Sheikh Hasina: Prime Minister, Bangladesh, 1996-2001 and 2009-Present
Prime Minister Hasina was born on Sept. 28, 1947, in the village of Tungipara. She was the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan in 1971. While at the University of Dhaka in the late 1960s, she became active in politics and served as her father’s political liaison while he was imprisoned by Pakistani rulers. Prime Minister Hasina and other members of her family were also forced into captivity briefly in 1971 after they participated in an uprising during the liberation war. On Aug. 15, 1975, Hasina’s father, mother, and three brothers were assassinated in their home by Bangladeshi military officers. Prime Minister Hasina spent six years in exile. During this time she was elected to a leadership position in the Awami League, the largest political organization in Bangladesh. On her return home in 1981, Prime Minister Hasina immersed herself in the fight for democracy which resulted in numerous house arrests. The Awami League led by Sheikh Hasina reclaimed power at the next election in 1996 but lost to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party again in 2001. Undaunted, Sheikh Hasina led her party in the 2008 general elections during which she vowed to build a "Digital Bangladesh" by 2021. The Awami league won the elections on December 29, 2008 with an overwhelming majority and Sheikh Hasina was named Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She continues to serve in that capacity today.