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Page last updated at 04:37 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Bangladesh former PM returns home

Sheikh Hasina after her release from prison on June 11 2008
Sheikh Hasina says elections should be held on schedule

Former Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has returned home to lead her party in the general elections due next month.

She spent nearly four months in the US receiving medical treatment.

Thousands of Awami League party supporters welcomed Ms Hasina after she landed at the international airport in the capital, Dhaka.

There are a number of extortion and corruption cases pending against her in Bangladeshi courts and Sheikh Hasina faces possible arrest on her return.

She was detained last year after the army-backed interim government assumed power, but was released from prison in June to go abroad for medical treatment.

The Awami League leader had pledged to lead the party's campaign in the elections scheduled for 18 December.

Ms Hasina told the BBC Bengali service said she was willing to forge an alliance with other pro-democratic forces - including former president Hossein Mohammad Ershad's Jatiya Party - for the sake of democracy and welfare of the people.

"But elections must be held on schedule. The country is suffocating," Ms Hasina said.

The former prime minister's comments came as police in Dhaka said they could not find evidence against her in an alleged extortion case.

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