National Defence University, Pakistan

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National Defence University
نیشنل ڈیفنس یونیورسٹی
National Defence University, Pakistan Logo.png
Seal of the NDU
Motto"Taught Man Which He Knew Not" [Al-Quran (30:96:5)]
TypePublic/Military Staff college
Established1970 (1970)
Academic affiliation
ChancellorPresident of Pakistan
PresidentLieutenant-General Muhammad Saeed
Vice-presidentRear Admiral Zain Zulfiqar HI(M)
DeanDr. Lubna Abid Ali
LanguageEnglish, Urdu
ColorsGreen, White, Khaki

The National Defence University (Urdu: نیشنل ڈیفنس یونیورسٹی‎) or NDU, is a publicly funded military institution located in Islamabad, Pakistan dedicated to the study and research in military science, geo-strategy and international relations.[1]

Founded in 1970 as the staff college, it gained university status in 2007 and it is jointly funded by the Education Commission and the Defence Ministry. The NDU provides comprehensive and critical learning in formulating and developing the defence strategy as well national security understanding to joint military leadership of Pakistani military.[2] Chartered by the President of Pakistan as its Chancellor and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, its current president is Lieutenant-General Muhammad Saeed.[3]

The university's mission is to impart higher education in policy and strategy formulation at various tier with emphasis on national security and defence, and act as a national think tank.[4]

University is governed under Act of Parliament.


The NDU is a Pakistani military institution founded in 1963, when the 1st Army War Course started at the Command and Staff College, Quetta. Subsequently, in 1971, a dedicated National Defence College was established at the old building of the National Assembly of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. In 1995, the National Defence College shifted to its present campus at the foothills of Margalla, Islamabad.

By a decree of the Government of Pakistan, the National Defence College was upgraded as the National Defence University. An Ordinance to this effect was signed on 27 January 2007, by the President of Pakistan.

The management of the National Defence University is vested in a three Star General from the Pakistan Army, who is called the President. He is also the head of the faculty. The university is organized into four constituent colleges/institutes:

  • National Security College
  • Armed Forces War College
  • Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS)
  • Institute of Strategic Studies; Research and Analysis (ISSRA)
Organization of NDU

There are three affiliated colleges:

The National Security College, Armed Forces War College and Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS) are the instructional colleges for conducting studies in Defence and Social Sciences, whereas the ISSRA acts as a brain and think-tank apart from conducting the National Security & Media Workshops, Capstone Courses and Symposia/Seminars.

The Headquarters/Administrative Wing provides administrative and technical support to the entire university. The Wing is headed by a one Star General officer.


The origin of the National Defence University goes back to 1963, when the 1st Army War Course started at the Command and Staff College, Quetta. Subsequently, in 1971, a dedicated National Defence College was established at the old building of the National Assembly of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. In 1995, the National Defence College shifted to its present campus at the foothills of the Margalla, Islamabad. The NDU stands established in the same campus.


Between 1972 and 2009, the NDU program comprised two courses: the War Course which focused on purely military strategy, and the broader National Defence Course which covered strategic and socioeconomic issues. In 2010, the two courses were combined into the National Security and War Course (NSWC)of 48 weeks on an annual basis. The course starts in August and ends in June. Since 1988, officers from friendly countries (such as Nigeria, Malaysia, Jordan) have also attended courses at the National Defence University. So far 3061 participants have graduated from the National Defence University. This includes, 469 officers from the 39 friendly countries and 570 participants of National Security Workshops. Today, the NDU trains the entire military leadership and the bulk of the civilian leadership. An officer cannot become general unless he graduates from the NDU[5]

Thirteen National Security Workshops, each of 6 weeks duration, are held annually.


National Defence University building

The Jasmine wreath in gold is placed upon the green background of the national color. Three services colors are represented in the centre, signifying inter-services organisation. A crossed sword and pen placed up the lower portion of the shield represent honour, strength and achievement through learning. The motto is inscribed in gold letters on the top centre of the shield.

Role as a Think Tank[edit]

The NDU acts as a national think tank on national security matters. Input is provided to the government and armed forces. The NDU maintains academic links with national think tanks and defence universities of friendly countries.


Taught man that which he knew not [Al-Quran (30:96:5)]

Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS)[edit]

The Faculty of Contemporary Studies (FCS) was formally inaugurated on 3 September 2008.


Faculty of Contemporary Studies is offering the below mentioned courses at BS, M.Sc, M.Phil and PhD.

