Military Wiki
Punjab Regiment
Active 1759 - present

British Raj British Raj 1759-1947

Pakistan Pakistan 1947-Present
Branch Pakistan Army
Type Line Infantry
Size 57 battalions
Regimental Centre Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Nickname(s) Punjabis
Anniversaries Defence Day
Engagements Seven Years' War
First Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Mysore War
Third Anglo-Mysore War
Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Maratha War
Travancore War
Anglo–Nepalese War
Third Anglo-Maratha War
First Burma War
Coorg War
First Anglo-Afghan War
First Anglo-Chinese War
Indian Rebellion of 1857
Bhutan War
1868 Expedition to Abyssinia
Second Anglo-Afghan War
Anglo-Egyptian War
Boxer Rebellion
Somaliland Campaign
Chinese Revolution of 1911
World War I
Third Anglo-Afghan War
World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Siachen Conflict
Kargil War
War in North-West Pakistan
General Ayub Khan
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq

The Punjab Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army. The modern regiment was formed in 1956 from an amalgamation of the 1st Punjab Regiment, 14th Punjab Regiment, 15th Punjab Regiment and 16th Punjab Regiment. Since then the regiment has expanded in strength to now include 47 Battalions. It is the senior-most regiment in the Army, tracing its lineage back over two hundred and fifty years to 1759.[1] The regiment's battalions have a distinguished record of military service spanning the rise and decline of British power in South Asia, both World Wars and post independence Pakistan.

Early history

The Punjab regiment can trace its origins to the Madras Army of the British East India Company. The most senior battalion of the 1st Punjab Regiment was raised in 1759 as the 3rd Battalion of Coast Sepoys, and is the senior most surviving infantry battalion of the British Indian Army. Their first major conflict was a decisive victory at Battle of Wandiwash in 1760, when the British East India Company led by Sir Eyre Coote effectively ended French colonial ambitions in South Asia. All the battalions of the regiment subsequently played an important role in the early military campaigns of the East India Company and were actively engaged in the wars against the French, Mysore and the Marathas.[2] The numbers and titles of the battalions changed during the successive reorganisations of the Madras Presidency Army, the British Indian Army and the Indian Army during the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. The names changed from Coast Sepoys to Carnatic Infantry, Madras Native Infantry, Punjabis and finally to the Punjab Regiment. After 1857, the British applied the Martial Races theory and north Indian troops replaced the South Indians, the regiment eventually being renamed as The Punjab Regiment.

British Raj

Following 1857 and the establishment of crown rule over British India, the Punjab regiment played a role in numerous conflicts across the British Empire. Various battalions were deployed across the Empire in conflicts in places ranging from China, Egypt, Burma and Abyssinia.

Between 1903 to 1922, the British Indian Army included 28 numbered Punjabi Regiments. In 1922 these were amalgamated into 6 numbered Punjab Regiments, namely;

These Regiments would all play a prominent role during World War II. Within the 14th Punjab Regiment, the 1st and 5th battalions were deployed in Malaya during the opening stages of the World War II in South East Asia. The 1st Battalion, under Lt Col James Fitzpatrick, was overrun by superior Japanese forces at Changlun during the Battle of Jitra. With only 270 survivors, the 1st Battalion was not reformed during the campaign. The 5th Battalion, under the command of Lt Col Cyril Stokes, performed relatively well in the fighting retreat to Kroh in early December 1941. Stokes was killed during the Battle of Muar in January 1942. The 5/14th Punjabs was forced to surrender along with the rest of the commonwealth troops when Singapore fell on 15 February 1942. A number of troops from both battalions however later joined the Indian National Army, and formed a part of the Hindustan Field Force of the first INA.


33rd Punjabis Watercolour by Maj AC Lovett, 1910.

In 1947 the British Government announced the Independence of South Asia, and formation of Pakistan and India. The Indian Army would subsequently also be divided between these two new nation states. Out of the six regiments, the 1st Punjab, 8th Punjab Regiment, 14th Punjab, 15th Punjab Regiment and 16th Punjab were allotted to the Pakistan Army and 2nd Punjab Regiment to the Indian Army. The Punjab Regiment in its present form was formed in 1956 when four of the five Punjab Regiments allocated to Pakistan were merged.

Punjabi Regiments allocated to Pakistan now forming the Punjab Regiment

The line up for the new regiment was:[1]

57 puhjab

Punjabi Regiments allocated to India

1st Punjab regimental center was located at Jhelum. In early September 1947 Pakistani personnel arrived from 2nd Punjab regimental center Meerut and Indian personnel (Sikhs) were dispatched to 11 Sikh RC and Rajputs to 6 Rajputana Rifle Center. The Punjab Regiment at its height totalled 58 battalions; however, 11 were transferred in 1980 to the Sindh Regiment.

Class and religious composition

Before 1947, the ethnic composition of the Punjabi Regiment consisted of Punjabi Muslims 50%; Sikhs 10%; Punjabi Hindu 40%. After 1947, the regiment was around 20% Pashtun and 80% Punjabi.

Modern regiment

Presently the Punjab Regiment is the largest regiment of the Pakistan Army with 47 battalions. They range from Mechanized Infantry to Light Anti-Tank (LAT) battalions. The Punjab Regimental Centre is located in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The current Colonel Commandant of the regiment is Lieutenant General Sardar Mahmood Ali Khan.

Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the Punjab Regiment has seen the appointment of four Colonel-in-Chiefs;

Recipients of the Nishan-e-Haider

The Nishan-e-Haider (Sign Of the Lion) is the highest gallantry award awarded by Pakistan for those showing an incredible amount of valor and courage on the battle field in the face of staunch adversity. Only ten soldiers have been awarded this honour, and four of those belonged to the Punjab Regiment:

  1. Captain Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed (1910–July 27, 1948)
  2. Major Tufail Muhammad Shaheed (1914–August 7, 1958)
  3. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (1928–September 10, 1965)
  4. Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed (1944–December 17, 1971)

As a form of respect, deceased recipients are given the honorary title of Shaheed, which means martyr, whilst living recipients are termed Ghazi which means victor.

Notable former personnel

Field Marshal Ayub Khan, former President of Pakistan


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rizvi, Brig SHA. (1984). Veteran Campaigners – A History of the Punjab Regiment 1759-1981. Lahore: Wajidalis.
  2. Qureshi, Maj MI. (1958). The First Punjabis: History of the First Punjab Regiment, 1759-1956. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.
  3. "Army can defend every inch: Musharraf" Daily Times, March 22, 2003


Further reading

A complete history of the Punjab Regiment was written by Brig. Gen. Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi (Ret.), entitled "Veteran campaigners: a history of the Punjab Regiment, 1759-1981 (Pakistan Army)." It was published by Wajidalis in 1984. General Asif Nawaz Janjua

External links

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