Pak president-elect gets an invitation from Agra

Hussain's ancestral house at 'Nai Ki Mandi' is now a bakery

Pak president-elect gets an invitation from Agra

Mamnoon Hussain got an invitation from India soon after he was elected the next president of Pakistan on Tuesday.

The invitation was not from the Government of India, but Subham Soneja, who now runs a bakery at what had once been the ancestral house of Hussain at Nai Ki Mandi in Agra.

“We will be very happy if he comes to our city and find some time to visit us at the place where he was born,” Subham told Deccan Herald from Agra on Tuesday, shortly after members of both Houses of Pakistan’s Parliament elected the 73-year-old textile tycoon the 12th president of Pakistan.

Hussain was not only born in Agra in 1940, but also spent his childhood there. His family migrated to Pakistan in 1948, a year after Partition.  The house where the president-elect of Pakistan grew up, was purchased by Subham’s late father Govardhan Soneja in 1972. It was turned into a bakery in 1978.

Hussain, who would be sworn in as the new president in September, recently told journalists that his father had purchased the “haaveli” for about Rs 1 lakh.

Until recently, Subham didn’t know much about the history of the old house, which he inherited from his father. It was only after the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) declared Hussain its candidate for the country’s presidential elections that he came to know about the old building’s links with the Governor of Sindh, who would soon take over as the head of the state in the neighbouring country.
So did the relatives, neighbours and old acquaintances of the Hussains in Agra.
“We knew that we have a cousin who is a big businessman in Karachi. But we never thought he would someday become the president of Pakistan,” said Haji Fahim, one of the many relatives of Hussain in Agra. Fahim’s father Haji Nijamuddin’s aunt was the maternal grandmother of Hussain. Nijamuddin, who passed away last Sunday at the age of 88, had stayed at the residence of the Hussains in Karachi during a visit to Pakistan in 1992. He, however, did not meet his nephew, who was then an emerging business leader in Karachi.
“My father came to know just before his death that his nephew would soon occupy the highest office in Pakistan. He was very thrilled,” said Fahim, who owns a shoe manufacturing unit in Agra. “Though my father could not meet him before his death, we will be very happy to receive Hussain saab at our place if he ever comes to Agra.”  Hussain’s grandfather Zafar was an ace shoe manufacturer of Agra and his skills had earned him the title “Ustad” from others in the trade. His father also amassed a huge fortune in the leather industry.

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