Dr. Mohammad Haris Jafri, 73, died of a heart attack on Sunday, March 30, 2003, at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Dr. Jafri lived in Montgomery County since 1960. He first lived in Silver Spring, then moved to Potomac in 1970. He and his wife were one of the first Indo-Pakistani and Muslim families to settle in the Washington-Metropolitan area.
Dr. Jafri was born in Lucknow, India in 1929. His father schooled him through high school. In 1949, he attended Allahabad University, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts and was valedictorian while simultaneously earning his LL.B Law. He then pursued a Masters in Arabic at Karachi University in Pakistan, where he also graduated as valedictorian. Dr. Jafri was fluent in English, Spanish (which he learned in three weeks), Urdu, Hindi and Arabic. His fluency in Arabic by age five allowed him to have the entire Quran memorized by heart by age 9.
In 1955, Dr. Jafri earned a Fulbright Scholarship, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and an Asia Foundation Fellowship to the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed graduate studies in economics. After graduating in 1959, he moved to Maryland to begin a 25-year career at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in both operational and training positions. He retired as Division Chief/Advisor in 1984. During 1968-84, he also taught economics courses at the University of Maryland University College and Georgetown University.
Between 1984-2000, Dr. Jafri undertook more than 50 consulting assignments, including several for USAID, IMF and the World Bank, in such areas as macroeconomic management; fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policy; capital market development; agricultural sector policies; private enterprise development; municipal finance; and project evaluation and training. These assignments took him to 27 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His 40-year career produced 30 publications, reports and policy studies.
Dr. Jafri participated in the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (Kissinger Commission). From 1992-1996, he also worked in Bangladesh on a long-term resident assignment as the International Training Advisor in the USAID-financed Financial Sector Reform Technical Assistance Project.
Dr. Jafri is survived by his wife of 45 years, Salma Jafri; son Samir, daughter-in-law Deeba and grandson Musa; son Saleet; daughters Ayesha and Ayfer; son Shabeen, daughter-in-law Sarah and granddaughter Sabina; and sister-in-law Seema, her husband Tahseen and their daughter Zoya; all of Maryland. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Samina, her husband Zain Jafri, their daughter Zeerak and son Faraz; and niece Zahra and her daughters; all of Karachi, Pakistan.
Funeral services were held at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Maryland on March 31, 2003. Donations can be made to the American Heart Association.