Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina appears on Time Cover, says tough to overthrow her

10:38 AM Nov 04, 2023 | PTI |

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has appeared on the cover page of Time magazine, in an interview asserted it is difficult to overthrow her government through a democratic system.


Elections in Bangladesh are scheduled in January 2024.

“I am confident that my people are with me … They’re my main strength … It’s not that easy to overthrow me through a democratic system … The only option is just to eliminate me. And I am ready to die for my people,” Hasina told Time magazine, according to the excerpts of the interview released by the news outlet.

The November 20 edition of the magazine, which featured Hasina on cover page, will hit the stands on November 10, the New York-based outlet said.

“At 76…Bangladesh’s Prime Minister is a political phenomenon who has guided the rise of this nation of 170 million from rustic jute producer into the Asia-Pacific’s fastest-expanding economy over the past decade.


“In office since 2009, after an earlier term from 1996 to 2001, she is the world’s longest-serving female head of government and credited with subduing both resurgent Islamists and a once meddlesome military,” read TIME’s Charlie Campbell cover story.

“Having already won more elections than Margaret Thatcher or Indira Gandhi, Hasina is determined to extend that run at the ballot box in January,” Campbell wrote.

“Few rebuttals are as stark as the 19 assassination attempts that Hasina has weathered over the years. In recent months, supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have clashed with security forces, leading to hundreds of arrests, police vehicles and public buses set ablaze, and several people killed. The BNP has vowed to boycott the election as they did in both 2014 and 2018 unless Hasina hands power to a caretaker government to shepherd elections,” the cover story said.

Asked about her insistence in demanding the developed nations that they provide developing ones $100 billion annually until 2025 for climate resilience, a pledge so far unfulfilled, Sheikh Hasina told TIME: “We don’t want to only receive promises … Developed countries should come forward.”

On why Bangladesh exists in a ‘gray zone’ she said: “Democracy has a different definition that varies country to country.”

Hasina also spoke about her government’s introduction of transparent ballot boxes and registration papers linked to ID cards and biometric data to ensure free elections. “It was our struggle … The right to vote, the right to food. That was our slogan.”

According to the cover story titled ‘Sheikh Hasina and the Future of Democracy in Bangladesh,’ the nation under Hasina has taken an authoritarian turn under her Awami League party. The last two elections were condemned by the US and the European Union for “significant irregularities,” including stuffed ballot boxes and thousands of phantom voters.

“Today, Khaleda Zia, two-time former Premier and BNP leader, sits gravely ill under house arrest on dubious corruption charges. Meanwhile, BNP workers have been hit by a staggering 4 million legal cases, while independent journalists and civil society also complain of vindictive harassment. Critics say January’s vote is tantamount to a coronation and Hasina to a dictator,” the magazine writes.


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