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  • Counter :
  • 3660
  • Date :
  • 7/9/2003


Location and Geography


Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

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(Most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal

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Total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km

Land boundaries

total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km

Climate: Tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)

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Natural resources: Natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Environment current issues

:Many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation



133,376,684 (July 2002 est.)


 noun: Bangladeshi(s)
 adjective: Bangladeshi

Ethnic groups:

Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)


Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English


definition: age 15 and over can read and write


Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and ill-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product. Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, inadequate port facilities, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, delays in exploiting energy resources (natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Economic reform is stalled in many instances by political infighting and corruption at all levels of government. Progress also has been blocked by opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups. The newly-elected BNP government, led by Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA, has the parliamentary strength to push through needed reforms, but the party's level of political will to do so remains undetermined.


Telephones - main lines in use:

500,000 (2000)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 12, FM 12, shortwave 2 (1999)

Television broadcast stations:


Internet users

: 30,000 (2000)



total: 2,745 km


Total: 201,182 km
paved: 19,112 km
unpaved: 182,070 km (1997)


Up to 8,046 km depending on season


includes 3,058 km main cargo routes


Country name

: conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
former: East Pakistan

Government type

: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Dhaka

Administrative divisions

: 5 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi; note - there may be one additional division named Sylhet


: 16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh

National holiday

: Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh


: 4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986, amended many times

Executive branch

: chief of state: President A. Q. M. Badruddoza CHOWDHURY (since 12 November 2001); note - the president's duties are normally ceremonial, but with the 13th amendment to the constitution ("Caretaker Government Amendment"), the president's role becomes significant at times when Parliament is dissolved and a caretaker government is installed - at presidential direction - to supervise the elections
head of government: Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA (since 10 October 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term; election last held 1 October 2001 (next to be held by NA October 2006); following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: A. Q. M. Badruddoza CHOWDHURY elected president without opposition; percent of National Parliament vote - NA%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies (the constitutional amendment reserving 30 seats for women over and above the 300 regular parliament seats expired in May 2001); members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 1 October 2001 (next to be held before October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - BNP and alliance partners 46%, AL 42%; seats by party - BNP 201, AL 62, JI 18, JP (Ershad faction) 14, IOJ 2, JP (Naziur) 1, other 4; note - the election of October 2001 brought a majority BNP government aligned with three other smaller parties - Jamaat-i-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote, and Jatiya Party (Naziur)

Judicial branch

: Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)

Political parties and leaders

: Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Bangladesh Communist Party or BCP [Saifuddin Ahmed MANIK]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA, chairperson]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [Mufti Fazlul Haq AMINI]; Jamaat-E-Islami or JI [Motiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Jatiya Party (Manzur faction) [[Naziur Rahman MANZUR]

Flag description:

green with a large red disk slightly to the hoist side of center; the red sun of freedom represents the blood shed to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush countryside, and secondarily, the traditional color of Islam


Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)

About 80 percent of Bangladeshis are Muslims, making Bangladesh one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. The Muslim community in Bangladesh tends to be accommodating to other faiths and beliefs and Bangladesh is known for its lack of communal strife. Hinduism is professed by about 12 percent of the population while there are significant numbers of Buddhists in Bangladesh. Bangladesh also has a very small Christian community. The region of what is now Bangladesh saw wholesale conversions to Islam that began in the thirteenth century and continued on for hundreds of years. Muslim missionaries and mystics who wandered about the villages and towns were responsible for much of the conversions. Most Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunnis, but there is a small Shia community.

Hindus in Bangladesh in the 1990s were almost evenly distributed in all regions, with concentrations in Khulna, Jessore, Dinajpur, Faridpur, and Barisal. In the Chittagong Hills, Buddhist tribes formed the majority of the population, and their religion appeared to be a mixture of tribal cults and Buddhist doctrines. According to the 1981 census, there were approximately 600,000 Buddhists in Bangladesh, representing less than 1 percent of the population.


 Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.

The area which is now Bangladesh has a rich historical and cultural past, the product of the repeated influx of varied peoples, bringing with them the Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Mongol-Mogul, Arab, Persian, Turkic, and European cultures. About 1200 A.D., Muslim invaders supplanted Hindu and Buddhist dynasties, and converted most of the population of the eastern areas of Bengal to Islam. Since then, Islam has played a crucial role in the region's history and politics. In the 16th century, Bengal was absorbed into the Mughul Empire.

Portuguese traders and missionaries reachedBengal in the latter part of the 15th century. They were followed by representatives of the Dutch, the French, and the British East India Companies. During the 18th and 19th centuries, especially after the defeat of the French in 1757, the British gradually extended their commercial contacts and administrative control beyond Calcutta into the remainder of Bengal and northwesterly up the Ganges River valley. In 1859, the British Crown replaced the East India Company, extending British dominion from Bengal in the east to the Indus River in the west.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Muslim and Hindu leaders began to press for a greater degree of independence. At the movement's forefront was the largely Hindu Indian National Congress. Growing concern about Hindu domination of the movement led Muslim leaders to form the All-India Muslim League in 1906. In 1913, the League formally adopted the same goal as the Indian National Congress: self-government forIndia within the British Empire. The Congress and the League were unable, however, to agree on a formula to ensure the protection of Muslim religious, economic, and political rights. Over the next 2 decades, mounting tension between Hindus and Muslims led to a series of bitter intercommoned conflicts.
The idea of a separate Muslim state emerged in the 1930s. It gained popularity among Indian Muslims after 1936, when the Muslim League suffered a decisive electoral defeat in the first elections under the 1935 constitution.
16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. The current head of government is Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the head of state is Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed.

Nowadays the National Assembly orThe Jatiya Sangsad has 300 members elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies. New


were held October 1, 2001 with BNP getting the highest number of votes. The leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Begum Khaleda Zia was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The previous parliamentary


were held June 12, 1996, with the Awami League led bySheikh Hasina Wazedgetting the largest number of seats. The previous universal elections were held in 1991 and were won by Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

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