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SHEIKH HASINA, Honorable Prime Minister of People's Republic of Bangladesh(2nd term), was born on 28 September, 1947 at Tungipara under Gopalganj district. She is the eldest of five children of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of independent Bangladesh. She graduated from the University of Dhaka in 1973. She was elected Vice President of the Students Union of Government Intermediate Girl’s College. She was a member of the students League Unit of Dhaka University and Secretary of the Students League Unit of Rokeya Hall. She actively participated in all the mass movements since her student life. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with the members of his family was martyred on the fateful night of 15 August 1975. Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana were the only survivors as they were in West Germany at that time. Later she went to the United Kingdom from where she started her movement against the autocratic rule in 1980. Sheikh Hasina was unanimously elected President of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981 in her absence, while she was forced to live in exile in New Delhi. Ending six years in exile, she returned home finally on 17 May 1981.In the parliamentary election held in 1986, she won three seats. She was elected Leader of the Opposition. She led the historic mass movement in 1990 and announced the constitutional formula for peaceful transfer o f power through Articles 51 and 56 of the Constitution. Following the election of 1991 Sheikh Hasina became Leader of the Opposition in the country’s Fifth Parliament, She steered all the political parties in the parliament towards changing the Presidential system into the Parliamentary one. Sheikh Hasina created awareness among the people and waged a struggle for Non-party Caretaker Government to ensure free and fair polls. Her movement reached the peak after a non-cooperation movement in March 1996 and th e provision for Non-party Caretaker Government was incorporated in the Constitution. At the call of Sheikh Hasina a large number of people of all walks of life expressed solidarity with the movement at the ‘Janatar Mancha’. In the Parliamentary election held on 12 June 1996, Bangladesh Awami League emerged as the majority party and she assumed the office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on 23 June 1996. After becoming the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasinaadopted a number of pragmatic policies for overall development of the nation including poverty alleviation. During the last four years her government achieved laudable success including signing of the historic 30 year Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with India, signing of historic peace Accord on Chittagong Hill Tracts and inauguration of the Bangabandhu Bridge on the river Jamuna. Sheikh Hasina was conferred Degree of Doctor of Law by the Boston University of the US A on 6 February 1997 and Honorary Doctor of Law by the Waseda University of Japan on 4 July 1997. She was also conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Liberal Arts by University of Abertay Dundee of the United Kingdom on 25 October, 1997. She was conferred Honorary Degree of Desikottama (Doctor of Literature, honoris causa) by Visva-Bharati University of West Be ngal, India on 28 January 1999. She was also conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on the ground of her distinguished creative contributions in the service of society by the Australian National University on 20 October 1999. Dhaka University conferred Honorary 'Doctor of Laws' degree to Sheikh Hasina on 18 December, 1999 for her outstanding contribution towards peace and democracy. The World famous Catholic University of Brussels, Belgium conferred Honorary Doctorate degree (Doctor Honoris Causa) on Sheikh Hasina on 04 February, 2000 for her decisive role in establishing democracy, protecting human rights and peace. Sheikh Hasina has been conferred Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the Bridgeport University, USA on 5 September, 2000. Sheikh Hasina has been awarded UNESCO's Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize for 1998 for her remarkable contribution to bringing peace through ending the 25 years of conflict in Chittagong Hill Tracts with political courage and statesmanship. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received prestigious Pearl S. Buck Award '99 on 9 April 2000 in recognition of her vision, courage, achievements in political, economic and humanitarian fields by Randolph Macon Women's College of USA. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been awarded the prestigious CERES' medal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in recognition to her fight against hunger on 02 August, 1999. The All India Peace Council awarded her 'Mother Teresa Award' in 1998. The Mahatma M K Gandhi Foundation of Oslo, Norway awarded Sheikh Hasina ‘M K Gandhi Award’ for 1998 for her contribution towards promotion of communal understanding, non violent religions harmony and growth of democracy at the level of grassroots in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina was named Paul Haris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. She was also given Medal of Distinction in 1996-97 and 1998-99 and Head of State Medal in 1996-97 by the International Association of Lions Clubs. She has authored several books including "Why Are They Street Children", "The Origin of Autocracy", 'Miles to Go", "Elimination of Poverty and Some Thoughts", "People and Democracy", "My Dream My Struggle" and "Development for the Masses." She performed holy Hajj and Umrah several times. Sheikh Hasina is the Chairperson of "The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust". She has been helping a lot of poor boys and girls for their education. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, throughout her life has been a strong proponent of peace, freedom and democracy. From an early age, inspired by the lofty ideals and love for the people of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the liberator of Bangladesh, she developed a strong sense of identity for the common people. She always spoke out against oppression and violation of human rights. This commitment has hardened over the years, particularly when her parents, brothers and scores of relatives were brutally assassinated by the misguided members of the military in 1975 soon after the independence of Bangladesh. Since that time her resolve for democracy and development for the teeming millions of Bangladesh has become firmly entrenched. She struggled for the return of democracy in Bangladesh and fought valiantly for its establishment in the country in every possible manner. She was committed to making Parliament the centre of all national activities. In 1996, the people of Bangladesh gave her a strong mandate as the Prime Minister of the country. Despite serious resource and constraints and recurrent natural calamity as well as widespread poverty, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the first two years of her government, has lived up to her unswerving commitment to the cause of peace, democracy, development and human rights. Her first act of peace within months of her