ISLAMABAD: Akhuwat, Pakistan’s largest interest-free microfinance company, was founded by Saqib. He is one of 251 persons and 92 organizations nominated for the yearly prize, which comes with a medal, certificate, ten million Swedish crowns ($1 million), and immediate worldwide recognition.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of five prizes created in 1895 by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel to honor those who “have given the greatest value to Mankind.” Physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature are the recipients of the other four prizes.
The Pakistani contender has already received international attention for his work in social mobilisation and poverty eradication. In 2021, he was honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award, often known as Asia’s Nobel Prize.
“I am doing all of this work for Allah, therefore I am not very enthused about prizes,” Saqib stated in a recent interview.
“However, this nomination is wonderful news in the sense that it would bring goodwill to my country and portray Pakistan in a favourable light to the rest of the world.”
Saqib resigned his career in the Pakistani government service in 2001 to create Akhuwat. Since its inception, the organisation has built 800 branches across Pakistan, allowing hundreds of thousands of individuals to become self-sufficient.
“We created this interest-free loan fund in which wealthy people contribute and the institution (Akhuwat) distributes it to needy people without interest so that they can start a small business,” he explained, noting that the first loan was given to a woman who purchased two sewing machines to begin her business.
“Akhuwat University is an education project in which Akhuwat pays for all educational costs, including instruction, boarding, food, and clothes,” Saqib added. “A few university colleges are already up and running, with about 1,500 students enrolled.”