Hasina Wazed


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(b. Tungipara, Bangladesh, 28 Sept. 1947),

Bangladeshi; Prime Minister 1996–2001, 2009–  Hasina Rahman was born in what was then East Bengal and which became East Pakistan the year after her birth, following independence from Britain and Partition from India. She was the eldest child of Sheik Mujibur Rahman, a founder of the Awami League which campaigned for East Pakistan's independence. Hasina married the eminent scientist Wazed Miah in 1968. Hasina's father was arrested in the late 1960s, and she was active in carrying messages for her father while he was imprisoned. The Awami League won elections in 1970, Rahman calling for East Pakistan's independence, but West Pakistan sent in troops, and in 1971 he was arrested and taken to West Pakistan. The Awami League proclaimed Bangladesh independent and Indian troops helped to defeat the West Pakistan forces in the new country. Rahman returned as Prime Minister in 1972, becoming President in 1975, but the country faced turmoil and later that year he, his wife, and Hasina's three brothers were assassinated by Bangladeshi military officers. Hasina was out of the country, and stayed away for six years.

Hasina became leader of the Awami League while in exile, and she returned to Bangladesh in 1981. General Ershad seized power in 1982. Hasina worked to remove him from power and was arrested several times. The Awami League took part in the 1986 elections, and Hasina became leader of the opposition. She continued leading a mass movement demanding a peaceful end to Ershad's rule and in 1990 he resigned. Elections were held in 1991, but Hasina's Awami League lost to the Bangladeshi National Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia. Hasina accused the BNP of dishonesty and opposition parties boycotted parliament, causing chaos. Khaleda Zia resigned in favour of a non-party caretaker government. Hasina won elections in 1996, and she became Prime Minister. Despite political unrest and severe flooding, Hasina completed her five-year term but lost to Zia's BNP in elections in 2001.

Zia's term finished in 2006, but the subsequent election was delayed by violence and natural disasters until December 2008. Sheik Hasina, having suffered illness and imprisonment over the preceding years, won the elections resoundingly, her Awami League winning over 250 of the 300 seats, and she became Prime Minister again in January 2009.

Subjects: Politics.

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