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Khaleda Zia
Begum Zia Book-opening Ceremony, 1 Mar, 2010.jpg
Begum Zia in 2010
9th Prime Minister of Bangladesh
In office
10 October 2001 – 29 October 2006
President Shahabuddin Ahmed
Badruddoza Chowdhury
Iajuddin Ahmed
Preceded by Latifur Rahman (Acting)
Succeeded by Iajuddin Ahmed (Acting)
In office
20 March 1991 – 30 March 1996
President Shahabuddin Ahmed (Acting)
Abdur Rahman Biswas
Preceded by Kazi Zafar Ahmed
Succeeded by Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Personal details
Khaleda Khanam Putul

Dinajpur, Bengal Presidency, British India
(m. 1960⁠–⁠1981)

Khaleda Zia (born Khaleda Khanam Putul in 1945) is a Bangladeshi politician who served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996, and again from 2001 to 2006. She was the first woman in the country's history and second in the Muslim majority countries to head a democratic government as prime minister. She was the First Lady of Bangladesh during the presidency of her husband Ziaur Rahman. She is the current chairperson and leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which was founded by Rahman in the late 1970s.

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Shri Somnath Chatterjee calls on the Bangladesh Prime Minister H.E. Begum Khaleda Zia, in New Delhi on March 20, 2006
Shri Somnath Chatterjee and the Bangladesh Prime Minister 2006

After a military coup in 1982, led by Army Chief General H M Ershad, Zia helped lead the continuing movement for democracy until the fall of military dictator Ershad in 1990. She became prime minister following the victory of the BNP in the 1991 general election. She also served briefly in the short-lived government in 1996, when other parties had boycotted the first election.

In the next round of general elections of 1996, the Awami League came to power. Her party came to power again in 2001. She has been elected to five separate parliamentary constituencies in the general elections of 1991, 1996 and 2001. For the better part of the last two decades, Zia's chief rival has been Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina.

In its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, Forbes magazine ranked Zia at number 14 in 2004, number 29 in 2005, and number 33 in 2006.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms Khaleda Zia inspecting Guard of Honour at a Ceremonial Reception, in New Delhi on March 21, 2006
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms Khaleda Zia 2006

On 24 May 2011, the New Jersey State Senate honoured Zia as a "Fighter for Democracy". It was the first time the state Senate had so honoured any foreign leader and reflects the state's increasing population of immigrants and descendants from South Asia.

Following her government's term end in 2006, the scheduled January 2007 elections were delayed due to political violence and in-fighting, resulting in a bloodless military takeover of the caretaker government. During its rule, it charged Zia and her two sons with corruption.

In February 2018, Zia was jailed for five years for corruption. She was found guilty of embezzling the funds for an orphanage trust set up when she was prime minister.

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