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Sheikh Hasina

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Sheikh Hasina Wazed
শেখ হাসিনা ওয়াজেদ
Sheikh Hasina in New York - 2018 (44057292035) (cropped).jpg
10th Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Assumed office
6 January 2009
President 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
In office
7 May 1986 – 3 March 1988
Preceded by Asaduzzaman Khan (1982)
Succeeded by Abdur Rab
Leader of the Awami League
Assumed office
16 February 1981
Preceded by Abdul Malek Ukil
Personal details
Born (1947-09-28) 28 September 1947 (age 71)
Tungipara, Gopalganj District, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
(now Bangladesh)
Political party Awami League (1980–present)
Other political
affiliations
Grand Alliance (2008–present)
Spouse(s)
Wazed Miah
(m. 1968; died 2009)
Children
Parents Mujibur Rahman (Father)
Fazilatunnesa Mujib (Mother)
Relatives See Sheikh-Wazed family
Alma mater Eden Mohila College
University of Dhaka
Signature

Sheikh Hasina Wazed (Bengali: শেখ হাসিনা ওয়াজেদ; English: /ˈʃk həˈsnə/, SHAYK hə-SEE-nə; born 28 September 1947) is a Bangladeshi politician serving as the 10th Prime Minister of Bangladesh, having held the office since January 2009. She is the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh.

She is the daughter of Bangladesh's first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Her political career has spanned more than four decades. She previously served as opposition leader from 1986 to 1990 and from 1991 to 1995, as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001, and has been leading the Bangladesh Awami League since 1981.[1][2][3][4] In 2008, she returned as Prime Minister with a landslide victory. In January 2014, she became Prime minister for a third term in an unopposed election, in an election boycotted by the opposition and criticised by international observers. She won a fourth term in December 2018, following an election marred with violence and criticised by the opposition as being rigged.

Hasina is considered one of the most powerful women in the world, ranking 26th on Forbes' list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018.[5] and 30th in 2017.[6] Sheikh Hasina has also made her room in the list of top 100 Global Thinkers of the present decade as the famous US-based Foreign Policy journal came up with a register of worldwide thinkers.[7] She is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers.[8]

Her tenure as Prime Minister has been marred by several scandals and criticised for authoritarian practices. Scandals under her time include: Padma Bridge Scandal, Hallmark-Sonali Bank Scam, Share market Scandal, Rana Plaza collapse, and Bangladesh road safety protests 2018. She has also been praised for economic growth under her tenure.[9]

Early life

Sheikh Hasina was born in Tungipara, East Pakistan on 28 September 1947. Her father was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president of Bangladesh, and mother was Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib.[10] As she said in many interviews that she had grown up in fear due to her father's political works.[11] She married M. A. Wazed Miah in 1968, who was chosen for her by her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[12] 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.[11] She was active in the student politics of Eden Girl's College, Dhaka[13]

Hasina was not in Bangladesh when her father and most of her family were assassinated on 15 August 1975. She was in West Germany where her husband, M. A. Wazed Miah, was working as a Nuclear physicist. She moved to Delhi in the late 1975 and was provided asylum by India. Her son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, studied at boarding schools India. During her time in India she was not involved in politics. She became close friends with Subhra Mukherjee, wife of future Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee.[12][14]

She was not allowed to return to the country until after she was elected to lead the Awami League Party in 16 February 1981 and arrived on 17 May 1981.[11] She is the aunt of British MP Tulip Siddiq.[15][16]

Early political career

Chairperson of Bangladesh Awami League

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.[17] The Awami League has been described as a "left-of-center" party.[18]

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 Hussain Mohammad Ershad. She served as the leader of the opposition in 1986–1987.[10] She led an Eight party alliance as an opposition against Ershad.[19] 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 had paralysed the economy. Government officers refused to follow orders and resigned. Members of Bangladesh Rifles laid down their rifles instead of firing on protestors and curfew was violated openly. Hasina worked with Khaleda Zia in organizing opposition to Ershad.[20] 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 led by Khaleda Zia won a general majority, and Hasina's Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party.[21] 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.

1991–1996

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.[22] She led the Bangladesh Awami League in boycotting the parliament from 1994.[23]

First term as Prime Minister, 1996–2001

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

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 Bangladesh Nationalist Party 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 Bangladesh Nationalist Party 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 Bangladesh Nationalist Party who won all the seats in the parliament as a result. Hasina described the election as a farce.[24][25]

The new parliament, composed mostly of Bangladesh Nationalist Party 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. Bangladesh Awami League won the largest number of seats, 146 seats, but fell short of the majority. Khaleda Zia leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who won 104 seats, denounced the results and alleged vote rigging. This was contrast to what neutral observers said, that the election was free and fair.[26]

Sheik Hasina Wazed served her first term as prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001. She became the first Bangladeshi Prime Minister since its independence to complete the entire term.[10] She signed the 30-year water sharing treaty of the Ganges with India. Her administration repealed the Indemnity Act, which protected the killers of Sheikh Muijib, her father and the first president of Bangladesh. Her government opened the telecom industry to the private sector which till then was limited to government owned companies. In 1999 the government started the New Industrial Policy (NIP) which aimed to strengthen the private industry and encourage growth.[27]

Bangladesh joined two multilateral bodies, BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and D-8 (D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation). The NIP allowed foreign companies to open 100 percent owned subsidiaries.[27]

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[citation needed], 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.[citation needed] 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 21 August on an Awami League gathering in Dhaka, resulting in the death of 24 party supporters, including party women's secretary Ivy Rahman. On October 10, 2018, a special court gave verdict to two cases filed over the incident; the court ruled that it was a well-orchestrated plan, executed through abuse of state power and all the accused, including BNP Senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman and former top intelligence officials, were found guilty and handed down various punishments.[28] Shah M S Kibria, Hasina's former finance minister, was also killed that year (2004), in a grenade attack in Sylhet.[29][30]

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.[citation needed]

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.[31][32] Presidential Advisor Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury negotiated with 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[why?][by whom?]; as a result, the Grand Alliance withdrew its candidates en masse on the last day possible.[33] 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.[34] Political activity was prohibited. Fakhruddin Ahmed became the chief advisor with the support of Bangladesh army.[35][36][37]

July 2007 arrest

In April 2007, Hasina was charged with graft and extortion by military backed Caretaker government during the 2006-2008 Bangladeshi political crises. She 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 for approving his project.[38]

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 Caretaker Government had also been trying to get Khaleda Zia to leave the country.[39] Hasina vowed to return home, and on 22 April 2007, a warrant was issued for her arrest for murder.[40][41] 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,[42] and on 25 April 2007, the ban on Hasina's entry was dropped.[43] 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.[44]

On 16 July 2007, Hasina was arrested by police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka.[45] 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.[46] On 17 July 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission sent notices to both Hasina and Khaleda Zia, instructing them to provide details of their assets within one week.[47] 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.[48][49] United Kingdom MPs condemned the arrest.[50] 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.[51] Hasina was visiting the United States at the time.[52]

On 30 July 2007, the Dhaka High Court suspended Hasina's extortion trial and ordered her release on bail.[53] 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.[54][55] A graft case was filed against Zia on the same day.[54]

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.[56] 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.[57]

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.[58][59] Syed Modasser Ali, her personal physician, threatened to sue the caretaker government over negligence regarding Hasina's treatment during her detention.[60] The caretaker government held mayoral elections in which Awami League won 12 out of 13 mayoral elections. The caretaker government extended her two-month medical parole by one more month.[61]

Second term as Prime Minister, 2009–2014

Hasina with David Cameron in London (January 2011)

On 6 November 2008, Hasina returned to Bangladesh to attend the Ninth National Parliamentary Elections 2008 scheduled for 29 December 2008[62] 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.[63]

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.[64] 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".[65] Finally Hasina was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009. Independent observers declared the elections were held in a festive and peaceful atmosphere.[66] After being Prime Minister, Hasina reneged on her agreement with Jatiya Party to make Hussain Muhammad Ershad as President.[67]

Hasina removed many of her party politicians who supported reforms forced by the previous caretaker government.[68] She had to confront a major national crisis in the form of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles revolt over a pay dispute and resulted in 75 deaths including Bangladesh Army officers.[69][70] Some Bangladesh Army officers blamed Hasina for the deaths by not sending in the Army earlier.[71] In 2011, the Parliament removed the law that required non-party Caretaker government hold elections.[72] In 2012, she maintained a hard line stance and refused to allow entry to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar during the 2012 Rakhine State riots.[73]

On 27 June 2013, a case against Hasina and 24 other Bangladeshi ministers and security personnel was lodged at the International Criminal Court.[74] She has been "credited internationally" for the achievement of some of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.[75] In 2012 a coup attempt against her by mid ranking army officers was stopped, with Bangladesh army being tipped off by Indian intelligence agency.[76] Bangladesh Army described the army officers involved as being Islamic extremists.[77] In 2012, she had a falling out with Mohammad Yunus, Nobel laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, following a Norwegian documentary that was critical of Yunus transferring money from Grameen Bank to an affiliate organisation. Yunus transferred the money back after the documentary aired but it increased scrutiny of Grameen Bank by the government and media in Bangladesh. Yunus lost control of Grameen Bank following a court verdict. He criticised Hasina and other Bangladeshi politicians. She responded by saying she did not understand why Yunus blamed her when it was a court verdict that removed him from Grameen Bank.[78] During this term, her Government led and succeeded in forming the International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh), to investigate and prosecute suspects involved in the Bangladesh genocide, which committed by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams during the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971.[79]

Third term (2014–2019)

Hasina became the Prime Minister for the third time after winning the general election in January 2014 which was boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led alliance. The election have been called "an electoral farce".[17] The Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by Khaleda Zia wanted the elections to be held under a neutral caretaker government and had hoped to use protests to force the government to do so.[80][81]

In March 2017, Bangladesh's first two submarines were commissioned.[82] In September 2017, her government gave temporary shelter and aid to about a million Rohingya refugees and urged Myanmar to end violence against Rohingya Muslim.[83] The majority of the Bangladeshi people supported the government decision to provide refugee to Rohingya. Hasina received credit and praise for her actions.[84]

