Sheikh Hasina's Role as a Crisis Manager

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Published on October 17, 2023
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Dr. Pranab Kumar Panday:

In a world filled with unprecedented challenges and crises, the leadership of Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has emerged as a shining example of effective crisis management. Over her tenure, Sheikh Hasina has navigated her country through numerous crises with remarkable poise, strategic thinking, and a commitment to the welfare of her people.

Sheikh Hasina has been at the helm of Bangladesh's government since 2009, and her leadership during these years has been characterized by an unwavering commitment to the nation's progress and resilience in the face of adversity. Her ability to manage crises has not gone unnoticed, and her leadership style has garnered both national and international acclaim
Bangladesh is no stranger to natural disasters, with cyclones, floods, and landslides posing perennial threats to the country's well-being. Sheikh Hasina's government has not only recognized these threats but has also taken bold and proactive steps to build resilience and minimize the devastating consequences of such calamities. Under her leadership, Bangladesh has made significant investments in disaster preparedness and response mechanisms, earning international recognition for their pioneering efforts. The implementation of advanced early warning systems, coupled with the establishment of cyclone shelters and flood-resistant infrastructure, has been a cornerstone of the government's strategy. These measures have not only saved lives but have also showcased Bangladesh's commitment to safeguarding its citizens in the face of adversity.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Sheikh Hasina's leadership during natural disasters is the swift and organized response her administration has consistently demonstrated. In the wake of cyclones and floods, her government has executed well-planned evacuation procedures, ensuring the safety of vulnerable populations. Additionally, the provision of immediate relief in the form of food, clean water, and medical aid has alleviated suffering and prevented further loss of life.

One of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world, the influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar posed a significant challenge. Sheikh Hasina's government, true to its commitment to humanity, responded with compassion and efficiency. Bangladesh opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who were fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar. Under Sheikh Hasina's leadership, the government provided shelter, food, clean water, and critical medical assistance to those in dire need. These efforts saved countless lives and demonstrated Bangladesh's unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of compassion and solidarity.

Beyond the immediate relief efforts, Sheikh Hasina's exceptional diplomacy and negotiation skills played a pivotal role in garnering international support for the Rohingya cause. She engaged with world leaders, international organizations, and the United Nations to raise awareness about the plight of the Rohingya refugees and to seek a lasting solution to the crisis. Her diplomatic endeavours led to pledges of humanitarian aid and diplomatic pressure on Myanmar's government to address the root causes of the crisis, including the restoration of the Rohingya people's rights and their safe return to their homeland. Furthermore, Sheikh Hasina's leadership showcased Bangladesh as a responsible global actor willing to shoulder its humanitarian responsibilities. This commitment to providing sanctuary and support to those in need not only saved lives but also solidified Bangladesh's reputation as a nation with a deep sense of empathy and humanitarianism.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit nations worldwide, testing the leadership of heads of state. Sheikh Hasina has exhibited exceptional leadership credentials in the successful fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Her government's proactive response, guided by data-driven decisions, was instrumental in mitigating the virus's spread and minimizing its impact on the nation. Under her guidance, Bangladesh swiftly implemented crucial measures, including lockdowns, mass testing, and a well-organized vaccination campaign. Her administration's transparent communication and cooperation with international health organizations, and commitment to equitable vaccine distribution have earned praise globally. Sheikh Hasina's tireless efforts and effective strategies have played a pivotal role in safeguarding the health and well-being of the Bangladeshi people during these challenging times.

Sheikh Hasina has played a crucial role in navigating Bangladesh through the economic recession triggered by the war between Russia and Ukraine. Recognizing the potential impact of global geopolitical events on her nation's economy, she swiftly implemented measures to safeguard Bangladesh's financial stability. Sheikh Hasina's administration focused on prudent fiscal management, ensuring that resources were allocated efficiently to protect critical sectors. Her proactive approach, coupled with astute economic policies, helped Bangladesh mitigate the adverse effects of the global economic downturn, maintaining growth and stability for the benefit of its citizens. Despite the ongoing price increases in various essential commodities over the past few months due to the war, her government is actively working to regulate and stabilize market prices. In certain instances, market prices are adversely impacting the livelihoods of middle and lower-middle-income individuals and families. Consequently, there is a pressing need for increased efforts to address this issue.

Beyond crisis management, Sheikh Hasina's tenure has seen remarkable economic growth and infrastructure development. Bangladesh has consistently maintained an impressive GDP growth rate, driven by investments in key sectors such as textiles, manufacturing, and information technology. The development of infrastructure, including highways, bridges, and ports, has improved connectivity and facilitated trade.

Sheikh Hasina's leadership has not gone unnoticed on the global stage. She has received accolades and awards from various countries and international organizations for her efforts in addressing global challenges, promoting peace, and advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

While Sheikh Hasina's leadership has been commendable in managing crises and driving progress, Bangladesh still faces numerous challenges, including climate change, poverty reduction, and political reform. The road ahead will require continued dedication, innovation, and collaboration to ensure a prosperous and stable future for the nation.

As Bangladesh finds itself navigating a challenging political crisis in the lead-up to the upcoming election in early 2024, the nation's citizens hold high hopes that under the steadfast leadership of Sheikh Hasina, they will overcome these turbulent times. With a proven track record of resilience and diplomacy, Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated her ability to foster dialogue, seek consensus, and ensure political stability even in the most trying circumstances. The people of Bangladesh remain optimistic that her leadership will guide the country through this crisis, paving the way for a peaceful and democratic electoral process that reflects the nation's commitment to progress and unity

In the face of adversity, Sheikh Hasina has proven herself to be a capable and effective leader, capable of managing crises with a calm and strategic approach. Her unwavering commitment to the well-being of the people of Bangladesh and her achievements in disaster management, economic growth, and international diplomacy underscore her significance on the global stage. As Bangladesh continues to evolve, Sheikh Hasina's leadership remains a vital pillar of the nation's progress and resilience.

Writer: Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi.

Courtesy: Daily Sun