  • International relations (IR)
  • leadership and management studies (LMS)
  • government and public policy (GPP)
  • Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS)
  • Strategic Studies (SS)

FCS has recently started BS-Economics as well

Institute for Strategic Studies Research and Analysis (ISSRA)[edit]


Major General Ghulam Qamar, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) was Commissioned in an Infantry Regiment in June 1983. During his Military career, the General Officer held a wide range of command, staff and instructional appointments, however, larger part of his service has been in operational areas. Apart from service at Siachin Glacier, commanded an Infantry Battalion along Line of Control and two Infantry Brigades, out of which one was also deployed in Sub Conventional War Zone of North Waziristan. Commanded an Infantry Division which was deployed in Terrorism stricken area of Swat, Dir and Chitral. The General Officer severed as Director General Doctrine & Evaluation General Headquarter Rawalpindi. The General Officer remained instructor at Pakistan Military Academy, Command & Staff College Quetta and at the War College in National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad. He is a graduate of Command & Staff College Quetta, National Defence University Islamabad and Beijing (China). Apart from this, he also served under the Umbrella of UN peace keeping Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM-II). The General Officer has represented Pakistan Army at various International Forums and delivered lectures/participated in seminars on issues related to Sub Conventional Warfare. He is also the author of Sub Conventional Warfare Doctrine for Pakistan Army. Presently, he is serving as Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Research and Analysis in National Defence University, Islamabad.


Under the ISSRA, following courses have been offered

  • National Security and War
  • National Security Workshop
  • National Media Workshop
  • Information Operations Course

Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (SYK) Library[edit]

Founded in 1970, the National Defence University Library Islamabad, over the years progressed and expanded significantly. It is now one of the well organized academic cum research libraries of the defence institutions and the capital as well. Its collection is a blend of books, research papers, professional journals, newspaper clippings and digital databases. The library is stocked with 96,000 books, professional journals and other materials on subjects of interest including military history, defence and security studies, nuclear studies, international relations, peace and conflict studies, governance and public policy, economics, politics, international relations, Pakistan affairs, Islam, etc. The books have been classified using Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme (DDC).


Name Tenure
Lt Gen Abdul Hameed Khan, July 1970 – December 1970
Maj Gen Nasir Ahmad Chaudhri, April 1972 – July 1974
Maj Gen M Rahim Khan, July 1974 – August 1975
AVM Michael John O'Brian, September 1975 – April 1976
Lt Gen Azmat Bakhsh Awan, April 1976 – October 1978
Maj Gen Anwar Masood, October 1978 – September 1979
Lt Gen Ejaz Azim, September 1979 – April 1980
Maj Gen Nishat Ahmed, April 1980 – June 1984
Lt Gen S M H Bokhari, June 1984 – January 1988
Lt Gen Muhammad Safdar, January 1988 – July 1989
Lt Gen Syed Zakir Ali Zaidi, August 1989 – June 1990
Lt Gen Rehm Dil Bhatti, September 1990 – February 1993
Lt Gen Asad Durrani, February 1993 – May 1993
Lt Gen Iftikhar Ali Khan, May 1993 – June 1993
Lt Gen Syed Tanwir Husain Naqvi, June 1994 – January 1996
Lt Gen Muhammad Maqbool, February 1996 – June 1998
Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed, June 1998 – October 1998
Lt Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi October 1998 – March 2000
Lt Gen Saeed Uz Zafar, March 2000 – October 2000
Lt Gen Javed Hassan, October 2000 – January 2004
Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi, January 2004 – October 2004
Lt Gen Shahid Hamid, October 2004 – November 2005
Lt Gen Raza Muhammad Khan, November 2005 – June 2007
Lt Gen Muhammad Hamid Khan, July 2007 – October 2009
Lt Gen Muhammad Yousaf, October 2009 – September 2010
Lt Gen Agha Muhammad Umer Farooq, October 2010 – July 2012
Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua, July 2012 – August 2013
Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday, August 2013 – April 2015
Lt Gen Anwar Ali Hyder, May 2015 – April 2016
Lt Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt, April 2016 – December 2016
Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, December 2016 – October 2017
Lt Gen Majid Ehsan, October 2017 – December 2018
Lt Gen Aamer Riaz, December 2018 - November 2019
Lt Gen Muhammad Saeed, November 2019 - Till to date


  • NDU Journal is an annual feature of the university which is based on the research papers by the participants of the National security and war Course. The publications provide ideas on issues of national, regional and international significance.
  • Margalla papers is an annual publication of the National Defence University based on articles written by prominent scholars and writers of the country.
  • ISSRA Paper is a bi-annual paper based on research carried out by researchers of Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA).
  • NDU Monograph is a scholarly researched essay on an issue related to the national security.
  • NDU Newsletter provides a forum for information, discussion and debate on topical issues impacting the national security.
  • The University describes research on the development of policies on key issues facing the country.

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

Pakistan Army


Lieutenant Generals

Major Generals


Pakistan Police

Pakistan Air Force

Pakistan Navy

Civil Servants


  • Mian Muhammad Aslam


  • Dr Shahzad Waseem
  • Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri
  • Mr Sanaullah Baloch
  • Mr Babar Khan Ghauri
  • Mr Omar Ayub Khan
  • Mr Muhammad Hanif Abbasi
  • Mr Amanullah Kanrani
  • Engineer Aamir Muqam
  • Miss Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli


  1. ^ Google maps. "University address". Google maps. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  2. ^ HEC, Higher Education Commission. "HEC affiilated insitutitions". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^ NDU President. "President of the National Defence University". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  4. ^ "University mission and vision". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ Aqil Shah, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan |(Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 201 [1] ISBN 9780674728936

External links[edit]