Sheikh Hasina: Defender or Attacker of Democracy in Bangladesh?


In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed a range of pressing issues facing her country. As the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father, Hasina has been in power for over 14 years, and has faced numerous challenges during her tenure.

One of the most pressing issues currently facing Bangladesh is the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis. Since 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled from neighboring Myanmar to Bangladesh, seeking refuge from persecution and violence. The situation has put a significant strain on Bangladesh’s resources and infrastructure, and has raised concerns about the country’s ability to provide for the needs of such a large population of refugees.

On March 5, a massive fire broke out in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, destroying thousands of homes and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. Hasina acknowledged the severity of the situation, and emphasized that her government is doing everything in its power to provide aid and support to those affected by the fire.

“We have taken immediate steps to provide relief to the affected people,” she said. “We have set up temporary shelters, provided food and medical assistance, and are working to rebuild the homes that were destroyed.”

Hasina also stressed the importance of international cooperation in addressing the refugee crisis, and called on other countries to do their part in providing aid and support to Bangladesh.

“We cannot handle this crisis alone,” she said. “We need the support and cooperation of the international community to provide for the needs of these refugees and to find a lasting solution to this crisis.”

In addition to the refugee crisis, Hasina also addressed allegations of political repression and persecution of opposition members in Bangladesh. With a general election scheduled for later this year, there have been concerns about the fairness and transparency of the electoral process.

Hasina acknowledged that there have been some incidents of violence and intimidation during previous elections, but emphasized that her government is committed to ensuring a free and fair electoral process this time around.

“We have taken steps to ensure that all political parties have equal access to the media, and that there is no discrimination or harassment of opposition members,” she said. “We want to ensure that this election is conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner, and that everyone’s voice is heard.”

Despite these assurances, however, there are still concerns about the state of democracy in Bangladesh under Hasina’s leadership. Some critics have accused her government of using authoritarian tactics to suppress dissent and maintain power.

Hasina rejected these accusations, and pointed to her government’s record on economic development and social progress as evidence of its commitment to democracy and human rights.

“We have made significant progress in reducing poverty, improving healthcare and education, and promoting gender equality,” she said. “These are all indicators of a healthy democracy, and we will continue to work towards building a more prosperous and inclusive society for all Bangladeshis.”

Overall, Hasina’s interview with Al Jazeera highlighted both the challenges facing Bangladesh today, as well as the government’s efforts to address them. While there are certainly areas where improvement is needed – particularly with regard to human rights and democratic freedoms – it is clear that Hasina remains committed to building a better future for her country and its people.