This week has been a veritable roller-coaster for former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed. Banned from entering Bangladesh by its caretaker government, she flew down to London from the United States, where she had been visiting her ailing daughter-in-law. Once there, Hasina declared her intention to defy the government and return to her country to defend her honour, come what may. In response, Dhaka issued a letter to all airlines operating in and out of the capital city proscribing them from flying Hasina, describing her as a threat to national security to justify its decision. Earlier, the government had filed cases against her for allegedly extorting money and conspiring to murder an activist of a rival political party.
When the ex-PM arrived at London's Heathrow airport to board a British Airways flight to Dhaka on April 22, the airline turned her away. An angry Hasina railed against brazen attempts of the government to subvert democracy. Voices supporting her poured in; Washington was particularly vociferous, demanding that Dhaka lay out a roadmap for conducting elections. Three days later, Dhaka caved in and lifted the ban on Hasina from returning to her country. As she savoured her victory in London, hopping from one meeting to another with interviews to the media sandwiched between, she took time out for Sanjay Suri to answer a few questions. Excerpts from an interview: