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The People's Republic of Bangladesh is a state in South Asia.
Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan as East Pakistan when the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was born in 1947. It was composed of the Muslim part of Bengal. Although there are some improvements in East Pakistan, most Bangladeshis resent their domination by West Pakistani officials. The Awami League was the leading movement in East Pakistan, demanding equal rights for East Pakistanis. Agitation continued in 1960s, and its leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was jailed in 1966, only to be released in 1969 after a popular uprising. The 1970 Bhola cyclone destroyed the coast of East Pakistan, costing half a million lives, and the poor response of the central government only incensed the Bengali population. Pakistani president Abdul Yahya Khan had Mujibur arrested in 1971 and launched Operation Searchlight to crush Bengali opposition; about half a million to three million lives were lost. Mujibur in prison declared East Pakistan independent as Bangladesh and called Bengalis to resist. India intervened in the Bangladesh Liberation War and on 16 December 1971, the Bangladeshi resistance defeated the Pakistani army and the Pakistani government conceded. Mujibur was then released and took the office of prime minister.
However, this did not solve Bangladesh's immediate problems. A famine in 1973-4 caused mass disaffection. His Awami League won the 1973 election, allegedly, on a fraudulent basis, and when he tried to install one-party rule in 1975, he was assassinated along with his family on August 13. General Ziaur Rahman became the strongman, but he had to contend with coups and countercoups, further muddling the situation. He was finally assassinated in 1981.
However, the democracy that was re-established in 1981 was still unstable, and another general, Hussain Mohammed Ershad, took power in a bloodless coup in 1982. He stabilized the country's politics, though corruption was still endemic.
When Doomsday came on September 26, 1983, Bangladeshi strongman Hussain Mohammed Ershad ordered the Bangladeshi-Indian border closed. Despite not been attacked with a nuclear weapon in Doomsday, the country's leader worried that swarms of foreign refugees are trying to enter the country illegally. This was further complicated by food riots. Although Ershad declared Martial Law when he took power in 1982, he was unable to control the violence that was spreading in the border regions. His fears were confirmed by the breakdown of India and the turmoil it brought in the late 1980s.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi communists had been sparking agitation against Ershad. The latter's election in 1986, with questionable turnout, had turned off even the moderate opposition. The Communist Party of Bangladesh used this to incite students and workers against the regime.
A controversial proposal by the government to include active military officers in the local administrative council sparked protest from the opposition. This was used by the Communist Party of Bangladesh to seize power. A series of power struggles within the opposition had made the Communists the dominant opposition, and on September 4, 1988, the military turned against Ershad and had him assassinated. The military then declared loyalty to the new Communist government, which soon dominated politics by 1991 by killing off non-Communist opposition as well as opposition within the communist ranks.
The government of Bangladesh is a socialist state. The Prime Minister, both in this position as well as in his capacity as the Secretary-General of the Bangladeshi Communist Party, is the head of the country.
Mujahidul Islam Selim is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, with Manzurul Ahsan Khan as President, a ceremonial position.
The Prime Minister is ceremonially appointed by the President and must be a member of Parliament.
The Parliament is composed of 300 members, elected by universal suffrage for at least 5 years. Universal suffrage is at 18.
There is only one popular front in Bangladesh: the Bangladeshi People's Front. It was dominated by the Communist Party of Bangladesh, with the Bangladeshi People's Party and the Awami League being at its wing and completely subordinated. Opposition is actually legal but discouraged.
The current strength of the army is around 200,000 including reservists, the air force 22,000, and navy 14,950. In addition to traditional defense roles, the military has been called on to provide support to civil authorities for disaster relief and internal security during periods of political unrest.
EconomyDespite continuous domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a developing nation. Its per capita income in 2008 was ANZ$578 compared to the world average of $11,344.
Jute was once the economic engine of the country. Its share of the world export market peaked in the Second World War and the late 1940s at 80% and even in the early 1970s accounted for 70% of its export earnings. However, polypropylene products began to substitute for jute products worldwide and the jute industry started to decline. Bangladesh grows very significant quantities of rice, tea and mustard.
Although two-thirds of Bangladeshis are farmers, more than three quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry, which began attracting foreign investors in the 1980s due to cheap labour and low conversion cost. In 2002, the industry exported ANZ$5 million worth of products. The industry now employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women. A large part of foreign currency earnings also comes from the remittances sent by expatriates living in other countries.
Before Doomsday, atheism was extremely rare in Bangladesh. However, since Doomsday, many people have lost faith in their religions, and after 1988, secularization has been supported by the communist government and now 10.3% of Bangladeshis are atheist. Other than that, the largest religions are Islam (81.9%) and Hinduism (8.3%). Most Muslims are Sunnis, but there is a small Shia community. In addition, there are small communities of Christians and Baha'i.
The national sport of Bangladesh is kabaddi, a South Asian team sport. The most popular sport is cricket, and football (soccer) is the third most popular behind kabaddi and cricket.