Byline: Muhammad Zahid Rifat
There is no greater fall than that of the Fall of Dacca as for as Pakistan is concerned. There is not the greatest surrender before the enemy in the history of the Muslim Ummah than the one that took place at the Paltan Maidan in Dacca, which is now spelled as Dhaka, on December 16, 1971 when the largest ever number of 90 thousand officers and jawans of the Pakistan Army and the civilians surrendered before India and the Pakistan flag was pulled down never to rise there again.
Indeed, it was the darkest day in the chequered history of Pakistan which was then only 24 years old after emerging on the world map out of nowhere on August 14, 1947.
Another anniversary of the Fall of Dacca is being observed on December 16, 2019 and even after passage of 48 years, many questions still remain, most unfortunately, unanswered.
Factors that caused the separation of East Pakistan and the characters responsible for the great tragedy are somehow yet to be identified.
The most pertinent question which still remains unanswered is that how many of the army officers were punished who were so named on the basis of bitter facts established by the Hamoodur Rehman Commission in its report.
The answer to this ,most unfortunately and regrettably, still remain is a BIG NO even now. This no action on the report of the Inquiry Commission into the Fall of Dacca has somehow passed the blame on to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from the then military ruler General Agha Muhammad Yaha Khan on whose orders army action was launched in East Pakistan in March 1971.
The Indian rulers had fully exploited the situation and supported the Mukti Bahini and Shaikh Mujibur Rahman in what was called 'the struggle for independence'. As a matter of fact, India had gained the most from the Fall of Dacca. During a recent visit of the scribe to the newly-established Army Museum in Lahore, a big map showing training centres for Mukti Bahini in different areas of India established the fact that the Mukti Bahini comprised the Indian Army officers and jawans and not the people of East Pakistan.
General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan and other army Generals and officers named in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report should have been arrested, tried and punished for the major crime of dismemberment of the country as per recommendations of the Inquiry Commission. But somehow this was not done for the reasons better known to the rulers of the time.
The other day, this scribe was involved...