MUHAMMAD ZAHID RIFAT An extract from the chapter, dealing with the recommendations and trials of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report after an inquiry into the fall of Dhaka - the shameful surrender of our military before the Indian army at Paltan Maidan, states: There is consensus on the imperative need of bringing to book those senior army commanders, who have brought disgrace and defeat to Pakistan by their subversion of the Constitution, usurpation of political power by criminal conspiracy, their professional incompetence, culpable negligence, and wilful neglect in the performance of their duties and physical and moral cowardice in abandoning the fight when they had the capability and resources to resist the enemy. Firm and proper action would not only satisfy the nations demand for punishment where it is deserved, but would also ensure against any future recurrence of the shameful conduct displayed during the 1971 war. The Commission of Inquiry, which is known as the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, was formed to investigate the circumstances in which the Commander, Eastern Command surrendered, and the members of the Armed Forces of Pakistan under his command laid down their arms and a ceasefire was ordered along the borders of West Pakistan and India, and along the ceasefire line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, more than three and half decades have passed since the great tragedy occurred, but neither the report has been made public completely, nor those who were held responsible for the shameful surrender have been punished. A few years back, a portion of the report was published, but it was not enough to reveal the whole truth about the sad incident. Regarding the surrender, the commission has opined in its report: We have come to the conclusion that there was no order to surrender, but in view of the desperate picture painted by the Commander, Eastern Command, the higher authorities only gave him permission to surrender if he in his judgement thought it was necessary....Niazi could have disobeyed.On his own estimate, he had 26,400 men at Dhaka in uniform and he could have held out for at least another two weeks, because the enemy would have taken a week to build up its forces in the Dhaka area and another week to reduce the fortress of Dhaka. IfNiazi had done so and lost his lifehe would have made history and would have been remembered by the coming generations as a great herobut he had already lost the will to fight after December 7, 1971.The question of creating history, therefore, was never in his mind. Continuing, it maintained: Even more painful than the military failures of Lt Gen Niazi is the story of the abject manner in which he agreed to sign the surrender document laying down arms to the so-called joint command of India and Mukti Bahini, to be present at the airport to receive the victorious Indian General Arorato the everlasting shame of Pakistan.Even if he had been obliged to surrenderit was not necessary for him to behave in this shameful manner.Niazi had suffered a complete moral collapse during the closing phases of the war. In addition, the commission suggested that the culprits should be tried for criminal neglect of duty in the conduct of war both in East Pakistan and West Pakistan. But, unfortunately, not even one of them has been punished for the crime they had committed in 1971. If none of the recommendations were to be implemented, then what was the need for setting up this high-level commission? Since the great tragedy occurred, a number of civil and military governments have come and gone, but none of them tried to implement the recommendations made in the report. Further, despite the commissions detailed report, there are several questions that remain unanswered mainly about the dirty role played by India and the US in the dismemberment of Pakistan. The writer is a freelance columnist.