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Sheikh Hasina Wazed
শেখ হাসিনা ওয়াজেদ

Assumed office 
6 January 2009
President Iajuddin Ahmed
Zillur Rahman
Preceded by Fakhruddin Ahmed (Acting)
In office
23 June 1996 – 15 July 2001
President Shahabuddin Ahmed
Preceded by Habibur Rahman (Acting)
Succeeded by Latifur Rahman (Acting)

Born 28 September 1947 (1947-09-28) (age 62)
Gopalganj, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
Political party Bangladesh Awami League Grand Alliance
Spouse(s) M. A. Wazed Miah (d. 2009)
Children Sajeeb Wazed Joy & Saima Wazed Putul
Religion Islam

Sheikh Hasina Wazed (Bengali: শেখ হাসিনা ওয়াজেদ Shekh Hasina Oajed) (born September 28, 1947) is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.[1] She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father (and first president) of Bangladesh and wife of an internationally reputed nuclear scientist, M. A. Wazed Miah. Sheikh Hasina's party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary elections, thus assuring her of the post of prime minister. Sheikh Hasina has once before held the office, from 1996 to 2001.


Early life

Sheikh Hasina's political career started as a student activist in Eden College in the 1960s. While at Government Intermediate College, she was elected vice president of the College Students Union for the term 1966–67. Her opponent was the leftist student leader Motiya Chowdhury, who much later joined Awami League and became a member of Hasina's cabinet.

At the University of Dhaka Sheikh Hasina was a member of the Chhatra League (the student wing of Awami League) and secretary of the Rokeya Hall unit. During the liberation war in 1971, Hasina, then a young mother, was held under in-house arrest with her mother, brothers, sister and her son. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was imprisoned in West Pakistan during this period. After liberation, Hasina's involvement in politics was minimal as Sheikh Kamal, her brother, was touted as Mujib's successor.

Member of the National Assembly

Her political and personal destiny was irrevocably altered on the fateful night of August 15, 1975, when her father and almost her entire family including her mother and three brothers were assassinated in a coup d'état by a section of disgruntled officers of the Bangladesh Army, some of whom were freedom fighters during 1971.[2] Sheikh Hasina and her sister, Sheikh Rehana were on a goodwill tour of West Germany at that time. Hasina then sought refuge in United Kingdom and later, in India. She was exiled to New Delhi, India until May 17, 1981 when she was allowed to return to Bangladesh.


Movement against autocracy

While living in self-exile in India, Sheikh Hasina was elected the president of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981. After she returned to the country, the president Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in yet another coup in May, 1981. The following year, General Hossain Mohammad Ershad captured power through a bloodless coup and declared martial law. In 1983, Hasina formed the 15-party alliance to launch a movement to oust him from power. She was in and out of prison throughout the 1980s. Her party, along with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Ziaur Rahman's widow Khaleda Zia, was instrumental in the movement against the military rule. In 1984, Hasina was put under house arrest in February and then again in November. In March 1985, she was put under house arrest for three months.

In 1990, Hasina's 8 party alliance was instrumental along with another BNP-led alliance in finally removing the Ershad regime.

Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Awami League formed an alliance with Ershad's Jayiya Party in 1111.

Leader of the opposition

Sheikh Hasina and her party Awami League participated in the 1986 Parliamentary election held under President Lieutenant General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. She served as the leader of the opposition between 1986-1987. Hasina's decision to partake in the election has been criticized 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. The parliament was dissolved in December, 1987.

The first democratic elections were held in 1991 after a long period of military rule. A caretaker government, headed by Shahabuddin Ahmed, the outgoing chief justice, oversaw the elections. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party won the election, and Hasina's Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party. Hasina was defeated in the Dhaka constituency that she contested by Sadeque Hossain Khoka, a future Mayor of Dhaka, but was elected to the Parliament from her home constituency in Gopalganj. Hasina accused the BNP of "nuanced rigging" in elections. Hasina nevertheless offered to resign as the party president but later stayed on at the request of party leaders. Khaleda Zia of the BNP took office as the first female Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Politics in Bangladesh took a decisive turn in 1994, after Magura by-elections. This election was held after the MP for that constituency, a member of Hasina's party, died. The Awami League was expected to win it back, but the seat was won by the BNP. The opposition parties accused the BNP of widespread rigging and the election commission of incompetence. The Awami League, with other opposition parties, demanded that the next election be held under a caretaker government, and that the notion of a caretaker government be incorporated in the constitution. The ruling party of Khaleda Zia, Hasina's arch rival, refused to give in to 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 February 15, 1996, an election that was boycotted by all major parties except the ruling BNP. Hasina claimed that the election was a farce. The elected parliament, almost totally composed of BNP members, finally amended the constitution to create provisions for a caretaker government. The next parliamentary election was held under a caretaker government headed by Justice Habibur Rahman on June 30, 1996.

Prime minister

US President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina making a joint statement to the press following their bilateral meeting, Prime Minister's office, Bangladesh (March 2000).

The Awami League won 146 seats in the 1996 parliamentary elections. The support of the Jatiya Party and a few independent candidates were enough for the 150+ seats needed for the required majority. Hasina took the oath as Prime minister of Bangladesh. She vowed to create a Government of National Unity. Though some smaller parties and a few individuals from BNP did join the government, the distance between the main two political parties (as well as their leaders) remained as large as ever. Hasina did manage to convince Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed, who led the first caretaker government, to assume the post of President. This selection of an unbiased person as president was praised by her supporters as a proof of Hasina's good will to reach out to the opposition.

A major achievement of the new government was to strike a treaty between India and Bangladesh concerning the Farakka Barrage, a bone of contention between the two countries ever since it was built in the 1960s. According to the treaty, Bangladesh was to receive 33 thousand cubic feet per second (930 m³/s) of water. Hasina next went on to create a 'Peace Treaty' with the tribal rebels in the mountainous southeast of the country, thus seemingly solving a problem as old as Bangladesh itself. Though rebel activities have reduced greatly after the treaty, the region remains a hotbed of tensions.

On the down side, the Awami League was criticized for harbouring gangsters turned politicians, most notably Jainal Hazari of Feni. Her government was also criticized for overusing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — the country's founding leader and also father to Sheikh Hasina — in the media and naming many major institutions and constructions after him. The Awami League maintained that previous governments had tried to systematically eradicate Sheikh Mujib's legacy from the country and that the honour he was getting was long overdue. The BNP also accused the Awami League of politicising the administration and state-owned media. Her party was also accused of being lenient towards India, especially after a shootout between border forces of India and Bangladesh left 16 Indian and 3 Bangladeshi border guards dead.

During the last year of her rule, Transparency International declared Bangladesh to be the most corrupt country in the world. Though Bangladesh had almost always been in the bottom five, the last position created an uproar and was seen by many as a major failure by Hasina. Though Hasina was voted out of office later, Bangladesh has remained at the last position. The opposition demanded that Hasina resign and declare early elections, but Hasina refused to do so. She became the first democratically elected prime minister to complete her term.

Justice Latifur Rahman became the head of the caretaker government. Awami League alleged that he was biased towards BNP after he transferred a large number of civil servants immediately after taking office. Later, Hasina would also accuse President Shahabuddin Ahmed and election official Abu Sayeed of biased actions.

Landslide defeat

The Awami League succumbed to a landslide defeat in the 2001 Parliament elections. It won only 62 seats in the Parliament, while the 'Four Party Alliance' led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party won more than 200 seats, giving them a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Hasina herself was defeated in a constituency in Rangpur, which happened to contain her husband's hometown, but won in two other seats. Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League rejected the results, claiming that the election was rigged with the help of the President and the Caretaker government. However, the international community was largely satisfied with the elections and the 'Four Party Alliance' went on to form the government.

The Awami League has been irregular in the Parliament ever since. Hasina maintains that the ruling party didn't give the opposition enough time on the floor. 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 April 30, 2004. This failed to happen and was seen as a blow to the party and Hasina herself, who had implicitly supported Jalil.

In her second term in opposition, Hasina has been faced with assassination attempts against herself and killings of important party personnel. Ahsanullah Master, an MP, was killed in 2004. This was followed by a grenade attack on Hasina in Dhaka, resulting in the death of 21 party supporters, including party women's secretary Ivy Rahman. Finally, her ex finance minister Shah M S Kibria was killed in a grenade attack in Sylhet.

In June 2005, the Awami League got a boost when AL-nominated incumbent mayor A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury 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.

The planned January 22, 2007 elections were marred by controversy. The Awami League and its allies protested, saying that the elections would not be fair because of alleged bias by the caretaker government in favor of Zia and the BNP. Hasina demanded that the head of the caretaker government, President Iajuddin Ahmed, step down and on January 3, 2007, she announced that the Awami League and its allies would boycott the elections.[3] Later in the month a state of emergency was imposed, Ahmed stepped down, and the elections were postponed.

Extortion allegations and criminal charges

On April 9, 2007, it was announced that Bangladesh police were investigating extortion charges against Hasina. She was accused of forcing Bangladeshi businessman Tajul Islam Farooq to pay bribes before his company could build a power plant in 1998. 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.[4]

On April 11, murder charges were filed against her by the police, alleging that she masterminded the killing of four supporters of a rival political party in October 2006. 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."[5] She was visiting the United States at the time.[6]

The interim administration subsequently took steps to prevent Hasina's return to Bangladesh, with The New Nation newspaper reporting on April 17 that airlines had been asked not to allow her to return to Dhaka. She had been planning to return on April 23.[7] On April 18, the government barred Hasina from her planned return, saying that she had made provocative statements and that her return could cause disorder. This was described as a temporary measure.[8] Hasina vowed to return home anyway, and on April 22, a warrant was issued by a Bangladeshi court for her arrest.[9][10] On the same day, Hasina attempted to board a flight back to Bangladesh in London but was not allowed on the flight.[11] Labelling the case against her as "totally false and fake", Hasina said that she wanted to defend herself against the charges in court. On April 23, the arrest warrant was suspended,[12] and on April 25 the ban on Hasina's entry into the country was dropped.[13]

With her rival Khaleda Zia being pressured to go into exile at the same time, the government's actions against Hasina appeared to be an attempt to restructure the political system rather than an attempt to support her rival.

After spending 51 days in the US and UK, at 4:45pm on 7 May 2007 Sheikh Hasina arrived at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, where she was greeted by a jubilant crowd of several thousands. At the airport Hasina told reporters that it was a mistake for the government to stop her from returning and that she hoped it would not "make a bigger mistake", while acknowledging that its reversal was a positive gesture.[14]

July 2007 arrest

On July 16, 2007 Hasina was arrested by state police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka.[15] She was accused of extortion and denied bail on the same day, and was held in a building converted into a jail on the premises of the National Parliament. According to the Awami League, the arrest was politically motivated.[16]

On July 17, the Anti-Corruption Commission sent a notice to Hasina, along with Zia, requesting that details of her assets be submitted to the Commission within one week.[17]

Hasina's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy stated that the caretaker government were going beyond their limits, saying he did not plan to return to Bangladesh immediately but would try to organize worldwide protest. The arrest was widely seen as move by the military-backed interim government to force Sheikh Hasina from Bangladesh into political exile.[18] Earlier attempts had been made to bar her from coming back to Bangladesh.[19] United Kingdom MPs condemned the arrest.[20]

On July 30, the Dhaka High Court suspended the extortion trial of her and ordered her release on bail.[21] On September 2, 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.[22][23] This coincided with a case filed against Zia on the same day.[22]

On January 13, 2008, she was indicted by a special court along with two of her relatives, her sister Sheikh Rehana and her cousin Sheikh Selim, on extortion charges.[24] On February 6, however, the High Court stopped the trial, ruling that she could not be prosecuted under emergency laws for alleged crimes committed prior to the imposition of the state of emergency.[25]

On June 11, 2008 Hasina was released on parole for medical reasons and the next day she flew to the United States to be treated for hearing impairment, eye problems and high blood pressure.[26] [27] Prof. Syed Modasser Ali, her personal physician, threatened to sue the caretaker government over negligence regarding Hasina's treatment during her detention.[28]

Election 2008

On November 6, 2008 Hasina returned to Bangladesh to lead her party in general elections scheduled for December 29, 2008 [29]. On December 11, 2008 Sheikh Hasina announced her party's election manifesto during a news conference.In her election manifesto she vowed to build a "Digital Bangladesh" by 2021.[30] Sheikh Hasina's Awami league won the elections on 29 December 2008 with an overwhelming majority.[31]

Sheikh Hasina's party defeated Begum Khaleda Zia's BNP in the 2008 Parliamentary Elections. Her party achieved a landslide victory reminiscent to the 1971 elections of Pakistan. Under her leadership, the party has achieved a supermajority in parliament, controlling 230 seats out of 299. She was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009. The Prime Minister is the most powerful executive position in Bangladesh, although technically of lower seniority when compared to the office of President. Begum Zia, however, rejected the results of the election, sarcastically thanking the Chief Election Commissioner "for stage-managing the parliamentary election" in a statement. But, according to the views expressed by foreign and local election observers, the general election was free, fair and credible.[32]

Personal life

Sheikh Hasina married M. A. Wazed Mia, a nuclear scientist in 1968. He passed away on 9 May 2009.[33] She has two children - Sajeeb Wazed Joy, and Saima Wazed Hossain Putul. Joy lives in the United States and Putul lives in Canada with their families.[34]

Prime Minister Hasina is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women's development.


  • ওরা টোকাই কেন? Ora ţokai kêno? (Why are they street children?) 1987
  • বাংলাদেশে স্বৈরতন্ত্রের জন্ম Bangladeshe shoirotôntrer jônmo (Birth of autocracy in Bangladesh), 1993
  • দারিদ্র বিমোচন, কিছু ভাবনা Daridro bimochon, kichhu bhabna (Thoughts on eradication of poverty), 1993
  • আমার স্বপ্ন, আমার সংগ্রাম Amar shôpno, amar shônggram (My dream, my struggle), 1996
  • People and democracy,1997
  • আমরা জনগণের কথা বলতে এসেছি Amra jônogoner kôtha bolte eshechhi (We want to speak for the people), 1998
  • বৃহৎ জনগোষ্ঠীর জন্য উন্নয়ন Brihot jônogoshţhir jonno unnôeon (Development for the large masses), 1999
  • Development of the masses, 1999
  • সামরিক তন্ত্র বনাম গণতন্ত্র Shamorik tôntro bônam gônotôntro (Military rule versus democracy), 1999
  • আন্তর্জাতিক সম্পর্ক উন্নয়ন Antorjatik shômporko unnôeon (Improvement of international relations), 2001
  • বিপন্ন গণতন্ত্র, লাঞ্ছিত মানবতা Bipônno gônotôntro, lanchhito manobota (see following entry for English name), 2002
  • Democracy in distress, demeaned humanity, 2003
  • সহেনা মানবতার অবমাননা (Against degradation of humanity), 21 February 2003
  • Living with tears, 2004

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ List of Bir Uttam awardees, Gazette Notification of the Ministry of Defence, Govt. of Bangladesh, No. 8/25/D-1/72-1378 December 15, 1973.
  3. ^ Haroon Habib, "Polls won't be fair: Hasina", The Hindu, January 4, 2007.
  4. ^ "Bangladesh police to investigate graft allegation against former PM Hasina", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 9, 2007.
  5. ^ "Hasina charged in murder case", Al Jazeera, April 11, 2007.
  6. ^ "B'desh's Hasina to stay abroad pending murder charge", Reuters, April 12, 2007.
  7. ^ "Airlines may not carry Hasina to Dhaka", The New Nation, April 17, 2007.
  8. ^ "Bangladeshi gov't bans former PM's return home from USA", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), April 18, 2007.
  9. ^ "Bangladesh issues ex-PM warrant", BBC News, April 22, 2007.
  10. ^ "Murder warrant issued against Bangladesh ex-leader Hasina as she prepares to return home", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 22, 2007.
  11. ^ "Bangladesh's ex-leader Sheikh Hasina barred from boarding plane home", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 22, 2007.
  12. ^ "Hasina: I will fight charges", Al Jazeera, April 23, 2007.
  13. ^ "Opposition welcomes B'desh U-turn", BBC News, April 26, 2007.
  14. ^ Haroon Habib, "Sheikh Hasina returns home", The Hindu, May 7, 2007.
  15. ^ "Former Bangladeshi PM arrested: Reports", Reuters (Australian Broadcasting Corporation News Online), July 16, 2007, accessed 16 July 2007.
  16. ^ "Security stepped up after arrest of ex-Bangladesh prime minister on extortion charges", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), July 17, 2007.
  17. ^ "Hasina, Khaleda given 7 days for wealth report", The Daily Star, July 18, 2007, Vol. 5 Num 1113.
  18. ^ BBC Report
  19. ^ Bangladesh's ex-leader Sheikh Hasina barred from boarding plane home
  20. ^ "UK MPs denounce Bangladesh arrest", BBC News, July 23, 2007.
  21. ^ "Bangladesh high court orders release of Hasina on bail", Asian News International, July 30, 2007.
  22. ^ a b "Ex-PM sued on corruption charges in Bangladesh", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), September 2, 2007.
  23. ^ "Detained ex-PM of Bangladesh faces new graft charges", IST, PTI (The Times of India), September 3, 2007.
  24. ^ "Bangladesh court indicts Hasina, two others in extortion case", IST, PTI (Times of India), January 13, 2008.
  25. ^ "Bangladesh court quashes Hasina's trial", Press Trust of India (The Hindu), February 6, 2008.
  26. ^ "Bangladesh Caretaker Government Frees Former PM Hasina", Steve Herman (VoA), June 11, 2008.
  27. ^ "Sheikh Hasina goes to US for medical treatment"
  28. ^ " Hasina wants to return end of Sept: doctor". Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  29. ^ "Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has returned to the country to lead her party in general elections, scheduled for December"
  30. ^ "Bangladesh's former prime minister Sheikh Hasina formally launched on ... her party's election manifesto at a news conference on Friday"
  31. ^ "Hasina wins Bangladesh landslide"
  32. ^
  33. ^ Biography from Britannica Online.
  34. ^ Dhaka Court Orders Arrest of Hasina's Sister, Arab News, October 25, 2007.

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