Shafiqual Haque Choudhury, founder and president of Association for Social Advancement (ASA), a leading microfinance institution serving millions of borrowers across the country, has been laid to rest at Mirpur Martyred Intellectual Graveyard this afternoon.
An advisor to the former caretaker government, Shafiqual Haque Choudhury died in the early hours today at the city's Square Hospital due to a massive cardiac shock, ASA said in its website. He was 72 years old.
"Shafiqual Haque Choudhury was buried at Martyred Intellectual Graveyard in Mirpur around 2:50pm after namaz-e-janaza at Shyamoli Shishu Polli Mosque," Gonoshasthaya Kendra said in a release.
He earned a masters degree in Sociology from Dhaka University in 1969 and worked as a trainer for the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD). He left behind his wife, three sons and a host of friends and relatives to mourn his death.
In the volatile days of the country, Shafiqual Haque Choudhury founded ASA in 1978 at a remote village Tapra, under the then Manikganj sub-division with a mission to provide welfare for the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged and the vision to establish a poverty free society.
ASA provides several microfinance products to its members including savings, insurance, loans tailored for agri-business and the information technology (IT) sector, and a free-of-charge health assistance program for "major/critical diseases," according to microcapital.org.
He was a member of the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), taught at the Boulder Institute of Microfinance (BI), and was a visiting fellow at St. Francis Xavier University's (StFX) Coady International Institute (CII).
Shafiqual Haque Choudhury was well-known for his insistence on preserving the slim, low-cost nature of ASA's operations through standardization of products, simplification of procedures, and a zero-tolerance rule on late repayments, and has been compared to Henry Ford by the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) quarterly Finance for the Poor, as a result.
Different organisations including Gonoshasthaya Kendra, and dignitaries including planning minister MA Mannan have expressed deep shock at the demise of Shafiqual Haque Choudhury.