Wazed, Hasina

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Wazed, Hasina

Hasina Wazed (hä´sēnä´ wäzĕd´), 1947–, Bangladeshi political leader, grad. Univ. of Dhaka (1973). Popularly known as Sheikh Hasina, she is the daughter of Bangladesh's first prime minister, Mujibur Rahman and a member of the Awami League, which her father cofounded and led. After he and other family members were killed in a 1975 military coup, she fled to India, where she was elected (1981) leader of the Awami League. Later that year she returned to Bangladesh and, as head of a multiparty alliance opposed to Lt. Gen. Hussain Mohammad Ershad's government she was repeatedly jailed and subject to house arrest throughout the 1980s. In 1986 she was elected to parliament. Elections held a decade later returned the Awami League to power, and Sheikh Hasina became prime minister. In office, she struggled with Bangladesh's poverty and other economic problems, but corruption continued to plague the country. In 2001 the League was soundly defeated by Khaleda Zia ur-Rahman and her Bangladesh Nationalist party, and Wazed left office charging electoral fraud. In 2007 the ruling military-backed interim government charged Sheikh Hasina first with murder and later with extortion and corruption, and she was again jailed. In June–Nov., 2008, however, she was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment. The Awami League won a landslide victory in the Dec., 2008, parliamentary elections, and the following month Sheikh Hasina again became prime minster. The Jan., 2014, elections, which were boycotted by the opposition, again resulted in a League landslide.

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