Frontier Corps

Frontier Corps

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The Frontier Corps is a federally-controlled paramilitary force of Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, recruited mostly from the tribal areas along the western borders and led by officers from the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. The Frontier Corps comprises three major subdivisions; FC NWFP (stationed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (fromerly known as North-West Frontier Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan, lying between the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and the neighboring country of Afghanistan. The FATA comprise seven Agencies and six FRs...

) and FC Balochistan (stationed in Balochistan province). Each subdivision is headed by a seconded Inspector General
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

, who is a Pakistan Army officer of at least major-general rank, although the force itself is under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry.

With a total manpower of approximately 80,000 the task of the Frontier Corps is to help local law enforcement in the maintenance of law and order, and to carry out border patrol and anti-smuggling operations. Recently units of the Frontier Corps have been used in military operations against insurgents in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The Frontier Corps should not be confused with the Frontier Constabulary
Frontier Constabulary
The Frontier Constabulary, FC, is a paramilitary force responsible for maintaining law and order in the country.- Introduction :The Frontier Constabulary is a Federal Paramilitary Force of Pakistan which is largely drawn from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, but operates in all the provinces of...

 or the Frontier Force Regiment
Frontier Force Regiment
For Pakistan's Border Guard see: Frontier CorpsThe Frontier Force Regiment is one of six Infantry regiments in the Pakistan Army. At present, the regiment consists of 67 battalions and has its regimental depot at Abbottabad in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. For that reason Abbottabad is also known as Home of...

. The Frontier Constabulary is a federal paramilitary police force, mostly recruited from and operating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but also operating in Punjab
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

 province. Since July 2002, the constabulary and the FC NWFP are being gradually merged. The Frontier Force Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 formed in 1956 from the amalgamation of three older regiments: the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, the 13th Frontier Force Rifles and the Pathan Regiment.


The Frontier Corps was created in 1907 by Lord Curzon, the viceroy of British India, in order to organize seven militia and scout units in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan: the Khyber Rifles, the Zhob Militia, the Kurram Militia, the Tochi Scouts, the Chagai Militia, the South Waziristan Scouts and the Chitral Scouts.

The Frontier Corps was led by an “Inspecting Officer” who was a British officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

. In 1943 the Inspecting Officer was upgraded to an Inspector General (an officer with the rank of brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

), and the corps was expanded with new units (the Second Mahsud Scouts were raised in 1944 and the Pishin Scouts in 1946).

After independence
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, Pakistan expanded the corps further by creating a number of new units, including the Thal Scouts, the Northern Scouts, the Bajaur Scouts, the Karakoram Scouts, the Kalat Scouts, the Dir Scouts and the Kohistan Scouts. British officers continued to serve in the Frontier Corps up to the early 1950s. The corps was split into two major subdivisions with FC Balochistan incorporating the Zhob Militia, the Sibi Scouts, the Kalat Scouts, the Makran Militia, the Kharan Rifles, the Pishin Scouts, the Chaghai Militia and the First Mahsud Scouts. In 1975, three of the units (the Gilgit Scouts
Gilgit Scouts
The Gilgit Scouts is the name of a paramilitary force that was originally raised, under the name the "Gligit Levies", in 1889, by British Army Colonel Algernon Durand...

, the Karakoram Scouts and the Northern Scouts) were merged to form a new paramilitary force called the Northern Light Infantry
Northern Light Infantry
The Northern Light Infantry is a Light Infantry Regiment of the Pakistan Army. Headquartered in Gilgit, the capital of Northern Areas, Pakistan, it is the main force protecting the strategically important northern areas of Pakistan. The majority of this regiment's personnel come from native...

, which is now a full infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army.

In the mid-1970s, the Pakistani government used FC Balochistan to counter the insurgency in Balochistan and the force is unpopular among some of the local population who associate them with human rights violations and heavy- handed operations. To improve the corps image, it has been involved in construction of schools and hospitals, although as of late 2004, corps installations in the province were routinely attacked by insurgents.

