US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s mother Ann Dunham may have spent five years in Pakistan, working as an employee of the Asian Development Bank, about 15 years ago.
In a story headlined “Obama’s mother stayed in Pakistan for five years”, leading Urdu newspaper Daily Waqt reported that Dunham was hired as a consultant by the Asian Development Bank and travelled often from Lahore to Gujranwala.
“Ann Dunham lived in Pakistan for five years. During this time, Barack Obama also visited his mother and stayed for a few months. Ann Dunham was hired as a consultant by the Asian Development Bank for Pakistan’s Agricultural Development Bank’s Gujranwala Agricultural Development Programme. This programme began in 1987 and ended in 1992,” the report said.
Obama’s Pakistan connection was widely speculated in both the local and international media since his infamous remark last year that if elected as President, he may send troops to Pakistan to hunt down terrorists.
According to the daily, Dunham monitored funds received for the agricultural programme from the Asian Development Bank and trained mobile credit officers of the local agricultural bank.
“She stayed for five years in Hilton International Hotel (now Avari Hotel) in Lahore and after returning from Pakistan, she died from cancer within three years,” the report said.
Obama himself has been citing his 1981 visit to Pakistan in a bid to counter rivals’ accusations that he lacks foreign policy experience.
“Mr Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent about three weeks there… staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, but also travelling to Hyderabad, in India,” a report in the New York Times quoted his campaign manager as saying.
Obama is believed to have had a number of Pakistani friends during his college days, and it was that friendship that brought him to Pakistan.
In Obama’s memoir “In dreams from my father”, he talks of having a Pakistani roommate when he moved to New York, a man he calls Sadik, who “had overstayed his tourist visa and now made a living in New York’s high-turnover, illegal immigrant work force, waiting on tables”.
During his years at Occidental College, Obama befriended Wahid Hamid, a fellow student who was an immigrant from Pakistan and travelled with Obama there.
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