South Asia :: Bangladesh

Introduction ::Bangladesh

    Muslim conversions and settlement in the region now referred to as Bangladesh began in the 10th century, primarily from Arab and Persian traders and preachers. Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area in the 16th century. Eventually the area known as Bengal, primarily Hindu in the western section and mostly Muslim in the eastern half, became part of British India. Partition in 1947 resulted in an eastern wing of Pakistan in the Muslim-majority area, which became East Pakistan. Calls for greater autonomy and animosity between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan led to a Bengali independence movement. That movement, led by the Awami League (AL) and supported by India, won independence for Bangladesh in 1971, although at least 300,000 civilians died in the process. The post-independence, AL government faced daunting challenges and in 1975 was overthrown by the military, triggering a series of military coups that resulted in a military-backed government and subsequent creation of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). That government also ended in a coup in 1981, followed by military-backed rule until democratic elections in 1991. The BNP and AL have alternately held power since then, with the exception of a military-backed, emergency caretaker regime that suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. That government returned the country to fully democratic rule in December 2008 with the election of the AL and Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA. With the help of international development assistance, Bangladesh has made great progress in food security since independence, and the economy has grown at an average of about 6 percent over the last two decades.

Geography ::Bangladesh

    Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
    24 00 N, 90 00 E
    total: 143,998 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 95
    land: 130,168 sq km
    water: 13,830 sq km
    slightly smaller than Iowa
    total: 4,246 km
    border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km
    580 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 18 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
    tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
    mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m
    natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
    arable land: 52.97%
    permanent crops: 6.25%
    other: 40.78% (2011)
    50,500 sq km (2008)
    1,227 cu km (2011)
    total: 35.87 cu km/yr (10%/2%/88%)
    per capita: 238.3 cu m/yr (2008)
    droughts; cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
    many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne 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
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    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

People and Society ::Bangladesh

Government ::Bangladesh

    conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
    conventional short form: Bangladesh
    local long form: Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
    local short form: Bangladesh
    former: East Bengal, East Pakistan
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Dhaka
    geographic coordinates: 23 43 N, 90 24 E
    time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    7 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet
    16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan)
    Independence Day, 26 March (1971); Victory Day; note - March 1971 is the date of the Awami League's declaration of an independent Bangladesh, and 16 December, known as Victory Day, memorializes the military victory over Pakistan and the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
    enacted 4 November 1972; effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982; restored 10 November 1986; amended many times
    mixed legal system of mostly English common law and Islamic law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Abdul HAMID (since 24 April 2013); note - Abdul HAMID served as acting president following the death of Zillur RAHMAN in March 2013; HAMID was subsequently elected by the National Parliament and was sworn in 24 April 2013
    head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA (since 6 January 2009)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 29 April 2013 (next must be held by 2018)
    election results: President Abdul HAMID was elected by the National Parliament unopposed
    unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats (45 reserved for women) elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms
    elections: last held on 29 December 2008; note - general elections must be held within 90 days of the expiration of the Parliament or by 24 January 2014 or earlier if Parliament is dissolved before its term expires
    election results: percent of vote by party - AL 49%, BNP 33.2%, JP 7%, JIB 4.6%, other 6.2%; seats by party - AL 230, BNP 30, JP 27, JIB 2, other 11
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Bangladesh (organized into the Appellate Division with 7 justices and the High Court Division with 99 justices)
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice and justices appointed by the president; justices serve until retirement at age 67
    subordinate courts: civil courts include: Assistant Judge's Court; Joint District Judge's Court; Additional District Judge's Court; District Judge's Court; criminal courts include: Court of Sessions; Court of Metropolitan Sessions; special courts/tribunals; Metropolitan Magistrate Courts; Magistrate Court
    Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]
    Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB [Manjurul A. KHAN]
    Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]
    Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh or BDB [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY]
    Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [multiple leaders]
    Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh or JIB [Matiur Rahman NIZAMI]
    Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]
    Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Oli AHMED]
    Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
    Ain o Salish Kendro (Law and Order Center)
    Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee or BRAC
    Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity
    Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry
    Odikhar (Human Rights)
    other: associations of madrassa teachers; business associations, including those intended to promote international trade; development and advocacy NGOs associated with the Grameen Bank; environmentalists; Islamist groups; labor rights advocacy groups; nongovernmental organizations focused on poverty, alleviation, and socioeconomic international trade; religious leaders; tribal groups and advocacy organizations; union leaders
    chief of mission: Ambassador Akramul QADER
    chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
    FAX: [1] (202) 244-7830/2771
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Dan W. MOZENA
    embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
    mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
    telephone: [880] (2) 885-5500
    FAX: [880] (2) 882-3744
    green field with a large red disk shifted slightly to the hoist side of center; the red disk represents the rising sun and the sacrifice to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush vegetation of Bangladesh
    Bengal tiger
    name: "Amar Shonar Bangla" (My Golden Bengal)

    lyrics/music: Rabindranath TAGORE
    note: adopted 1971; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote India's national anthem

Economy ::Bangladesh

Energy ::Bangladesh

Communications ::Bangladesh

    977,700 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    84.369 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    general assessment: inadequate for a modern country; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity remains only about 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly and now exceeds 50 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 880; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 6; international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2011)
    state-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) operates 1 terrestrial TV station, 3 radio networks, and about 10 local stations; 8 private satellite TV stations and 3 private radio stations also broadcasting; foreign satellite TV stations are gaining audience share in the large cities; several international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
    71,164 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    617,300 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 112

Transportation ::Bangladesh

    18 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    total: 16
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    3 (2013)
    gas 2,950 km (2013)
    total: 2,622 km
    country comparison to the world: 64
    broad gauge: 946 km 1.676-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 1,676 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    total: 21,269 km
    country comparison to the world: 105
    paved: 1,063 km
    unpaved: 20,206 km (2010)
    8,370 km (includes up to 3,060 km of main cargo routes; the network is reduced to 5,200 km in the dry season) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    total: 62
    country comparison to the world: 64
    by type: bulk carrier 25, cargo 28, chemical tanker 1, container 5, petroleum tanker 3
    foreign-owned: 8 (China 1, Singapore 7)
    registered in other countries: 10 (Comoros 1, Hong Kong 1, Panama 5, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Chittagong
    river port(s): Mongla Port (Sela River)
    container port(s): Chittagong (1,392,104) (2011)
    the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh remain a risk for armed robbery against ships; attacks against vessels have decreased over the last few years in response to improved local security

Military ::Bangladesh

Transnational Issues ::Bangladesh

    Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Indian Prime Minister Singh's September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 29,000 Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Arakan State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up along border
    refugees (country of origin): 230,674 (Burma) (2012)
    IDPs: undetermined (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2012)
    transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries