Hamoodur Rahman Commission

The Hamoodur Rahman Commission was an Inquiry Judicial Commission Report on the history of Pakistan's political–military assessed involvement in East-Pakistan from 1947 to 1971. The Commission was set up on July 1972 by the Government of Pakistan and chaired under the Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman.

Constituted "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the atrocities and 1971 war", including the "circumstances in which the commander of the Eastern High Command, surrendered the Eastern contingent forces under his command laid down their arms."

The commission's final report was very lengthy and provided evaluated analysis based extensive interviews and testimonies. Its primary conclusion was very critical of the role of Pakistan's military interference and misconduct of politicians as well as intelligence failure of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) permitted the infiltration of Indian agents all along the borders of East Pakistan.

Originally, there were 12 copies of the Report. These were all destroyed; except the one that was handed over to Government who disallowed its publication at the time. In 2000, parts of the commission report was leaked equally to Indian and Pakistani newspapers, Dawn, in its editorial section. The full report was declassified by the government in 2000, with additional reports concerning the year of 1971.

The commission was set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the request of President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in December 1971 after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan Winter War. It was constituted to conduct evaluated and analytical studies to inquire into and find out "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." The commission was formed in December 1971 with Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman, the then Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan as its Chairman.

Commission members
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman (Chairman)
Senior Justice Anwarul Haq (Vice Chairman)
Senior Justice Tufail Rahman (Chief Justice of Sindh High Court)
Two additional members from Baluchistan High Court
Lieutenant-General (retired) Altaf Qadir was its military adviser.

Chief Justice Hamoodur Rehman submitted its first report in July 1972 to the Presidential Palace which Bhutto review the report. The commission considered this initial report tentative as it had not been able to interview many key people who were at that time prisoners of war in India. The commission stated "our observations and conclusions regarding the surrender in East Pakistan and other allied matters should be regarded as provisional and subject to modification in the light of the evidence of the Commander, Eastern Command, and his senior officers as and when such evidence becomes available." Initially the commission interviewed 213 people and made 12 copies of report. One of the copies was given to Bhutto and the rest were either destroyed or were stolen.

The inquiry was reopened in 1974 offering an opportunity to the prisoners of war who had been freed by India by then and others repatriated from East Pakistan to furnish such information as might be within their knowledge and relevant to the purposes of the Commission. Commission held an informal meeting at Lahore on the 3rd of June, 1974 to consider various preliminary matters and then decided to resume proceedings at Abbottabad from the 16th July, 1974. After the investigation resumed in 1974 the commission talked with 73 more bureaucrats and high-ranked military personnel. The commission examined nearly 300 witnesses in total, hundreds of classified documents and army signals between East and West Pakistan. The final report, also called supplementary report, was submitted on October 23, 1974, showed how political, administrative, military and moral failings were responsible for the surrender of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. It remained classified and it contents were guessed from the revealing of different military officers. The report was organized into Five Chapters and an annexure.

Chapter One - The Moral Aspect
Chapter Two - Alleged atrocities by the Pakistan Army
Chapter Three - Professional Responsibilities of Certain Senior Army Commanders
Chapter Four - Conclusions
Chapter Five - Recommendations

The commission challenged the claims by Bangladesh authorities that 3 million Bengalis had been killed by Pakistan army and 200,000 women were raped. The commission, put the casualty figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties. The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole. A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.

Volume I of the main report dealt with political background, international relations, and military aspects of the events of 1971. Volume I of the supplementary report discussed political events of 1971, military aspect, surrender in East Pakistan and the moral aspect.

The Report's findings accuse the Pakistani Army of carrying out senseless and wanton arson, killings in the countryside, killing of intellectuals and professionals and burying them in mass graves, killing of Bengali Officers and soldiers on the pretence of quelling their rebellion, killing East Pakistani civilian officers, businessmen and industrialists, raping a large number of East Pakistani women as a deliberate act of revenge, retaliation and torture, and deliberate killing of members of the Hindu minority. The report accused the generals of what it called a premature surrender and said the military's continued involvement in running the government after 1958 was one reason for the corruption and ineffectiveness of senior officers. 'Even responsible service officers,' the report said, 'have asserted before us that because of corruption resulting from such involvement, the lust for wine and women and greed for lands and houses, a large number of senior army officers, particularly those occupying the highest positions, had lost not only their will to fight but also their professional competence.' The report said Pakistan's military ruler at the time, General Yahya Khan, who stepped down after Pakistan's defeat in December 1971, 'permitted and even instigated' the surrender, and it recommended that he be publicly tried along with other senior military colleagues.

The report accused General Yahya Khan, of being a womanizer and an alcoholic. According to the report "Firm and proper action would not only satisfy the nation's demand for punishment where it is deserved, but would also ensure against any future recurrence of the kind of shameful conduct displayed during the 1971 war".

The commission recommended that General Yahya Khan, Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army and Chief Martial Law Administrator that time, General Abdul Hamid Khan, Lieutenant General S.G.M.M. Pirzada, Lieutenant General Gul Hasan, Major-General Umar and Major General Mitha, commandant of Army SS Group, should be publicly tried for being party to a criminal conspiracy to illegally usurp power from Mohammad Ayub Khan in power if necessary by the use of force. Five other Lieutenant-Generals and three Brigadier-Generals were recommended to be tried for willful neglect of duty. These were Lieutenant-Generals included A.A.K. Nazi, Mohammad Jamshed, M. Rahim Khan, Irshad Ahmad Khan, B.M. Mustafa and Brigadier-Generals G.M. Baquir Siddiqui, Mohammad Hayat and Mohammad Aslam Niazi.

According to the commission General Mustafa's offensive plan aimed at the capture of the Indian position of Ramgarh in the Rajasthan area (Western Front) was militarily unsound and haphazardly planned, and its execution resulted in severe loss of vehicles and equipment in the desert.

The final report was submitted on October 23, 1974 by Chief Justice Hamood Rahman to the Prime minister Secretariat to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Following its submission, Bhutto classified the entire report as he was afraid that the report, which was highly critical to the role of Pakistan Defence Forces (especially Army) in politics, would contribute furthermore demoralization and humiliation in Pakistan Armed Forces. However, in 1975, Bhutto told Chief Justice Rahman that the report was either lost or stolen from the Prime minister Secretariat's record section, and it was nowhere to be found. Chief Justice Rehman then turned to Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq for the apprehension of the report to make it published in public. General Zia-ul-Haq also commented that the original report is no where to be found, and nobody knows where the report actually went missing. It was in 2000, when Pakistan Media on aired the news that the report was actually stored at the Generals Headquarter (GHQ), the Combatant headquarter of Pakistan Army. The report was later found in Army's report and records section by the Chief of Staff of the office. The media also quoted it was General Zia-ul-Haq who had given standing orders to the members of the Naval Intelligence who stole the report and submitted the report to him.

No action was ever taken based on this report, the report was classified and its publication disallowed at the time. General Yahya Khan died in 1980, but some of his key colleagues were living in retirement on pensions as of 2000. Parts of the report were leaked and published in Indian magazine India Today in August 2000. The following day Pakistan's leading English language newspaper Dawn Newspapers also published the supplementary report. General Pervez Musharraf said in October 2000 that the incidents in 1971 were a political as well as a military debacle, and that calls for generals to be tried were not fair. Subsequently Bangladesh requested a copy of the report. In December 2000, 29 years after the inquiry was completed, the full commission report was finally declassified in Pakistan by President Musharraf's Military government in December 2000.

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