Dr Amjad Saqib, a Pakistani philanthropist and founder of the country’s largest interest-free microfinance programme Akhuwat, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work in poverty alleviation.
As many as 343 candidates from around the world have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 – 251 individuals and 92 organisations.
“My services are beyond such awards and they are purely for the sake of Allah,” Akhuwat Foundation Chairman Dr Amjad told The Express Tribune.
Dr Amjad said no person can nominate himself for the Nobel Prize and there is no lobbying involved in the entire process.
“An official of a foreign country might have recommended my name for the award as people across the world are familiar with my services for humanity… but I am not aware of any such development,” he said while responding to a question that a minister of Malta recommended his name for the prestigious award.
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Dr Amjad, was one of five recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award — named after a Filipino president killed in a plane crash — for his "first-of-its-kind" interest- and collateral-free microfinance programme that has helped millions of poor families.
Nearly two decades after its launch, Akhuwat has grown into the nation's largest microfinance institution, distributing the equivalent of $900 million and boasting an almost 100 per cent loan repayment rate.
Dr Amjad, who uses places of worship to hand out money, was cited for "his inspiring belief that human goodness and solidarity will find ways to eradicate poverty."
Having graduated from King Edward Medical University, Dr Amjad started his career by joining the esteemed civil service of Pakistan in 1985.
He served at various high-level government positions including Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP), a rural development and microfinance initiative by government of Punjab for seven years. The programme aimed at social mobilisation, community organisation and provision of financial access to the poor.
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Concluding that an alternative method is needed to cater to the needs of the poor, he decided to resign from the civil service and dedicate his life to the mission of creating a poverty-free society by founding Akhuwat.
Dr Amjad resigned from Civil Service in 2003 and founded Akhuwat the same year. He has been its CEO and main driving force since beginning. With seventeen years of successful operations, Akhuwat now presents a viable model of Shariah-compliant microfinance, which is both sustainable and replicable. Besides Akhuwat, the philanthropist is voluntarily serving many civil society organisations in the realm of education, health, disability, banking and finance.
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded on the day of Alfred Nobel’s death, the 10th of December, a time-honoured tradition since 1901.