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Loss of a Cooperator

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Mohammad Sharif Bhaiji of COVID-19 in Karachi, Pakistan. M. Sharif Bhaiji was managing director of Karachi Cooperative Housing Societies Union, which helps with the establishment of hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centres and recreation parks. He was also the Director of Kokan Cooperative Housing.

Mr. Sharif Bhaiji was born in Bombay, India (Mumbai) in 1936. He started off his career with business then became involved in cooperatives in 1952 because of the inspiration of his father who had been serving cooperatives since the partition of India and Pakistan. His father, Mr. Yousuf Bhaiji, one of the founders of Sindh Cooperative, devoted himself to fighting poverty through cooperatives.  Continuing the work of his father,  his achievements include the construction of hospitals, schools, colleges, orphan villages and mosques. As an active director of housing cooperatives of Karachi, he devoted himself to the development of houses, flats and townships in rural & urban areas.

Kokan Cooperative Housing was where Mr. Sharif Bhaiji called his home and where he served as secretary for over 20 years and where he was involved in developing a fair price shop and Kokan Park. Mr. Sharif Bhaiji also served as the General Secretary of the Union Cooperative Club, established for the recreation of the residents of the same vicinity.  The club saw significant expansion and refurbishments during his tenure. He was also a Director of Union Cooperative College for over 20 years.

Other accomplishments include working for the betterment of Sindh province, one of the provinces of Pakistan, as the Secretary of Sindh Provincial Cooperatives Union, which includes 2,700  consumer, agriculture, fisheries, credit and housing societies.

Mohammad served as a member of the board of Cooperative Housing International (CHI) from 2009 to 2013. David Rodgers, who served as CHI President during these same years had this to say about Mohammad, “He was a delightful and gentle man committed to our co-operative principles and values. He was dedicated to our co-operative endeavours and also to equal rights for women, determined to promote equal access to education for all, especially young girls in Pakistan, and to demonstrating how co-operative enterprise and values can truly build a better world, a philosophy he set out in a book he published a few years ago. He was also determined to encourage the next generation of co-operators to follow in his footsteps. His total commitment to equality was demonstrated when, having retired from the board of CHI, he encouraged and supported his wife Errum Sharif Bhaiji to stand for election to the board.”

CHI Board at ICA Congress in Cancun in 2011

Mr. Ahsan Ali Thakur, Chairperson of ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation and Director of Communication with the Karachi Cooperative Societies Union remarks, “Mr. Sharif Bhaiji was not just a person, he was a superhuman who worked day and night to support not just his family but the family of others. He was a man of character, prestige, brilliance and excellence with the knowledge to boost others and keep the cooperative union a landmark for generations to come. Supporting many people and providing jobs was one of the many ways he served the cooperative community along with too many other good deeds to highlight. He will be remembered and will be in our hearts and prayers.”

We join the cooperative movement in wishing his friends, colleagues and family, including his widow, Errum Sharif Bhaiji and their son Hamza our sincere condolences.


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