The Department of Military Lands and Cantonments is managing Defence Lands and Cantonment Boards all over Pakistan. ML&C Department attends to and promotes the interest of more than 4.7 Million people, handles budgets amounting to approximately Rs. 35 billion which is increasing on a yearly basis, defends over 6,000 litigation cases related to land and municipal matters and manages a human resource base of nearly 20,000 employees.
Defence lands and cantonments have existed since British Rule. The first Cantonment was established back in 1765 at Barrackpore. Pakistan inherited 23 Cantonment Boards. Keeping in view the requirement of defence services, the number of Cantonment Boards have increased from time to time and now there are 44 Cantonment Boards.
Following independence of Pakistan, the assets that were with the Ex-state forces and the lands that had been in use for defence purposes accrued to the Government of Pakistan (Ministry of Defence) through constitutional provisions. These were brought on record and consolidated by Military Estates Officers. Presently, there are 11 Military Estate Circles in Pakistan.
In 1975, “Military Lands and Cantonments Group” was instituted, absorbing all the Military Estates Officers, the Executive Officers of the Cantonments and the Directorate in the Ministry of Defence. The appointments of the officers to this Cadre is through CSS Examination annually conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission(FPSC).
Cantonment Boards are autonomous bodies working under the administration of ML&C Deptt. Cantonments are classified into three categories (A, B & C) depending on the size of the civilian population. Similarly, Cantonment Boards, as per their classification, are authorized 3 to 15 members that include equal no of elected and nominated members. The Officer Commanding the Station is the ex-officio President. Cantonment Boards generate their own funds through levying taxes and appoint their own staff. The taxes to be levied are comparable to those in the adjacent municipality.
All the activities of the organization are monitored and supervised by the Directorate of Military Lands and Cantonments, Ministry of Defence through Regional Directorates in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Karachi and Quetta.