assumption of office was the initiative for resolution of the long-standing water-sharing dispute with India through a 30-years treaty. This put an end to a very complex regional dispute. Her visionary idea of a business summit among the political and private sector leaders of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan has added a new chapter in the history of South Asia. Her dedicated leadership also made possible a peace agreement in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, thereby solving the 23-year old insurgency in the Hill districts of Bangla desh. This peace accord brought an area inhabited by nearly 5 million people out of violence and into a time of peace and development. Though the international media has not given much prominence to this accord, it is uniquely remarkable because the peace accord benefited such a large number of people and the whole area has been brought under development programs following the complete surrender of arms by the insurgents. Her quest for peace has taken her to India and Pakistan to talk to the leaders of these two countries soon after the nuclear test urging reduction of tension in the region. Prime Minister Hasina has been a strong advocate for the Culture of Peace at global, regional and national levels. In many major conferences, she espoused the concept of the Culture of Peace, most recently in South Africa at the 12th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which has a membership of 114 countries. Her initiative has resulted in the first-ever resolution by the Plenary of the United Nations General Assembly on the Culture of Peace. She also provided leadership for the declaration by the UN of the period 2001 to 2010 as the International Decade for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. Prime Minister Hasina’s determination for the eradication of poverty, in particular through wide-ranging microcredit programmes, has been recognized world-wide. Her co-chairpersonship of the Microcredit Summit in February 1997 which resolved to bring 100 million families of the world out of poverty by 2005 focused world attention to her strong commitment to the eradication of poverty and enlistment of the poorest of the poor. She has been a champion of microcredit by spreading the message in major international forums. Her leadership led to the adoption for the first time by UN General Assembly a far-reaching resolution on the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty. Along with poverty eradication, she has focused on the empowerment of women and has successfully completed legislation to ensure adequate representation of women in the local government bodies, leading to the election of more than 14,000 women to these bodies in 1997. She has taken major initiatives to stop violence against women and children. She has also provided leadership in the field of education, particularly for the education of girls in her own country as well as advocating it for global support. Her government has greatly enhanced budgetary allocation for primary education focusing on girls’ education. To improve the quality of life of the people of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has particularly focused on human development, paying special attention to healthcare, family planning, nutrition, women’s rights and survival and development of children. At the UN and other forums, she has been a major voice in support of the cause of children and their rights. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has, all along her life, defended human rights in every possible way. Her active promotion of the rights of women and children has drawn appreciation by both of government and NGOs as well as international organizations. She has promoted the right to development as having centrality in the human rights regime. At the NAM Summit in South Africa in 1998, her proposal for a Convention on the Right to Development received welcoming endorsement of the Heads of State and Government. She initiated the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission and the office of Ombudsperson as well as Bangladesh’s recent accession to six major human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Her keen interest resulted in the signature by Bangladesh of the Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratification of the Landmines Treaty, being the first country in South Asia to do so. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s initiative resulted in the hosting of the first-ever conference of the Asian parliamentarians devoted to peace and cooperation in Dhaka in September 1999 which elected her as the first President of the Association of Asian Parliaments for peace established at the conference. At present, as someone who has lost so much personally and has been a victim of oppression and denial of freedom, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stands out as a messenger of peace, democracy, development and human rights. Her leadership of the eighth largest country of the world manifests her concern for the people, seen again during the worst-ever floods in Bangladesh in 1998. § Sheikh Hasina is the recipient of the UNESCO Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize for 1998 for her role in bringing peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh. § Sheikh Hasina has been awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Award for 1998 (Oslo, Norway) for her contribution towards promotion of communal understanding, non-violence, religio us harmony and growth of grassroots democracy in Bangladesh. § She has been awarded 1999 CERES Medal for contribution to the agriculture development by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. § She is the winner of the 1999 Pearl S. Buck Award for "your vision, your courage and your achievements in political, economic and humanitarian spheres capture the spirit of the award and of the woman who inspired it." § She has been awarded honorary Doctor of Liberal Arts by the University of Alberta Dundee in the United Kingdom in October 1997. § She has been conferred honorary Doctor of Laws by the Boston University in th e United States and the Waseda University of Japan. § She has been conferred the degree of Desikottama (Doctor of Literature) by the Visva-Bharati University, India founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. § She has been conferred honorary Doctor of Laws by the Australian National University in October 1999. § Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been conferred honorary Doctor of Laws by Dhaka University in December 1999. § She has been conferred honorary Doctor of Laws by the Catholic University of Brussels in February 2000. § Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been conferred by the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her contribution to world peace and development by the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut in the United States on 5 September 2000. Under her leadership her party Bangladesh Awami League led grand alliance to win a landslide victory in the 9th Parliament Election on December 29, 2008 with 262 seats out of 299 in the National Parliament. Sheikh Hasina took oath as Prime Minister of Bangladesh (2nd term) at a ceremony held at Banghabhaban on January 06, 2009.


