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LAHORE: Founder of Pakistan’s largest interest-free microfinance programme Akhuwat, Dr Amjad Saqib, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work in poverty alleviation.

Dr Amjad Saqib has already won The Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021, popularly known as the Asian Nobel Prize, earlier in August 2021 for his “first-of-its-kind” interest- and collateral-free microfinance programme that has helped millions of poor families.

Akhuwat is the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan, offering loans for the poor strata of society. So far, it has distributed Rs4.8 million interest-free loans to help out three million families. It is worth noting that the programme has a remarkable 99.9% loan repayment rate.

Akhuwat has also made landmark achievements in the field of education where it has “adopted” hundreds of neglected and non-functioning public schools and established four residential colleges (one of them for women) for poor and deserving students.

Akhuwat also runs a health services program, helping hundreds of thousands of patients; a “clothes bank” that has distributed more than three million clothes for the needy; and a program of economic, health, and psycho-social services for the discriminated transgender community.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, Akhuwat responded with emergency loans and grants, food relief, and other assistance in over a hundred cities in Pakistan.

As many as 343 candidates from around the world have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 – 251 individuals and 92 organisations.

Dr Amjad said 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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