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Rahman (left) with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
|Chief Justice of Pakistan|
18 November 1968 – 31 October 1975
|Appointed by||Ayub Khan|
|Preceded by||Fazal Akbar|
|Succeeded by||Muhammad Yaqub Ali|
1 November 1910|
Patna, Bengal Presidency, British Raj
(now in Bihar, India)
|Died||13 October 1975
|Alma mater||University of Calcutta
University of London
Inns of Court School of Law
Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman (Bengali: হামুদুর রহমান; Urdu: حمود الرحمن; November 1, 1910 – October 31, 1975) was an East Pakistani jurist who was the seventh Chief Justice of Pakistan and the vice-chancellor of the Dhaka University as well as professor of law at the Karachi University. Hailed from East-Pakistan, Hamoodur Rahman retained his Pakistani citizenship even after the war and independence of Bangladesh. Hamoodur Rahman gained international and public fame when he was named by the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Government as the Chairman of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission. The Commission, under Chief Justice of Pakistan Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman, investigated and was very critical to the role of Pakistan Armed Forces in Politics.
Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman remained a respectable and honorable name in Pakistan's judiciary, and he was publicly hailed by the Chief Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday. His commission's fact finding and, even for his personal role, is widely regarded as the most honorable commission that was investigated by a Bengali Chief Justice, in spite of East-Pakistan disaster.
RahmanJustice Hamoodur Rahman was born in Patna, India. He obtained his graduation from the St. Xavier's College of the University of Calcutta and an LLB from the University of London, studied in Gray's Inn, London, and was called to the Bar in London in 1937.
Hamoodur Rahman began his career as a lawyer in Calcutta High Court in 1938. He was a councillor of the Calcutta Corporation (1940) and Deputy Mayor of Calcutta (1943). Hamoodur Rahman was a member of the Junior Standing Counsel of the province of Bengal from 1943 to 1947. After the independence of Pakistan he opted for East Pakistan and came to Dhaka in 1948. He was appointed Advocate General of East Pakistan in 1953 and held it till 1954 when he was elevated to the bench as a judge of the Dhaka High Court.
Justice Hamoodur Rahman was a judge of the Dhaka High Court from 1954 to 1960 and vice chancellor of Dhaka University from November 1958 to December 1960. Hamoodur Rahman was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1960, and was made Chief Justice of Pakistan in 1968 and retired in 1976.
After the war
Justice Hamoodur Rahman held various dignified positions during his judicial career. He was a member of the International Court of Arbitration (The Hague, 1959–60), chairman of the Commission on Students Problems and Welfare (1964), member of Law Reforms Commission (1967), member of War Enquiry Commission (1972), member of United Nations Committee on Crime Prevention and Control (1972–1973), and chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan (1974–1977). Hamoodur Rahman chose to remain a citizen of Pakistan after the Bangladesh Liberation War.
His son Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rahman is currently the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court. He had refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order issued by General Pervez Musharraf who imposed the Emergency Rule in November 2007. He resumed work at the Lahore High Court on the 19th of March 2009 after the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report
In 1971, the-President Zulfikar Bhutto set up the public inquiry commission and named Chief Justice Rahman as its Chairman. Initially, Chief Justice Rahman was tasked to investigate the causes and the break-up of Pakistan, and role of the Pakistan Armed Forces in the national politics. His report revealed many aspects of politics in Pakistan Armed Forces during the East-Pakistan war. Because of the nature of the findings it was not declassified for decades until an Indian newspapers, later Pakistani newspapers, published the details.
During 1971 till 1975 when the commission submitted its report, Chief Justice Rahman conduct several interviews of Pakistan Armed Forces' senior military officers as well as Bengali nationalists. Due to its criticism to government and other serious allegations on politicians, the report was never made public in Pakistan, and concealed all of its information as the report was marked as "Top secret". The report explores a number of issues such as, killing of thousands of East Pakistanis—both civilians and "Bengali" soldiers—rape, pan smuggling, looting of banks in East Pakistan, drunkenness by officers, even an instance of a 1 star officers "entertaining" women while their troops were being shelled by Indian troops. The report recommended a string of courts-martial and trials against top senior military officers. The commission called for the courts-martial of the PAF's Lieutenant-General Enamul Haq— Air Officer Commanding of Eastern Military Air Command of Pakistan Air Force, Vice-Admiral Mohammad Shariff— Commander of the Naval Eastern Command of Pakistan Navy, and Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan— General Officer Commanding of Army Eastern Command of Pakistan Army— and former generals Amir Khan Nazi and Rao Farman Ali. However, no action was taken were by Bhutto and his government. The Pakistan Armed Forces' role in splintering Pakistan after its greatest military debacle was largely ignored by successive Pakistani governments. The report examined nearly 300 individuals and hundreds of classified armed forces signals. The final report was submitted on October 23, 1974 by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman who submitted the report to Prime minister Secretariat.
What was found?
This commission of inquiry was appointed to look into the military aspect of the debacle of East Pakistan, but however Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman went into the depth of the matter right since 1947 the creation of Pakistan. He wrote a separate chapter on the Political aspect of the debacle as well very extensively, and also provided the critical role of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In his report, Hamoodur Rahman founded and criticized Bhutto for his role in the 1971 crisis, to some extent implicating him as well of having manipulating General Yahya Khan to take military action. Chief Justice Rahman noted that the General Yahya Khan failed to not come to political settlement laying the foundation of two separate states which was known during general's time as "Tum Wahan Hum Yaha" (Urdu: 'تم وهاں هم يهاں; English: We're here, you're there.). Though the responsibility of the debacle lay on the shoulders of the people in power then as was recommended in the report by Chief Justice Rahman. When the report was submitted the then Prime Minister Bhutto, the prime minister wrote to the Chairman War Inquiry Commission Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman, that the commission has exceeded its limits. The Commission was appointed to look into the military "aspect of debacle", not the aspect of political failure. Bhutto classified the publications of the Commission and marked its report as "Top Secret". Soon, the report was stolen from Prime minister Secretariat by the members of Naval Intelligence.
After the report was submitted, the both Bhutto and General Zia-ul-Haq claimed that it was lost and the report was no where to be found. However, it turned out to have been willfully suppressed by both Bhutto and General Zia-ul-Haq and to have lain in the Directorate-General for the Military History of the Combatant Pakistan Army General Headquarters (GHQ) all the time. Pakistan's premier newspaper, The News International began to look for the publications after the elements of reports were published by Indian newspaper, The Times of India in 2000. After much investigation, the News International reported that the report was founded and was stored in secret record section of the Pakistan Army. After much criticism given to General Musharraf and his military regime, the Pakistan Government finally declassified all of the 1970s secret publications, hence making it public domain.
- The complete Hamoodur Rahman Report
- Dawn newspaper on the Report at the Wayback Machine (archived August 17, 2000)
|Chief Justice of Pakistan
Muhammad Yaqub Ali