The Pathan Regiment
v.1.0 August 25, 2002

Mandeep Singh Bajwa

The Pathan Regiment represents an intriguing bit of the Pakistan Army's early history. As background, the reader needs to keep in mind that traditionally the areas now known as Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan were loosely ruled, if at all, by the dominant power in South Asia.  Following traditional practice, the British left the tribes of these areas alone as long as the tribes left the British alone.  When the discussions for the division of India were undertaken, the representatives of the Baluch and Pathan tribes assumed that their continued autonomy would be permitted. When they found that under the rules of Partition they would have to acceede to Pakistan, they withdrew from the discussions.  In any case, from the viewpoint of the British and pro-Pakistan negotiators, there was nothing to discuss except the modalities of accession.

The Pathan Regiment was raised on 1 November 1948 as a sop to the Pakhtun people whose ambivalent attitude towards the formation of Pakistan worried their Government. Initially the Regimental Center was located at Dera Ismail Khan. In April 1949 it moved to Kohat. And of course in 1956 it moved to Abbotabad after amalgamation into the new Frontier Force Regiment. The class composition was 50% each of Pathans and the ubiquitous Punjabi Mussalmans. (Editors Note: Punjabi companies are included in every Pakistan Army infantry battalion regardless of its ethnic composition.  This ensures Punjabi control of the Army.)

Battalions transferred to form the Pathan Regiment were:


Original Battalion





1 Pathan Regiment

4/12 Frontier Force Rifles

Previously the 54th Sikhs

2 Pathan Regiment

4/13 Frontier Force Rifles

Previously Wilde's Rifles

3 Pathan Regiment

15/13 Frontier Force Rifles

World War 2 raising


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