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 in a heated discussion arising out of frequent army intervention and abrogation and suspension of the Constitution by the military dictators and nobody being punished for the high treason so committed under Article 6 of the Constitution. Someone during the discussion quite rightly pointed out that if nobody has been held responsible and punished for causing dismemberment of Pakistan then who is bothered to ensure sanctity of the Constitution and punish one or the other for committing high treason.

Many may be still alive though retired from the army and the civil services several years back. At least they should be made accountable for their alleged crimes and irregularities. Those who have expired during all these years also should at least be held responsible for their actions and misdeeds as per the findings of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report even now.

Army Chief/ President General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan was at the helm of the whole dirty episode. Shaikh Mujibur Rahman was on the record having stated after Bangladesh had come into being that he was working for gaining independence for the last about more than 20 years.

The words “Idhar Hum Udhar Tum” were never occurred by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The phrase was coined by journalist Abbas Ather (who expired couple of years back) who was working as the News Editor in an Urdu daily “Azad” published from Lahore and this had clicked instantly under the then prevailing circumstances.

If the National Assembly session was called off before being held by the then President of Pakistan with or without the consent and connivance of PPP Chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, then someone should have been held responsible for contributing further to the cause of separation of East Pakistan.

While none has so far been punished for the dismemberment of Pakistan as none those listed in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report were apparently just sacred cows who could not be touched. We also have not learnt any lesson from the great tragedy of Fall of Dacca so far somehow.

As usual, there will be no official word on and about the Fall of Dacca, political parties will hold meetings blaming one or the other for the separation of East Pakistan and the day December 16 will just pass like any other day.

Could not the succeeding civil and military governments all these years declare December 16 as the National Mourning Day then, now and for all times to come for reminding our future generations about the great tragedy of Fall of Dacca ? Why the national flag is not lowered on this day to remember and mourn the Fall of Dacca while it flies at half-mast on the demise of one or the other world leaders every now and then ? Please act now and stay alive for now and centuries together with the continued blessings of Almighty Allah.

The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy Controller (news) Radio Pakistan Islamabad and can be reached at zahidriffat@ gmail.com