The birth of the Royal Pakistan Navy came with the creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. The Armed Forces Reconstitution Committee (AFRC) divided the Royal Indian Navy between both countries India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Navy secured two sloops, two frigates, four minesweepers, two trawlers, four harbour launches and some 3580 personnel (180 officers and 3400 ratings) and given the high percentage of delta areas on the Pakistan coast the Navy was given a number of Harbour Defence Motor Launches. The Royal Pakistan Navy saw no action during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 as all the fighting was restricted to Kashmir.
In 1956 the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was proclaimed under the 1956 constitution. The prefix Royal was dropped and the service re-designated as Pakistan Navy short title PN. PN Jack and Pakistan flag replaced the Queen's colour and the white ensign respectively. The order of precedence of the three services changed from Navy, Army, Air force to Army, Navy, Air Force. In February 1956, the British government announced supplying of several major surface combatants to Pakistan. These Warships, a cruiser and four destroyers were purchased with funds made available under the US Military Assistance Program. The acquisition of a few additional warships that is two destroyers, eight coastal minesweepers and an oiler (between 1956-63) was the direct result of Pakistan's participation in the anti-Communist defence pacts of SEATO and CENTO.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 the navy was involved in a conflict for the first time. Apart from carrying out a limited bombardment of the coastal town of Dwaraka - codenamed Operation Dwarka, the navy's submarine PNS Ghazi was deployed against Indian Navy's western fleet at Bombay (Mumbai) port. 
The Navy's role changed in Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 when the military was caught in the thick of the battle. With East Pakistan having been surrounded on all three sides by the Indian Army, the Navy was under immense pressure to protect the coast. Despite the isolated incident, the sinking of an Indian frigate INS Khukri by the submarine PNS Hangor, the Navy was largely overrun. The major threat from the much dreaded PNS Ghazi - the only long range submarine - was nullified when it was sunk in the Bay of Bengal by INS Vikrant, thus enabling an easy blockade on East Pakistan. The damage inflicted by both Indian Navy and Indian Air Force on Pakistan Navy stood at 7 Gunboats, one submarine, 1minesweeper, 2 Destroyers, 3 patrol crafts belonging to the coast guard, 18 Cargo, supply and communication vessels, with some more crafts damaged, and Large scale destruction inflicted on the naval base and Docks in the coastal town of Karachi. 3 merchant navy ships Anwar Baksh, Pasni, Madhumathi and ten smaller vessels were captured. The total number of personnel losses came to about 1900 and 1413 servicemen were captured by Indian forces in Dhaka(Official Pakistan losses). In contrast the Indian Navy lost 212 personnel, a frigate (another frigate damaged) and a naval plane Breguet Alizé to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). According to one Pakistan scholar, Tariq Ali, Pakistan Navy lost a third of its force in the war. The primary reason for this loss has been attributed to the central command's failure in defining a role for the Navy - or the military in general, in East Pakistan. Since then the Navy has sought to improve the structure and fleet by putting special emphasis on sub-surface warfare capability as it allows for the most efficient way to deny the control of Pakistani sea lanes to the adversary.
Following the breakup of Pakistan, the Navy sought to diversify its purchases instead of depending solely on the US, which had placed an arms embargo on both India and Pakistan. It sought more vessels from France and China. The Pakistan Navy thus became the first navy in South Asia to acquire land based missile capable long range reconnaissance aircraft. During the 1980s the Pakistan Navy enjoyed un-preceded growth. It doubled its surface fleet from 8 to 16 surface combatants in 1989. In 1982, the Reagan administration approved US$ 3.2 billions military and economic aid to Pakistan. Pakistan acquired eight Brooke and Garcia-class frigates from US Navy on a five year lease in 1988. A depot for repairs, EX-USS HECTOR followed the lease of these ships in April 1989. However after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 US President George Bush was advised to no longer certify that Pakistan was not involved in the development of nuclear weapons and the Pressler’s Amendment was invoked on 1 October 1990. The lease of the first Brooke class frigate expired in March 1993, the remaining in early 1994. This seriously impaired the Pakistan Navy, which was composed almost entirely of former US origin ships. Pakistan began to concentrate on self-reliance for its defense production.
The Atlantique Incident was a major international incident on 10 August 1999 where a Pakistan Navy plane (Breguet Atlantic) with 16 on board was shot down in the border area of the Kutch region when it was well within Pakistani Airspace by Indian Air Force jets. It resulted in escalated tensions between the two neighboring countries.
The Navy has been involved in some peacetime operations, most notably during the tsunami tragedy that struck on December 26, 2004. Pakistan sent vessels to Sri Lanka and the Maldives to help in rescue and relief work.