In the late 1990s, the Frontier Corps played an important role in eliminating opium poppy cultivation from Dir District
Dir District
Dir District was a district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan between 1970 and 1996. It was part of Malakand Division.Dir District was created in 1970 after the princely state of Dir was abolished the year before. Dir District was 5,280 square kilometres in area and lay along the...

 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In 2007, after the collapse of truce agreements between the Pakistani government and local militants, the Frontier Corps, teamed with regular Pakistani military units, conducted incursions into tribal areas controlled by the militants. The effort produced a series of bloody and clumsy confrontations. On August 30, about 250 Pakistani troops, mostly from the Frontier Corps, surrendered to militants without a fight. In early November, most were released in exchange for 25 militants held by the Pakistan Army.

There is a widespread consensus among United States government military and intelligence experts that the Frontier Corps are the best potential military units against the Islamist militants because its troops are locally recruited, know local languages and understand local cultures. The United States provided more than US$7 billion in military aid to Pakistan from 2002 to 2007, most of which was used to equip the Frontier Corps because it is in the frontline of the fight against the Islamist insurgents. From late 2007, the Pakistani government intended to expand the corps to 100,000 and use it more in fighting Islamist militants, particularly Al-Qaeda, after extensive consultations with the U.S. government and an agreement to start a multi-year effort to bolster it including the establishment of a counterinsurgency training centre. The new US Obama policy for Pakistan is seen as a clear victory for the Pakistan Army lobby in the US. The $1.5billion a year aid recently announced with no strings attached will go a long way in seeing that the Frontier Corps stay at the height of their professional abilities due to new equipment and training. The Corps has also fired occasionally on the U.S.-assisted Afghan Army."


The senior command posts of the Frontier Corps are filled by officers seconded from the Pakistan Army for two to three years, although few look forward to these assignments from a professional and career point of view. The rank and file are recruited locally, receiving tough and rigorous training but they are seldom promoted to command positions. The equipment of the Frontier Corps includes G3 rifles, AK-47s, RPG 7, light machine guns, short range artillery and mortars as well as aviation support and APCs and tanks. The Scouts Training Academy, Mirali in North Waziristan
North Waziristan
North Waziristan is the northern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering . Waziristan comprises the area west and south-west of Peshawar between the Tochi river to the north and the Gomal river to the south, forming part of Pakistan's...

 is the primary training institution.
The Frontier Corps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is headquartered in Bala Hisar Fort
Bala Hisar Fort
Bala Hisar Fort is one of the most historic places of Peshawar. The word Bala Hisar is from Persian, meaning, “elevated or high fort”. According to Dr. Hussain Khan, the name was given by the Afghan King Timur Shah Durrani...

 in Peshawar.

The Frontier Corps in Balochistan is headquartered in Quetta and is led by Major General Obaid ullah Khattak. FC Balochistan is only partly made up of troops from the region it patrols.

The units of the Frontier Corps are (with founding date):
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  1. Chitral Scouts (1903)
  2. Khyber Rifles
    Khyber Rifles
    The Khyber Rifles is a para-military force forming part of the modern Pakistan Army's Frontier Corps. Dating from the late nineteenth century the regiment provided the title and setting for a widely read novel, King of the Khyber Rifles....

  3. Kurram Militia (1892)
  4. South Waziristan Scouts (1900)
  5. Tochi Scouts (1894)
  6. Mahsud Scouts (1944)
  7. Mohmand Rifles
  8. Shawal Rifles
  9. Swat Scouts
  10. Orakzai Scouts
  11. Khushal Khan Scouts
  12. Dir Scouts (1970)
  13. Bajur Scouts (1961)
  14. Thal Scouts (1948)

  1. Zhob Militia (1883)
  2. Chagai Militia (1896)
  3. Sibi Scouts (1971)
  4. Kalat Scouts (1965)
  5. Makran Militia
  6. Kharan Rifles
    Kharan Rifles
    Kharan Rifles is a federal government paramilitary unit charged with maintaining the westernmost proximity of Pakistan. It has the unique responsibility of being the only organization responsible for manning parts of Pakistan's Afghan and Iranian borders....

  7. Pishin Scouts (1946)
  8. Dalbandin Rifles (2007–08)
  9. Maiwind Rifles
  10. Ghazaband Scouts
  11. Bambore Rifles
  12. Loralai Scouts
  13. Bolan Scouts
  14. Awaran Militia
  15. Panjgur Rifles
  16. SOW (Special Operation Wing)


After independence in 1947, the Inspectors-General of FC NWFP were:
  1. Brig Ahmad Jan, MBE (1950–51)
  2. Brig K A Rahim Khan (1951–53)
  3. Brig Bakhtiar Rana
    Bakhtiar Rana
    Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana, M.C., was a senior officer in the Pakistan Army. He was Chief Martial Law Administrator . As a Lieutenant General, he commanded one of Pakistan Army's strike corps, I Corps, as its Corps Commander from 1958 to 1966...

    , MC (1953–55)
  4. Brig Sadiq Ullah Khan, M.C (1955–58)
  5. Brig Rakhman Gul, SQA, S, K, MC (1958–63)
  6. Brig Sadiq Ullah Khan, MC (1963–64)
  7. Brig Bahadur Sher, MC (1964–66)
  8. Brig Mahboob Khan, TQA (1966–69)
  9. Brig Mahmud Jan, SQA (1969–71)
  10. Maj-Gen Shireen Dil Khan Niazi (1971–72)
  11. Brig Iftikhar e Bashir (1972)
  12. Brig Naseerullah Babar
    Naseerullah Babar
    Major-General Naseerullah Khan Babar , SJ, HJ, was a retired 2-star rank general officer in the Pakistan Army, and later career military officer-turned statesman from the leftist democratic soclialist, the Pakistan Peoples Party...

    , SJ & Bar (1972–74)
  13. Brig Ghulam Rabbani Khan, SBt (1974–78)
  14. Maj-Gen Agha Zulfiqar Ali Khan (1978–81)
  15. Maj-Gen Mian Muhammad Afzal (1982–84)
  16. Maj-Gen Arif Bangash
    Arif Bangash
    Lieutenant General Muhammad Arif Bangash is a retired Pakistan Army three-star general who served as governor of the North-West Frontier province of Pakistan.-Military career:...

    , SBt (1984–86)
  17. Maj-Gen Mohammad Shafiq
    Mohammad Shafiq
    Lieutenant General Mohammad Shafiq is a career Pakistan Army soldier who served as the governor of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from 1999 to 2000. He was appointed to that position on 21 October 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf after he overthrew the Nawaz Sharif government on 12 October. He was later...

    , SBt (1986–88)
  18. Maj-Gen Ghazi ud Din Rana, SBt (1988–90)
  19. Maj-Gen Humayun Khan Bangash, TBt (1990–91)
  20. Maj-Gen Muhammad Naeem Akbar Khan (1991–92)
  21. Maj-Gen Mumtaz Gul, TBt (1992–94)
  22. Maj-Gen Fazal Ghafoor, SBt (1994–97)
  23. Maj-Gen Sultan Habib (1997–2000)
  24. Maj-Gen Tajul Haq (2000–03)
  25. Maj-Gen Hamid Khan (2003–04)
  26. Maj-Gen Tariq Masood (2004–06)
  27. Maj-Gen Alam Khattak
    Alam Khattak
    Lieutenant General Muhammad Alam Khattak, HI, TBt, is a Pakistan Army general who is the presently the Commander Southern Command based at Quetta...

  28. Maj-Gen Tariq Khan (2008–10)
  29. Maj - Gen Nadir Zeb (2010 - to present )

See also

  • Naseerullah Babar
    Naseerullah Babar
    Major-General Naseerullah Khan Babar , SJ, HJ, was a retired 2-star rank general officer in the Pakistan Army, and later career military officer-turned statesman from the leftist democratic soclialist, the Pakistan Peoples Party...

  • War in Waziristan
  • North-West Frontier (military history)
    North-West Frontier (military history)
    The North-West Frontier was the most difficult area, from a military point of view, of the former British India in the Indian sub-continent. It remains the frontier of present-day Pakistan, extending from the Pamir Knot in the north to the Koh-i-Malik Siah in the west, and separating the...

External links