Hasina supported calls to remove the Statue of Justice in Bangladesh Supreme Court. With some people saying the government was bowing down to the pressure of those who have used religion for political ends.[85] Hasina is a Patron of Asian University for Women, led by Chancellor, Mrs. Cherie Blair, and including the First Lady of Japan, HE Akie Abe, as well as Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.[86]

Fourth term (2019–present)

Hasina won a fourth term after her party, Bangladesh Awami League, won 288 of the 300 parliamentary seats. It is her third consecutive term, The leader of the main opposition party, Kamal Hossain, declared the vote "farcical" and rejected the results. Before the election, Human Rights Watch and other rights organisations had accused the government of creating an intimidating environment for the opposition.[87] The New York Times Editorial board described the election as farcical, The editorial stated that it was likely Hasina would have won without vote rigging and questioned why she did so.[88]

Controversies

The Padma Bridge scandal was a political incident in Bangladesh that involved the ruling Bangladesh Awami League's government who allegedly sought in exchange for the awarding of the construction contract a large amount money from the Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin. The allegations were subsequently found to be false and without merit and the Canadian Court subsequently dismissed the case.[89]

As a result of the allegations, The World Bank pulled out of a project to build Bangladesh's largest bridge, citing corruption concerns, cancelling a $1.2bn (£764m) credit for the 6 km-long (four miles) road-rail bridge over the Padma River.[90] Sheikh Hasina removed the communication minister Syed Abul Hossain from office three months following dismissal of the case.[91] On 11 July 2012, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that Awami League government should make the letter sent by the World Bank to be public where the World Bank brought graft charges against Sheikh Hasina and three other figures.[92] On 17 January 2016, Sheikh Hasina stated that an MD of a bank from the USA provoked the WB to cancel the loan.[93]

On 24 January 2017, in her speech in parliament, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed Muhammad Yunus for the World Bank's pulling out of the project.[94] According to her, Yunus lobbied with the former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to persuade the World Bank to terminate the loan.[95] On 10 February 2017, an Ontario (Canada) Superior court justice dismissed the bribery-conspiracy case for lack of any proof.[96]

Personal life

Hasina married M. A. Wazed Miah in 1968. Her husband died on 9 May 2009.[97] She has one son, Sajeeb Wazed, and one daughter, Saima Wazed.[98] Putul's father-in-law is former minister of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment and present minister of LGRD, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.[99] Hasina's only living sibling is Sheikh Rehana is also a Bangladesh Awami League politician.[100]

Works

Books

  1. সাদা কালো (Black and White)[101]
  2. Democracy in Distress Demeaned Humanity[102]
  3. শেখ রাসেল (Sheikh Rasel)[103]
  4. আমরা জনগণের কথা বলতে এসেছি (We are here saying for people[104]
  5. আন্তর্জাতিক সম্পর্ক উন্নয়নে শেখ হাসিনা (Developing International relation by Sheikh Hasina)[105]
  6. Living in Tears[106]
  7. রচনাসমগ্র ১[107]
  8. রচনাসমগ্র ২[108]
  9. সামরিকতন্ত্র বনাম গণতন্ত্র (Counterfactual versus democracy)[109]
  10. Developoment for the masses[110]
  11. Democracy proverty elimination and peace[111]
  12. বিপন্ন গণতন্ত্র লাঞ্চিত মানবতা (Democracy is at crisis and oppression humanity)[112]
  13. জনগণ এবং গণতন্ত্র (People and democracy)[113]
  14. সহেনা মানবতার অবমাননা (Can't bear the offence of humanism)[114]
  15. ওরা টোকাই কেন (Why they are dumpster diving)[115]
  16. বাংলাদেশে স্বৈরতন্ত্রের জন্ম (Autocracy born in Bangladesh)[116]
  17. বাংলাদেশ জাতীয় সংসদে বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমান (Sheikh Mujib is in Parliament)[117]
  18. শেখ মুজিব আমার পিতা (Sheikh Mujib: My father)[118]
  19. সবুজ মাঠ পেরিয়ে (Beyond the green field)[119]
  20. দারিদ্র দূরীকরণে কিছু চিন্তাভাবনা[120]
  21. বিশ্ব প্রামান্য ঐতিহ্যে বঙ্গবন্ধুর ভাষণ ()[121]
  22. নির্বাচিত ১০০ ভাষণ (Selected 100 speech)[122]
  23. নির্বাচিত প্রবন্ধ (Selected Essay)[123]
  24. The quest for vision 2021- 1st-part[124]
  25. The-quest-for-vision-2021--2nd-part[125]

Honours

Hasina: A Daughter's Tale

In 2018 Hasina appears on title role in a docudrama Hasina: A Daughter's Tale, directed by Rezaur Rahman Khan Piplu.[152][153]

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Skard, Torild (2014). Women of power : the world's female presidents and prime ministers 1960- 2010. [S.l.]: Policy Press. ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Acting
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
1996–2001
Succeeded by
Latifur Rahman
Acting
Preceded by
Fakhruddin Ahmed
Acting
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
2009–present
Incumbent
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