The Bangladesh Awami League (AL) (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ আওয়ামী লীগ; translated from FarsiBangladesh People's League), commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh. It is also currently the governing party after winning the 2008 Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.
The Awami League was founded in Dhaka, the former capital of the Pakistani province ofEast Bengal, in 1949 by Bengali nationalists Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani,Shamsul Huq, and later Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. The Awami League was established as the Bengali alternative to the domination of the Muslim League in Pakistan. The party quickly gained massive popular support in East Bengal, later named East Pakistan, and eventually led the forces of Bengali nationalism in the struggle against West Pakistan's military and political establishment. The party under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, would lead the struggle for independence, first through massive populist and civil disobedience movements, such as the Six Point Movement and 1971 Non-Cooperation Movement, and then during the Bangladesh Liberation War. After the emergence of independent Bangladesh, the Awami League would win the first general elections in 1973 but was overthrown in 1975 after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.The party was forced by subsequent military regimes into political wilderness and many of its senior leaders and actvists were executed and jailed. After the restoration of democracy in 1990, the Awami League emerged as one of the principal players of Bangladeshi politics.
Amongst the leaders of the Awami League, five have become the President of Bangladesh, four have become the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and one became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Since the independence of Bangladesh, the party has been under the control of the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His daughter and also the incumbent Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has been heading the party since 1981.