Personal life

Khaleda Zia (Putul) was born on 15 August 1945 to Iskandar Majumder and Taiyaba Majumder in Birbhum district ofWest Bengal province, India and later migrated with her family to Dinajpur District. Khaleda Zia is the youngest in a family of four. She has two brothers, Major (Retd.) Sayeed Iskandar, a retired military official, and Shamim Iskander, an engineer of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and two elder sisters, late Khurshid Jahan Hoq (Chocolate Aapa), former Women's Welfare Minister, and another sister who is deceased. The family originally hails from Fulgazi Upazila of Feni District, Bangladesh. She studied in Dinajpur Government Girls High School. In 1960, she married Ziaur Rahman. She is the current leader of the opposition party.

First Lady

Former president Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad made her husband Major General Ziaur Rahman Chief of Staff ofBangladesh Army after Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who subsequently assumed power as Chief Martial Law Administrator following a series of military coups on and following National Revolution and Solidarity Day.

Political career

Until the assassination of her husband, Ziaur Rahman, in an abortive military coup in Chittagong on 30 May 1981, Khaleda Zia had taken little interest in either politics or public life. Even when her husband assumed power after the political changes in 1975, she remained a shy and withdrawn housewife spending most of her time raising her two sons, Tareq Rahman (Pino) and Arafat Rahman (Coco).
After the assassination of Ziaur Rahman, Vice-President Justice Abdus Sattar took over as the Acting President and also as Chairman of the BNP. Chief of Staff ofBangladesh Army Lieutenant General Hossain Mohammad Ershad overthrew Justice Sattar on March 24, 1982.
In March 1983, Justice Sattar appointed Khaleda Zia as vice-chairman of the BNP. In February 1984, she became the chairperson as Justice Sattar retired from politics. On August 10, 1984 the party elected her the chairperson.
Under the leadership of Begum Zia, the BNP formed a seven-party alliance in 1983 and launched a relentless struggle against the autocratic regime of Lieutenant General Hussain Mohammad Ershad. During the 9-year-long struggle against Ershad, Begum Zia did not compromise with his autocratic and illegitimate government. For her strict adherence to the principles, the government restricted her movements by using prohibitive laws. She was detained seven times in eight years. But undaunted, Begum Zia continued to provide leadership in the movement for ousting Ershad. Like Zia before him, Ershad attempted to give his rule a civilian and democratic face, but Khaleda Zia boycotted all elections during his rule. Khaleda was detained seven times during almost nine years of autocratic rule under President Ershad before his resignation on 6 December 1990.
In the face of a mass upsurge spearheaded by alliances led by Begum Zia and Sheikh Hasina, President Ershad at last handed over power to a neutral caretaker government on 6 December 1990. In the parliamentary elections held under this government on 27 February 1991, Bangladesh Nationalist Party emerged victorious as a single majority party. Begum Zia contested from five constituencies in three consecutive parliamentary elections and won in all seats. This is a unique feat in the history of elections in the country.[1]

