The Pakistani military is the most important institution in the country.
Ayub Khan, a former military ruler, described the relationship between the Pakistani state and the military thus: "The military in our country is an institution for which a piece of real estate was attached."
Pakistan's army is the seventh largest in the world with 650,000 troops on active duty plus 302,000 paramilitary and 528,000 reservists; that gives the country a 1,400,000 fighting force.
The military institution of Pakistan received a huge boost in 1999 when the country entered the nuclear club.
As the Pakistani army intensifies its offensive against the Taliban, Inside Story asks: Is the army really committed to the fight? Is it properly prepared for counter-insurgency? What role other than fighting does the military hold in Pakistani politics and how much control does the army have over the future of the country?
Lauren Taylor, our presenter, is joined by Maria Sultan, the director of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute; Salman Ahmed, a journalist specialising on Pakistani Affairs; and Julian Schofield, a professor of political science at Concordia University and author of numerous books on Pakistani military affairs.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Wednesday, May 13, 2009.