In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

Review of Pakdef

Pakdef, or Pakistan Defence Consortium, is a Pakistani defense forum / website / think tank. They define themselves as "devoted towards disseminating accurate information on Pakistan’s Armed Forces, geo-strategic studies, and its nuclear and missile programs". 

Pakdef is independently funded and not officially connected to the Pakistan establishment. They are however, perhaps the most reliable source of information on military issues pertinent to Pakistan, over and above Jane's or any other defense/intelligence industry source. They are frequently the source of unofficial leaks by the Pakistan military establishment. Every once in a while some piece of information that should not have been released finds itself there. While members hold their own view points, generally, they are a highly secular group and are generally hold a conservative pro-status quo stance. They can also be considered to generally consider India as the central external (if not only) external threat and the TTP as the main internal threat to Pakistan.

The forum serves former military officials, expatriate nationalists, military enthusiasts and intellectuals from a wide sampling of Pakistani society. The military and general intellect of the group as well as the experience and skill set are very high, particularly amongst the senior members. One can go so far as to say that they are possibly the most competent organization, at least viewable in the public domain, in their category in the Muslim world today.

The level of secularism would generally put them past the pale of Islam, but it is unlikely that their members would have reached the caliber they have had they come out of madrassas. This represents the  structural tragedy of the Muslim world today, what the secular have the Muslims need, and what the Muslims have the secular need. But neither can stand each other, yet Pakistan will possibly not survive unless they can unite. 

Pakdef provides a rare insight into the personality traits, norms and behavior within the Pakistani establishment. They have a number of senior members with very close links to the military establishment. They have members who have reached a high level of professional skill in their relevant areas and can give authoritative responses to a large number of military issues. Below are short synopsis of some of these members:

Usman Shabbir
Military aviation journalist residing in Denmark with close connections to the Military establishment. Usman has worked with a number of renowned international defense analysts and written a number of  noteworthy essays and articles.

"The JF-17 Guru". Munir is the foremost authority on the JF-17 and possibly is more intimate with it than any man on this planet outside of the officials connected with the program. He combines actual technical competence and expertise with the passion of a fan and addict. He hails from the Netherlands and is connected to the Dutch air force. He is rumored to have chained himself to the JF-17 in Farnborough 2010. If you do not know what the JF-17 is and why it matters to Pakistan if not the entire Muslim World or Third World, you do not belong remotely near the forum.

Pervez Shamim
A very senior member, a former Pakistan Air Force officer and a former Lockheed Martin employee with over 30 years of experience in military aviation. He has links with both PAF and LockMart and is kind enough to share his knowledge and information. Remains a die-hard aviation enthusiast and is likely to remain so till the end of his days.
Saeed Khan
Closely connected with Pakistan's nuclear establishment and perhaps one of the best authorities available in the public domain on facts about Pakistan's nuclear program rather than the Beltway fantasies by most US sources.

H Khan
If you want to know how a typical Pakistani general thinks, speaks, acts, you can observe H Khan, who I believe is a retired senior Pakistani Army officer, presently living in Florida and working in real estate development. He obviously has very close links to the Pakistan Army and is a source of unofficial leaks from that organization. He has a hard time interacting in a forum environment, which again would be a typical aspect of a senior military officer from the Pakistan Army; the vertical and rigid structure of the military is hard to shake off. 

Other quality contributors include:
Gaf, Rommel, Farooq, Hafeez, FaisalK, SSAAD, SyedA (very senior member from the military that I know very little about), vikasrehman. (Please do not be offended if I have not included your name here, the mistake is mine).

Slightly more than 50% of the sites visitors are from Pakistan, a large number likely from the military. Pakdef ranks 11,949 in terms of traffic rank in Pakistan. What follows are some site statistics for Pakdef with the caution that Pakdef is not competing on getting traffic but on quality. That said, quality should correlate with greater traffic, which is a point that Pakdef has failed to achieve.

Let us start with looking at the general demographics of viewers at Pakdef. (The statistics below is from

  Demographics indicates that an older, predominantly male crowd view Pakdef. Given the nature of military analysis, this is expected. The Education metric is interesting in that it shows an over-representation of people with graduate degrees and at the same time an under-representation of people with college degrees. This perhaps suggests a very extreme stratification of skilled individuals. Browsing Location shows that the higher work ethic displayed by the group - viewing pakdef at home rather than at work, although for many of the military personnel this may represent "work".

(from Alexa)

Looking at top queries, we see that the "brand name" is a key element that searchers look for. This is a positive signal for the quality of analysis provided by Pakdef.
The above chart shows Pakdef and some of its competitors - and The latter is largely populated with teenagers and young adults and aims more at entertainment and as such is not really a true competitor. is a key competitor but again lacks the quality of Pakdef. A key characteristic difference between Pakdef and is the possible dominance of army personnel at Pakdef while a more balanced and perhaps erring towards airforce personnel for The highly hierarchical nature of the army shapes to some extent the rigidity of Pakdef, while the more decentralized structure of the airforce illustrates the general atmosphere of Since forums and online information exchange is better facilitated by the "airforce culture", it is perhaps a factor in the far greater popularity of over Of course, the counter argument would be that the more rigid policing allows sifting the quality members from lower quality contributors. Dr. Zafar Altaf, former Secretary of Agriculture and one of Pakistan's most efficient bureaucrats in contemporary history has observed this difference of cultures between the army and the airforce and has gone as far as to say that the airforce may provided better political leadership to the nation of Pakistan than the army. A point surely to be contested by army personnel. This is to take nothing away from General Kayani whose psyche is not that of the typical Pakistani army officer.

Below is some alternative data from comparing Pakdef with and

Disclaimer: This author is not a member of Pakdef nor connected  in any way to the Pakistani establishment, and is in fact not of Pakistani origin.
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