Prime minister

First term

Zia with the then U.S. president Bill Clinton
With a unanimous vote cutting across all political lines, the BNP-led government restored the parliamentary system through the 12th amendment to the Constitution in 1991. A neutral caretaker government oversaw elections on February 27, 1991 that were broadly considered to be free, fair and truly democratic. Khaleda Zia became Bangladesh's first female Prime Minister with the support of the majority of the members of the parliament.
While in power, Begum Zia's government made considerable progress in the education sector, including introduction of free and compulsory primary education, tuition-free education for girls up to class ten, stipend for female students and the Food for Education program. It also goes to the credit of her government that during this period, the tree plantation had become a nationwide social movement. Further, it was in this period that the construction of the Jamuna Bridge was started. Khaleda Zia played a commendable role in revitalizing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It also increased the age limit for entry into the civil service from 27 years to 30 years and made highest budgetary allocation in the education sector.

Second term

She became Prime Minister for the second consecutive term after the BNP had a landslide victory on February 15, 1996 general election to the sixth Jatiya Sangshad. The election was, however, boycotted by all other major parties who were demanding that the elections be held under a neutral caretaker government, following allegations of rigging in a by-election held in 1994. Turnout was estimated at around 25%, though the government at the time claimed it to be much higher. The short-lived parliament hastily introduced the Caretaker Government through 13th amendment to the Constitution, and then was dissolved to pave the way for the parliamentary elections. In the June 12, 1996 polls, BNP lost to Sheikh Hasina's Awami League but emerged as the largest opposition party in the country's parliamentary history with 116 seats.

Third term

Aiming to return to power, the BNP formed a four-party alliance on January 6, 1999 with its former political foe the Jatiya Party, and the Islamic party of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and the Islami Oikya Jot and launched several agitation programmes against the ruling Awami League. Khaleda Zia, like Ziaur Rahman has been criticized much for making alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami, the party which opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and formed Razakar, Al-Badar and Al-Shams team to help West Pakistan to kill thousands of innocent people including the intellectuals of Bangladesh. Around three million people were killed by the West Pakistan Army with the help of Razakars(collabortors), Al-Badars and Al-Shams in 1971 within nine months of war.[2]
The four-party alliance then participated in the October 1, 2001 general elections and won the election with a two-third majority of seats in parliament and 46% of the vote (compared to the principal opposition party's 40%) and Khaleda Zia was once again sworn in as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Khaleda Zia's third term was plagued by rising religious militancy, continuing its spiralling of corruption (including successive damning reports by Transparency International), a rise in alleged attacks on minority groups (such as Hindus and Ahmadiyas as documented by the US State Department and Amnesty International) and an increasingly explosive political environment. A particularly controversial piece of legislation introduced by the government was the banning of Ahmadiyapublications in January 2004, which attracted considerable concern from international observers.

End of term

On October 27, 2006, Zia's term in office ended. The following day rioting broke out on the streets of central Dhaka following uncertainty over who would succeed her as Chief Advisor (Chief of Caretaker Government of Bangladesh). On the same day evening, a presidential statement declared that former Supreme Court Chief Justice Khondokar Mahmud Hasan (who had been due to take over as Chief Advisor) would not be assuming the role due to ill health. [2] Subsequently, presidentIajuddin Ahmed, assumed power as Chief Advisor on October 29, 2006.

