||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Prime Minister of Bangladesh|
6 January 2009
|Preceded by||Fakhruddin Ahmed (Acting)|
23 June 1996 – 15 July 2001
|President||Abdur Rahman Biswas
|Preceded by||Muhammad Habibur Rahman (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Latifur Rahman (Acting)|
|Leader of the Opposition|
10 October 2001 – 29 October 2006
|Preceded by||Khaleda Zia|
|Succeeded by||Khaleda Zia|
20 March 1991 – 30 March 1996
|Preceded by||A. S. M. Abdur Rab|
|Succeeded by||Khaleda Zia|
28 September 1949 |
Tungipara, East Bengal, Pakistan
(now in Bangladesh)
|Political party||Awami League|
|Grand Alliance (2008–present)|
|Spouse(s)||Wazed Miah (1968–2009)|
|Alma mater||Bangladesh National University
University of Dhaka
Sheikh Hasina (Bengali: শেখ হাসিনা Shekh Hasina; born 28 September 1947) has been Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2009; she also served in that position from 1996 to 2001. Hasina has led the Bangladesh Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father and first President of Bangladesh, and widow of M. A. Wazed Miah, a nuclear scientist. Hasina's party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary election, assuring her of the post of prime minister.
Hasina's political career has spanned more than four decades during which she has been both Prime Minister and opposition leader. As opposition leader, she was the target of an assassination attempt in 2004. In 2007, she was arrested for corruption and charged with murder by the military-backed Caretaker Government during the 2006–2008 Bangladeshi political crisis, when the generals imposed a state of emergency. She returned as Prime Minister after a landslide victory for the Awami League-led Grand Alliance in 2008, when they took two-thirds of the seats in parliament.
Sheikh Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, first president, and Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib. Hasina was not in Bangladesh when her father was assassinated on 15 August 1975. She not allowed to return to the country until after she was elected to lead the Awami League party in February and arrived 17 May 1981.
Early political career
Movement against General Ershad's presidency
While living in self-exile in India after her father and family's assassination in 1975 (only she and a sister survived as they were out of the country), Hasina was elected President of the Bangladesh Awami League in 1981. After she returned to Bangladesh, President Ziaur Rahman was assassinated on 30 May 1981 in an attempted military coup. General Hossain Mohammad Ershad and most of the army remained loyal to the government. The following year, Ershad captured power through a bloodless coup and declared martial law, suppressing political party activity and suspending the constitution. These portions were restored in 1985 and he was in power until 1990.
Hasina was in and out of detention throughout the 1980s. In 1984, Hasina was put under house arrest in February and again in November. In March 1985, she was put under house arrest for three months. Her party, along with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Ziaur Rahman's widow Khaleda Zia, continued to work to restore democratically elected government, which they achieved by the democratic election in 1991, won by the BNP.
In 1996, Hasina supported an abortive military coup, led by Lt. General A S M Nasim, against the legitimate BNP government. When her party won the elections later that year and the right to govern the nation, she permitted Nasim to retire rather than dismissing him.
Leader of the opposition, 1986-87
Hasina and the Awami League participated in the 1986 Parliamentary elections held under President Lieutenant-General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. She served as the leader of the opposition in 1986–1987. Hasina's decision to take part in the election has been criticised by her opponents, since the election was held under dictatorial rule. Her supporters maintain that she used the platform effectively to challenge Ershad's rule. He dissolved the parliament in December 1987.
After the several years of military rule, widespread protests and strikes created so much unrest that the economy was not functioning. The government prepared to hold democratic elections again in 1991. A caretaker government, headed by Shahabuddin Ahmed, the outgoing chief justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, oversaw the elections. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won the election, and Hasina's Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party. Hasina was defeated in the Dhaka constituencies that she contested by Sadeque Hossain Khoka, later Mayor of Dhaka, and Major Abdul Mannan (Retd.), later State Minister for Civil Aviation and Textiles. (He is now Secretary General of Bikalpa Dhara.)
She was elected to the Parliament from her home constituency in Gopalganj. Hasina offered to resign as the party president after the defeat but stayed on at the request of party leaders. Meanwhile, Khaleda Zia of the victorious BNP took office as the first female Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
The 1991-1996 period
Politics in Bangladesh took a decisive turn in 1994, after Magura by-elections. This election was held after the death of the MP for that constituency, a member of Hasina's party. The Awami League expected to win back the seat, but the BNP candidate won.
The Awami League, with other opposition parties, demanded that the next general elections be held under a caretaker government, and that provision for caretaker governments to manage elections be incorporated in the constitution. The BNP initially refused to act on these demands.
Opposition parties launched an unprecedented campaign, calling strikes for weeks on end. The government accused them of destroying the economy while the opposition countered that BNP could solve this problem by acceding to their demands. In late 1995, the MPs of the Awami League and other parties lost their seats due to prolonged absence from parliament. The government declared elections on 15 February 1996, an election that was boycotted by all major parties except the ruling BNP. Hasina described the election as a farce.
The elected parliament, composed mostly of BNP members, amended the constitution to create provisions for a caretaker government (CTG). The next parliamentary elections on 30 June 1996 were held under a caretaker government headed by Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman. In May, the CTG had survived an abortive military coup by Lt.-General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim. This was a change from three coups that toppled earlier governments in 1975 and the early 1980s following assassination of political leaders.
First term as Prime Minister, 1996-2001
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
Hasina served her first term as prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001.
In the 2001 election, although winning 40% of the popular vote (slightly less than the BNP's 41%), the Awami League won just 62 seats in the Parliament, while the 'Four Party Alliance' led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party won 234 seats, giving them a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Hasina herself ran in three constituencies, and was defeated in a constituency in Rangpur, which included her husband's home town, but won in two other seats. Hasina and the Awami League rejected the results, claiming that the election was rigged with the help of the President and the caretaker government. The international community was largely satisfied with the elections, and the 'Four Party Alliance' went on to form the government.
Opposition period, 2001-2008
The Awami League MPs were irregular in attending the Parliament during the following period. In late 2003, the Awami League started its first major anti-government movement, culminating in the declaration by party general secretary Abdul Jolil that the government would fall before 30 April 2004. This failed to happen and was seen as a blow to the party and Hasina, who had implicitly supported Jalil.
2004 assassination attempt
During her second term as leader of the opposition, political unrest and violence increased. Ahsanullah Master, a MP, was killed in 2004. This was followed by a grenade attack on an Awami League gathering in Dhaka, resulting in the death of 21 party supporters, including party women's secretary Ivy Rahman. Shah M S Kibria, Hasina's former finance minister, was also killed that year, in a grenade attack in Sylhet that year.
In June 2005, A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury, an incumbent of the Awami League, won the important mayoral election in Chittagong, the port city and second-largest city in Bangladesh. This election was seen as a showdown between the opposition and the ruling party.
Caretaker government and military intervention October 2006–2008
The months preceding the planned January 22, 2007, elections were filled with political unrest and controversy. Following the end of Khaleda Zia's government in late October 2006, there were protests and strikes, during which 40 people were killed in the following month, over uncertainty about who would head the caretaker government (CTG). The CTG had difficulty bringing the all parties to the table. Awami League and its allies protested and alleged that the CTG favored the BNP.
The interim period was marked by violence and strikes. Presidential Advisor Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury negotiated with Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia and brought all the parties to the planned 22 January 2007 parliamentary elections. Hussain Muhammad Ershad's nomination (for what?) was cancelled by an anti-democracy group led by General Moeen U Ahmed; as a result, the Grand Alliance withdrew its candidates en masse on the last day possible. They demanded to have voters' lists published.
Later in the month, Lt General Moeen took over the government in a bloodless military coup and imposed a state of emergency. Political activity was prohibited. Ahmed stepped down, and the elections were postponed.
Hasina supported Moeen and promised to legitimize his regime. At her instruction, the Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil signed a treaty with Jatiya Party to make H M Ershad president. She told Moeen she would support Ershad's becoming president. Another five points agreement was signed with Khelafat Majlish, to ban Kadiyani in Bangladesh and formulate a blasphemy law, but these agreements were not followed through.
The military-backed government worked to develop graft and corruption cases against leaders and members of both major parties, trying to grapple with one of the nation's major continuing problems. In March 2007, Khaleda Zia's two sons, who both had government positions, were charged with corruption. Hasina was charged with graft and extortion in April 2007, and a day later, Khaleda Zia was charged with graft as well.
Hasina was accused of having forced Bangladeshi businessman Tajul Islam Farooq to pay bribes in 1998 before his company could build a power plant. Farooq said that he paid Hasina 30 million takas (US$441,000, or €383,211) to get his project approved by the government, according to a police official.
On 11 April 2007, the police filed murder charges against Hasina, alleging that she masterminded the killing in October 2006 of four supporters of a rival political party. The four alleged victims were beaten to death during clashes between the Awami League and rival party activists. Deputy police commissioner, Shahidul Haq Bhuiyan, said "detective branch police submitted the charge-sheet of the case to a Dhaka court today after carrying out investigations and taking evidence." Hasina was visiting the United States at the time.
The interim administration took steps to prevent Hasina's return to Bangladesh. The New Nation newspaper reported on 17 April 2007 that airlines had been asked not to allow her to return to Dhaka. She had been planning to return on 23 April 2007. On 18 April 2007, the government barred Hasina from returning, saying that she had made provocative statements and that her return could cause disorder. This was described as a temporary measure.(The CTG had also been trying to get Khaleda Zia to leave the country.) Hasina vowed to return home, and on 22 April 2007, a warrant was issued for her arrest for murder. Describing the case against her as "totally false and fake", Hasina said that she wanted to defend herself against the charges in court. On 23 April 2007, the arrest warrant was suspended, and on 25 April 2007, the ban on Hasina's entry into the country was dropped.
As the government was pressuring her rival Khaleda Zia to go into exile at the same time, its actions against Hasina appeared to be an attempt to restructure the political system by getting rid of both longtime leaders. Bangladesh had been ranked as the most corrupt nation for years under both Khaleda Zia and Hasina by organizations devoted to transparency in government.
After spending 51 days in the United States and the UK, on 7 May 2007 Hasina returned to Dhaka, where she was greeted by a crowd of several thousand. She told reporters that the government should not have delayed her return.
July 2007 arrest
On 16 July 2007, Hasina was arrested by state police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka. She was accused of extortion and denied bail, and was held in a building converted into a jail on the premises of the National Parliament. The Awami League said the arrest was politically motivated.
On 17 July 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission sent notices to both Hasina and Khaleda Zia, instructing them to provide details of their assets to the Commission within one week.
Hasina's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy was out of the country, and said he would try to organise worldwide protest. These arrests of the political leaders were widely seen as a move by the military-backed interim government to force Hasina and Zia out of the country and into political exile. United Kingdom MPs condemned the arrest.
On 30 July 2007, the Dhaka High Court suspended Hasina's extortion trial and ordered her release on bail. On 2 September 2007, an additional case was filed against Hasina by the Anti-Corruption Commission regarding the awarding of a contract for the construction of a power plant in 1997, for which she allegedly took a bribe of 30 million takas and kept the contract from going to the lowest bidder. Six others were also accused of involvement.
A graft case was filed against Zia on the same day.
On 13 January 2008, Hasina was indicted on extortion charges by a special court along with two of her relatives, her sister Sheikh Rehana and her cousin Sheikh Selim. On 6 February, the High Court stopped the trial, ruling that she could not be prosecuted under emergency laws for crimes alleged to have been committed prior to the imposition of the state of emergency.
On 11 June 2008, Hasina was released on parole for medical reasons. The next day she flew to the United States to be treated for hearing impairment, eye problems and high blood pressure. Prof. Syed Modasser Ali, her personal physician, threatened to sue the caretaker government over negligence regarding Hasina's treatment during her detention.
2008 election & return to power
On 6 November 2008, Sheikh Hasina returned Bangladesh to attend the Ninth National Parliamentary Elections 2008 scheduled for 29 December 2008 and decided to participate in the parliamentary election under the name of "Grand Alliance" with the Jatiya Party lead by Hussain Muhammad Ershad as its main partner. On 11 December 2008, Hasina formally announced her party's election manifesto during a news conference & vowed to build a "Digital Bangladesh" by 2021.
Bangladesh Awami League lead by her, and its Grand Alliance (a total of 14 parties) won the general election held on 29 December 2008 with a two-thirds majority numerically the party controls 230 seats out of 299. But Khaleda Zia leader of BNP-led coalition (4-Party Alliance) rejected the results of the election by questioning the Chief Election Commissioner "for stage-managing the parliamentary election." Finally Sheikh Hasina was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009.
Second term as Prime Minister, 2009-present
|This section requires expansion. (March 2013)|
Hasina had to confront a major national crisis in the form of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles revolt.
Hasina was married to Dr. M. A. Wazed Mia in 1968. He died on 9 May 2009. She has one son — Sajeeb Wazed Joy and one daughter — Saima Wazed Hossain Putul. Joy lives in the United States with his family, and Putul lives in Canada with her husband Khandkar M Hossain.
Hasina is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers.
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- PM says Bangladesh cannot help Rohingya
- Biography from Britannica Online
- Dhaka Court Orders Arrest of Hasina's Sister, Arab News, 25 October 2007.
- Awami League official website
- Banglapedia article on Sheikh Hasina
- Sheikh Hasina Mukti Porishod Italy
- Sheikh Hasina release on two month parole
- Sheikh Hasina gives a speech to open a climate conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Muhammad Habibur Rahman
|Prime Minister of Bangladesh
|Prime Minister of Bangladesh