rugby, handball, tennis, hockey, squash, cricket, martial arts, fencing, and swimming.
An optional activity is usually conducted during breaks. Nearly all cadets participate in one or the other form of adventure training, whichever suits their aptitude and interest. This activity not only makes them bodily fit but also emboldens their spirits and provides plenty of fun and entertainment. Regular clubs for such activities exist and are equipped with the required modern apparatus. Adventure training regularly conducted includes para jumping, gliding, sailing, angling, scuba-diving and surfing.
Endurance is one of the higher virtues of an effective military leader. Regular stamina and endurance building exercises are conducted to develop the cadet’s physical hardihood, determination, and willpower which include, 1 Mile Run, 9 Mile Race, and long marches spread over days. Besides, their work-filled and event-packed busy daily schedule also contributes toward the same end.
Skills and Agility
Cadets as athletes must become proficient in a host of individual skills. A course of numerous Physical Training Tests develops their body fitness and promotes their agility. They have to engage in frequent tough conditioning exercises in order to qualify PMA’s physical fitness tests. This fitness acquired over a long period of strenuous training stays with them as a lifetime asset.
Several physical training events not merely physically harden the cadets, but they also develop in them a great deal of courage. Events like boxing or assault course which are compulsory physical training tests cannot be honourably completed unless the young athletes muster bold initiatives and physical courage. In the conduct of these events, the guiding spirit is “It is not important what happens to you but how you conduct yourself while it is happening to you”.
Over the years, the campus has been vastly expanded and developed in terms of its architectural beauty, landscaping, and the development of training and recreational facilities. Presently, PMA is very proud to claim that it has developed conceivably the finest infra-structure and facilities available at any training institution.
Our major training activity is conducted in the academic block which comprises about 100 halls of study, each one of which is treated for acoustic effect and equipped with necessary audio-visual aids. The block consists of several independent classroom units housed in two-tiered buildings with elegantly arched side- corridors, vast middle passage, and a lobby. They are all, indeed, a model of institutional grandeur and functional convenience.
Academy’s Central Library is housed in an impressively large building and sited very accessible. It has a massive collection of books on nearly all imaginable subjects, arranged in cabinets, well sectioned and cataloged. A vast reading-room with scores of quality journals, a well-stocked reference section, and the library’s layout in appropriate cabins and corners coupled with efficient management makes it a conducive place for concentrated study or research-work.
Computer and Language Laboratories
PMA is very much aware of its alumni’s future needs, for it is indeed 21st-century leadership that we are preparing. Thus three large sophisticated Computer Laboratories with related gadgetry have been established. Computer Science is offered as a major subject in BSc, most of the others get basic familiarization with computers, while computer lovers join the Computer Club and satiate their innovative urge with liberal gadget manipulation. Four latest computer-controlled Language Laboratories exist for extensive listening and choral exercises so as to improve cadets’ expression of English. Variety of short BBC courses and other audio-visual programmes greatly complement the English learning process.
Academy Educational Television Channel
The PMA has set up its own broadcast channel which telecasts educative and entertaining quality programs for the cadets, the staff and their families. Listening to international news in the evening is compulsory for the cadets so that they are current on world affairs.
Host of clubs have been established to provide varied recreation and useful pastimes. Every cadet finds a club to his individual taste and interest. It is mandatory for them to be members of one or the other club. The range of these clubs is vast and varied. Following clubs exist:
A sprawling well maintained polo ground is developed where best fed and trained ponies are available. Officers and cadets frequently play polo and practice other equestrian skills. Some of the prestigious high-level polo tournaments are held here; the most coveted of these being the PMA Commandant’s Challenge Cup.
A fabulous gymnasium with massive health and exercise equipment is installed. A mere visit to the gymnasium induces the cadets to learn gymnastic skills and enjoy the manipulation of health apparatus.
A large international-standard swimming pool has been constructed where proper coaching of diverse swimming and diving techniques is extended. It is the most popular site with cadets during summers.
Cadets’ Residential Complexes
Twelve large multi-storied residential blocks have been constructed to accommodate a company of cadets each. These buildings have been equipped with the best of fixtures and amenities to provide their inmates comfortable living environment. They do deserve this care and comfort after a busy day’s hard work.
Every company residential complex has an independent mess, which has sufficient dining, and anteroom facilities to accommodate all the company cadets together. A huge amazing column less central dining hall is used for battalion level formal dinners. Quality catering and service are ensured by proficient mess staff.
Pakistan Military Academy over the years has earned a vastly acclaimed reputation of providing high quality junior military leaders for service to the nation. For the last five decades, it has been preparing cadets to perform their onerous duties towards national defence with a pronounced sense of responsibility and honour. Luminaries of its distinguished alumni have been engaged in national service since the creation of Pakistan. Some of them rose to hold the highest positions in our army, while a large number of them sacrificed their lives so that the nation may live in peace and honour. The secret of their success and glory lies in the lasting spirit of PMA training, the effects of which last longer than life.
PMA is proud of its esteemed graduate’s rolls of which run into thousands for indeed they have always brought honour and glory to their motherland and won laurels for their Alma-Mater. We are proud of the scores of our allied graduates from numerous friendly countries too, who are rendering useful service in their countries and prospering in their profession. Moral incorruptibility, spiritual invincibility, an urge for professional excellence, the highest regard for country’s honour, and high self-esteem have been ingrained in the character of PMA graduates, these attributes have always stood them in all undertakings, however, austere and formidable.
The Academy has come a long way in the glorious enactment of its sacred role. Its management and faculty have been fully alive to military leadership’s present and future needs. Thus based on a vision for the future, and an orientation compatible with the twenty-first century, our curriculum has been continually updated. Its training facilities fully modernized, concepts scientifically revised and the latest methodologies at work, make it an institution capable of meeting the challenges of promising future leadership for Pakistan.