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Sheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina
শেখ হাসিনা
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Assumed office
6 January 2009
President Iajuddin Ahmed
Zillur Rahman
Abdul Hamid
Preceded by Fakhruddin Ahmed (Acting)
In office
23 June 1996 – 15 July 2001
President Abdur Rahman Biswas
Shahabuddin Ahmed
Preceded by Muhammad Habibur Rahman (Acting)
Succeeded by Latifur Rahman (Acting)
Leader of the Opposition
In office
10 October 2001 – 29 October 2006
Preceded by Khaleda Zia
Succeeded by Khaleda Zia
In office
20 March 1991 – 30 March 1996
Preceded by Abdur Rab
Succeeded by Khaleda Zia
Leader of the Bangladesh Awami League
Assumed office
17 May 1981
Preceded by Asaduzzaman Khan
Personal details
Born (1947-09-28) 28 September 1947
Tungipara, Pakistan
(now Bangladesh)
Political party Bangladesh Awami League
Other political
Grand Alliance (2008–present)
Spouse(s) Wazed Miah (1968–2009)
Children Sajeeb
Alma mater Eden Mohila College
University of Dhaka
Religion Islam

Sheikh Hasina (Bengali: শেখ হাসিনা; English , ; born 28 September 1947)[1] is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in office since January 2009. She previously served as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001, and she 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 the nuclear scientist M. A. Wazed Miah. She is also sometimes referred-to as Sheikh Hasina Wazed, her married name.[2][3][4]

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. In January 2014 she became the prime minister for the third time after winning the 2014 parliamentary election, which was boycotted by the main opposition BNP-led alliance. Hasina is considered one of the most powerful women in the world, ranking 47th on Forbes' list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.[5]

For the better part of the last two decades, Hasina's chief rival has been BNP leader Khaleda Zia. The two women have alternated as non-interim Prime Ministers since 1991.


  • Early life 1
  • Early political career 2
    • Movement against General Ershad's presidency 2.1
    • Leader of the opposition, 1986-87 2.2
    • 1991 election 2.3
    • The 1991–1996 period 2.4
    • 1996 elections 2.5
  • First term as Prime Minister, 1996-2001 3
    • 2001 election 3.1
  • Opposition period, 2001-2008 4
    • 2004 assassination attempt 4.1
    • Caretaker government and military intervention, October 2006–2008 4.2
    • Criminal charges 4.3
    • July 2007 arrest 4.4
    • 2008 election and return to power 4.5
  • Second term as Prime Minister, 2009-2014 5
    • 2014 election 5.1
  • Third term as Prime Minister, 2014-present 6
  • Personal life 7
  • Honours 8
  • Other activities 9
  • References 10
  • Literature 11
  • External links 12

Early life

Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, first president of Bangladesh, and Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib. From the village of Tungipara, where she grew up, Hasina had been born into the violence during the 1947 Partition. As she said in many interviews that she had grown up in fear due to her father's political works. During the peak of violence of the 1970 Elections in Pakistan as well as her father's arrest she had lived in refuge with her grandmother. Saying "I was not allowed to go to the school. Because I had to cross the canal by a wooden bridge, she was very much afraid that if I fall from this wooden bridge I will fall in the river". Hasina was not in Bangladesh when her father was assassinated on 15 August 1975. She was not allowed to return to the country until after she was elected to lead the Awami League Party in February 1981 and arrived on 17 May 1981.[6][7]

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 in West Germany), 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. The constitution was later restored in 1986 after the general election won by General Ershad's Jatiya Party won, and martial law was withdrawn.

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.

Leader of the opposition, 1986-87

Hasina and the Awami League participated in the 1986 parliamentary elections held under President Ershad. She served as the leader of the opposition in 1986–1987. Hasina's decision to take part in the election had been criticised by her opponents, since the election was held under the martial law, and the other main opposition group, led by Khaleda Zia, boycotted the poll. However, her supporters maintained that she used the platform effectively to challenge Ershad's rule. Ershad dissolved the parliament in December 1987 when Hasina and her Awami League resigned from the parliament in an attempt to call for a fresh general election to be held under a neutral government. During November and December in 1987, mass uprising happened in Dhaka, several people were killed including Noor Hossain, a Hasina supporter.

1991 election

After several years of autocratic rule, widespread protests and strikes created so much unrest that the economy was not functioning. A huge mass protest in December 1990 ousted General Ershad from the power, who resigned in favour of his Vice President Justice Shahabuddin. The caretaker government, headed by Shahabuddin Ahmed, the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, administered a general election for the parliament. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia won a general majority, and Hasina's Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party. Among 3 constituencies Hasina fought, she lost in two and won in one. Accepting election defeat, Hasina offered resignation as the party president but stayed on at the request of party leaders.