After 2006

After tremendous domestic and international pressure and amid Awami League claims of partisanship, President Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed stepped down as Chief Adviserof the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh but remained as the President of Bangladesh. Elections scheduled for January 22 were postponed. The new caretaker government led by former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, in its fight against corruption, has targeted many of Ms Zia's BNP ministers.
Ms Zia's eldest son, Tareque Rahman (Pino), was also arrested in March 2007 for corruption. It was later reported that, beginning on April 9, the government barred other politicians from visiting Ms Zia's residence due to the state of emergency, imposed in January, which prohibits political activity.[3] Youngest son of Ms Zia, Arafat Rahman (Coco), was arrested on April 16.[4]
Since United News Bangladesh (UNB) carried unverified reports of Arafat's arrest on April 16, it cited unnamed 'family sources' as claiming Ms Zia was considering exile. UNB said speculation was mounting Ms Zia would relocate to Saudi Arabia. It also noted her brother, Major (Retd.) Sayeed Iskandar was attempting to negotiate her exit from Bangladesh with authorities from the interim administration. The New Nation newspaper carried a report on April 17 stating Khaleda had in fact agreed to go into exile in return for the release of her youngest son.[5] The report said the Saudi government had expressed its willingness to accept Khaleda and her family members as royal guests. Meanwhile, Bangladesh's The Daily Star quoted an unnamed source who claimed Zia's decision to leave the nation meant authorities would now force Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, Zia's bitter rival who was then in the United States, to also embrace exile.[6] All these reports about exile and government pressure on Ms Zia were denied by the government.
On April 19, Khondker Babul Chowdhury, a member of the BNP national executive committee, filed the appeal urging the court to order the government not to send Khaleda abroad against her wish and challenging the reported confinement of Khaleda to her house. On April 22 the High Court issued a rule on the government to explain within five days why the court will not direct the government to produce Khaleda Zia before the court to prove that she is not confined to her house. On April 25, in what was viewed as a reversal, the government said that Zia's movement was not restricted and that she had not been under any pressure to leave the country; it also dropped its ban on Hasina's return.[7]
On May 7, the government was ordered by the High Court to explain restrictions on Ms Zia that were said to remain in place.[8]
On July 17, the Anti Corruption Commission Bangladesh (ACC) sent notices to both MS Zia and Ms Hasina, requesting that details of their assets be submitted to the commission within one week.[9]
Zia was asked to appear in court on September 27, 2007 in connection with a case for not submitting service returns for Daily Dinkal Publications Limited for years.[10]
On September 2, 2007, a case was filed against Ms Zia by the interim government for corruption regarding the awarding of contracts to Global Agro Trade Company in 2003,[11] and on September 3 she was arrested.[12] Her youngest son Arafat Rahman (Coco) along with 11 others was also detained after police recorded acorruption case against them involving irregularities at Chittagong port. A bribery case was also filed against current Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina(rival of Khaleda), detained in a special jail.[13] On the same day, Ms Zia expelled party Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Joint Secretary GeneralWhip Ashraf Hossain for breaching party discipline.[14] On September 30, Zia was granted bail by the High Court, which also ruled that the trial should be stopped[15][16] on the grounds that the emergency laws could not be applied to her actions before they were imposed in January 2007.[16] The government appealed this decision, however, and on October 4, 2007 the Supreme Court ruled that she should not be granted bail and that the trial should continue.[15][16]
After Khaleda Zia was detained, party standing committee members chose former Finance Minister Saifur Rahman and former Water Resources minister Major(Rtd.) Hafizuddin Ahmed to lead the BNP for the time being; Zia's supporters did not recognize this. Bangladesh Election Commission subsequently invited Hafizuddin's faction, rather than Zia's, to participate in talks, effectively recognizing the former as the legitimate BNP. Zia challenged this in court, but her appeal was rejected on April 10, 2008.[17]
Ms Zia's youngest son Arafat Rahman (Coco) was released in August 2008, and her eldest son Tareque Rahman (Pino) was released on bail on September 3,2008. Ms Zia had been granted bail on two of her four cases by this point, but remained in jail because bail had not been granted for the other two. Her lawyers said on September 4 that they would also seek bail for the other two cases.[18]

After Bangladesh general election, 2008

On 13 November 2010 she was evicted from her 37 years old, palatial Dhaka Cantonment residence upon an order from High Court Division of Bangladesh Supreme Court. This 2.72 acre (around 8.5 bigha) house was originally the residence of the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) of Bangladesh Army used by then DCS Major General Ziaur Rahman. He kept the same residence even after he had become the President of Bangladesh. Moreover, the post of DCS of Bangladesh Army was abolished in his tenure. After assassination of Ziaur Rahman this house was leased-for-life to her at only 101 by then Acting President Justice Abdus Sattar on 12 June 1981, along with another house (31 kaatha or 0.45 acre) in the leafy Gulshan Residential Area of Dhaka city, by then Former Army Chief of Bangladesh andChief Martial Law Administrator Lieutenant General Hussain Mohammad Ershad in 15 June 1982. She is now planning to reside in 196 Gulshan Avenue, Block D,Gulshan Thana, Dhaka.

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