( dpa ) - Former Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina, jailed on charges of corruption, declared Sunday she was not quitting politics despite mounting pressure from senior party leaders to step down.
"Once I thought of retiring from politics so that a new leadership emerges, but now I have changed my mind," said Hasina during a deposition in a special anti-graft court in Dhaka.
Hasina claimed her Awami League, which had steered the country through a bloody civil war to independence from Pakistan in 1971, needed her leadership to overcome the present political uncertainty.
Hasina, who had inherited the political party from her father and founder president Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman, is being advised by colleagues in the party presidium to take a backseat role.
The 63-year old opposition supremo was prime minister of the country between 2001 and 2006.
Hasina miraculously escaped a grenade attack carried out by suspected Islamic extremists in 2004, but suffered serious injuries to her ears.
Hasina and her political rival and ex-premier Khaleda Zia have been jointly blamed for pushing the country to the brink of chaos because of their rigid stances.
Hasina, who faces several cases of corruption filed by the army- backed interim government, has been refused bail by the court.