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 through rigging and manipulation, as per the neutral observer who came to witness the election.

1996 elections

The Awami League, with other opposition parties, demanded that the next general elections be held under a neutral caretaker government, and that provision for caretaker governments to manage elections be incorporated in the constitution. The ruling BNP 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 resigned from the parliament. Parliament completed its term and a general election was held on 15 February 1996. The election was boycotted by all major parties except the ruling BNP. Hasina described the election as a farce.

The new 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 neutral caretaker government headed by retired chief Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman.

First term as Prime Minister, 1996-2001

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with US President Bill Clinton at the Prime Minister's Office in Dhaka, 2000.

Hasina served her first term as prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001.

2001 election

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, an 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 22 January 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. The caretaker government had difficulty bringing the all parties to the table. Awami League and its allies protested and alleged that the caretaker government favored the BNP.

The interim period was marked by violence and strikes.[8][9] 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. Later Hussain Muhammad Ershad's nomination was cancelled; as a result, the Grand Alliance withdrew its candidates en masse on the last day possible.[10] They demanded to have voters' lists published.

Later in the month, the president Iajuddin Ahmed was compelled to impose a state of emergency and thus Lt General Moeen Uddin Ahmed took over the government.[11] Political activity was prohibited. Fakhruddin Ahmed became the chief advisor as army nominated him.[12]

Criminal charges

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.

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.[13]

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".[14] Hasina was visiting the United States at the time.[15]

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.[16] 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.)[17] Hasina vowed to return home, and on 22 April 2007, a warrant was issued for her arrest for murder.[18][19] 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,[20] and on 25 April 2007, the ban on Hasina's entry into the country was dropped.[21]

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.[22]

July 2007 arrest

On 16 July 2007, Hasina was arrested by state police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25]

Hasina's son

Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Succeeded by
Latifur Rahman
Preceded by
Fakhruddin Ahmed
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
  • Awami League official website
  • Ahmed, Helal Uddin (2012). "Hasina, Sheikh". In  

External links

  • Skard, Torild (2014). Women of power : the world's female presidents and prime ministers 1960- 2010. [S.l.]: Policy Press.  


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  66. ^ Council of Women World Leaders Biographies


Hasina is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers.[66]

Other activities


Hasina was married to Dr. M. A. Wazed Mia in 1968. He died on 9 May 2009.[44] She has one son and one daughter - Sajeeb Wazed Joy and Saima Wazed Hossain Putul respectively. Joy lives in the United States with his family, and Putul lives in Canada with her husband Khandkar M Hossain.[45] Hasina is the aunt of Tulip Siddiq, British-born Labour politician, [46] and member of parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn since the 2015 general election.

Personal life

Hasina became the prime minister for the third time after winning the general election in January 2014 which was boycotted by the main opposition BNP led alliance.

Third term as Prime Minister, 2014-present

2014 election

Hasina had to confront a major national crisis in the form of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles revolt. In 2012, she maintained a hardline stance and refused to allow entry to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar during the 2012 Rakhine State riots.[42] On 27 June a case against Sheikh Hasina and 24 other Bangladeshi ministers and security personnel was lodged at the International Criminal Court.[43]

Second term as Prime Minister, 2009-2014

After being Prime Minister, Hasina reneged on her agreement with Jatiya Party to make Hussain Muhammad Ershad as President.[41]

Her Bangladesh Awami League 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.[39] 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".[40] Finally Sheikh Hasina was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009.

On 6 November 2008, Sheikh Hasina returned to Bangladesh to attend the Ninth National Parliamentary Elections 2008 scheduled for 29 December 2008[37] and decided to participate in the parliamentary election under the name of "Grand Alliance" with the Jatiya Party led 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.[38]

Sheikh Hasina with David Cameron in London, 27 January 2011

2008 election and return to power

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.[34][35] Prof. Syed Modasser Ali, her personal physician, threatened to sue the caretaker government over negligence regarding Hasina's treatment during her detention.[36]

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.[32] 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.[33]

A graft case was filed against Zia on the same day.[30]

On 30 July 2007, the Dhaka High Court suspended Hasina's extortion trial and ordered her release on bail.[29] 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.[30][31]

[28] United Kingdom MPs condemned the arrest.[27][26]

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