East Pakistan, the eastern wing of the country, died on 16 December 1971 at the Paltan Maidan in Dacca ( now spelled Dhaka). On its debris emerged a new country, Bangladesh, as a result of a big conspiracy and naked aggression by India in the garb of the Mukti Bahini, a force patronized by the neighbouring country through Shaikh Mujibur Rehman.
It was on this day, perhaps the darkest day in the history of Pakistan so far and also for the future, that the then Commander Eastern Command, Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi, had surrendered before the Indian Armys Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora at a ceremony symbolically laying down his pistol. The very presence of the Indian general established the bitter fact that it was India, and none else, who had caused the separation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan and breaking the country which had emerged on the world map only on 14 August 1947 out of nowhere, and which was hardly 24 years old.
The factors responsible for this great tragedy are yet to be identified and the guilty ones have not been punished, despite being so named in the comprehensive Report of the Commission of Inquiry headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Hamoodur Rehman. The three-member Commission of Inquiry was constituted by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had become the President as well as the first-ever Civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator at the Fall of Dacca after the then President/CMLA/Commander-in-Chief General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan had stepped down, handing over remainder of Pakistan, which was founded by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah through the struggle of the Muslims for a separate homeland of their own to his successor.
I am still mourning the Great Fall of Dacca, though I never had a chance to visit East Pakistan. I particularly get very sad on December 16 every year and avoid indulgence in any joyous and happy activities, both at home and outside anywhere. Do you share my feelings, sentiments as well as serious concerns over how the guilty ones go scot-free on this another anniversary of the tragic demise of East Pakistan
To refresh the memory of the readers, it is mentioned here that the other two members of the Commission of Inquiry were Mr Justice S. Anwarul Haq, a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Mr Justice Tufail Ali, Chief Justice of the Sindh and Balochistan High Court.
Even 48 years after the Great Tragedy that resulted from the shameful Fall of Dacca, those named in the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, submitted in two parts, have not been named as such so far, what to talk about those who had caused the dismemberment of Pakistan being tried and punished in any manner whatsoever.
The Commission’s Report itself has not been made public in full so far, as it contained the names of many sacred cows. The respect and reputation of a number of army generals and senior army officers is perhaps as much more superior, protected and safeguarded than the Motherland itself.
The duly censored part of the Hamoodur Rehman Commission was made public many years back without the names of those found guilty, and as such did not offer a true and full picture of the dirtiest episode ever enacted, at least as viewed by the three senior most judges of the Superior Courts.
The Fall of Dacca had occurred when a military dictator was at the helm of national affairs. As a matter of sheer coincidence, another military dictator was at the helm of affairs in 2006 as the President/Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee/Chief of Army Staff, Gen Pervez Musharraf, who was on record as having advised the people of Pakistan to forget the 16 December 1971 great tragedy. And most unfortunately, a turnaround over the Kashmir issue then also seemed to be imminent.
The then Commander of the Eastern Command was on record as having said that he had surrendered to the Indian Army on the orders of GHQ in Rawalindi. He had thus written a new chapter in the greatest-ever surrender, by about 90,000 Pakistanis, most of whom were Army officers and jawans.
The burning question that still irks the mind of this scribe and must also be disturbing millions of others who were witness to the Great Tragedy from close or distant angles, is whether those who were forced to surrender before the enemy could not lay down their lives in the defence of the sacred soil of the Motherland? No doubt the Commander Eastern Command had surrendered before the Indian Army General on a green signal from GHQ, and the Army officers and jawans were bound to follow the command. But the circumstances which prevailed then were certainly not ordinary, there was gap of communication and the local commanders could have continued fighting and laying down their lives. This would have earned them more respect and honour in the eyes of their fellow countrymen than the humiliation to which they were subjected in the Prisoners of War (POW) camps in India.
Cutting the saddest story rather short, this scribe would regretfully like to mention the names of the Army Generals and senior officers who were named in the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report and ask still a very pertinent burning question as to when and what punishment was given to them?
They were Gen Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, Gen Abdul Hamid Khan, Lt Gen S.G.M.M. Pirzada, Major General Mitha, Lt Gen Irshad Ahmad Khan, Maj Gen Abid Zahid, Maj Gen B.M. Mustafa, Lt Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, Maj Gen Muhammad Jamshed, Maj Gen M. Rahim Khan, Brig G.M. Baquir Siddiqui, Brig Muhammad Hayat, Brig Muhammad Niazi, Cdr Gul Zareen of Pakistan Navy, Brig S.A. Ansari, Brig Manzoor Ahmad, Brig Abdul Qadir Khan, to mention only the senior officers.
I am still mourning the Great Fall of Dacca, though I never had a chance to visit East Pakistan. I particularly get very sad on December 16 every year and avoid indulgence in any joyous and happy activities, both at home and outside anywhere. Do you share my feelings, sentiments as well as serious concerns over how the guilty ones go scot-free on this another anniversary of the tragic demise of East Pakistan. Please join me in praying to the Almighty to save us from any more such tragedies, either at the hands of the military dictators or the civilian rulers. source: pakistantoday