Welcome to Bangladesh

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  BANGLADESH - People's Republic of Bangladesh                                                                               Home

Capital: Dhaka
Large Cities: Chittagong, Khulna
Language: Bangla, Chakma, Magh
Religion: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity
Currency: Taka

Bangladesh is surrounded by India, Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal.

History: A Republic in south Asia, Bangladesh was formerly East Pakistan, one of the five provinces into which Pakistan was divided at its creation, when Britain's former Indian Empire was partitioned in August 19947. East Pakistan and the four western provinces were separated by about 1,600 km of Indian Territory. East Pakistan was formed from the former Indian province of East Bengal and the Sylhet district of Assam. Although the east was more populous, government was based in West Pakistan. From the very inception of its formation, language remained the most problematic issue. Same status for Bengali language with Urdu and English was the demand and the movement involving all sections of the people of East Pakistan gave a strike call on 21 Feb, 1952. On that very day, police fired on a students' rally and several students died. Since then the day has been observed as the Language Day (Bhasa Divas).

East Pakistan became an independent entity named Bangladesh on 16 December, 1971, following civil war in which India actively supported the East. Leader of this independence movement, sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the first Prime Minister.

In January 1975 parliamentary government was replaced by a presidential form of government. Sheik Mujib became president, assuming absolute power. In February, Bangladesh became a one-party state.

On 15 August, 1975 sheikh Mujib and his family were assassinated in a coup. Chief of Army Staff, Major-Gen. Ziaur Rahman (Gen.Zia) took over power on 7 November, 1975. In June 1978 the country's first direct presidential election resulted in a victory for Zia, who formed a Council of Adviser. Parliamentary elections followed in February 1979 in which president Ziaur Rahman's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won 207 of the 300 directly elective seats in the Jatiya Sangsad.

Political Affects: Political instability recurred, however, when Gen. Ziaur was assassinated on 30 May 1981 during an attempted military coup. The elderly Vice-president, Justice Abdus Sattar, took over as acting president but was faced with strikes and demonstration over the execution of several officers who had been involved in the coup.

On 24 March, 1982 there was a bloodless military coup, by which Lieut.Gen. Ershad became chief martial law administrator. President Sattar was deposed. The constitution was suspended and parliament ceased to function. Assanuddin Chowdhury was sworn in as civilian president on 27 March. Lieut.Gen. Ershad assumed the presidency on 11 Dec., 1983.

Although the Government's economic policies achieved some success and gained a measure o popular support for Ershad, the all party alliance of MRD-movement for the Restoration of Democracy-gained momentum.

In Jan. 1986 a National Executive Committee was formed and the National Party launched, composed of government supporters. Gen. Ershad was re-elected President on 15 October, 1986. The National Party won the general election of March 1988.

Gen. Ershad was deposed and arrested after a popular uprising in December 1990. Mr. Shahabuddin Ahmed took over as Acting president. In the general election held in February 1991 Bangladesh National Party led by Begum Khaleda Zia won 140 seats. Begum Zia was sworn in PM. In the general election held in June, 1996, Awami League won 146 seats and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, became the PM of Bangladesh. Jatiya party quite the govt. in Mar. '98.

People & Culture: Bangladesh is the second largest Muslim country in the world. Dhaka, with 2000 mosque, is known as the city of mosques. The total for the country is over 200,000. There are an estimated 1,200,000 tribal people in Bangladesh. Most of them (700,000) are in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

Tribal Shanti Bahini guerrillas fighting for autonomy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts surrendered in Feb.'98, ending a 25-year insurgency that claimed more than 8500 lives.

Mission in India:
High Commission for the People's Republic of Bangladesh
EP-39, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Marg
Chankyapuri, New Delhi - 110021.
Tel: 26878948-49; Fax: 26878953
E-mail: dhcdelhi@mantraonline.com

Indian Mission in Bangladesh:
High Commission of India
House No. 2, Road No.142
Gulshan-1, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tel: 00-8802-9889339

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