Pakistan

A tale of heart-warming friendship between US vice-president and a camel cart driver from Karachi

KARACHI:  Though it’s been over 50 years to an unusual friendship story of the former US vice president and a camel cart driver of Karachi, but the captivating memories of the beautiful amity still holds relevance to date.

The friendship between former vice president US Lyndon B Johnson and Bashir Sarban dates back to early 1960s.

Traveling in convoy in Karachi, Mr. Jhonson spied one of Pakistan’s prime tourist attractions: a camel cart. One of the leading English dailies reported the account: “Lyndon stopped the car, got out to shake hands with startled camel cart driver Bashir, 40. While the photographers snapped away, Johnson made small talk. “President Ayub Khan is coming to the U.S.,” he offered. “Why don’t you come too?” Bashir agreeably smiled “Sure, sure,” went home to his mud-and-gunny-sack shack and forgot it.

The paper went on to report that “Lyndon did the sporting thing: at a televised People-to-People luncheon, he suggested that it would be nice if someone helped Bashir get to the U.S. People-to-People Program, an independent group of international-minded Americans, promptly volunteered. So did the Reader’s Digest.

Ten days after receiving Johnson’s message, the U.S. embassy passed on the invitation to Bashir. (The embassy’s explanation: it had had “trouble finding” Karachi’s man of the hour.) Bashir was invited to come to Washington for the July Fourth celebrations.

After reaching the Washington, Bashir was crammed with happiness sighting that Mr. Johnson had himself arrived to receive him at the airport.

At the end of his stay, as a gesture of further goodwill, vice-president Johnson made arrangements for Bashir to visit the Islamic holy city of Makkah to perform Umrah. This act of friendship brought tears to the eyes of the destitute camel driver.

To recall this beautiful story of the yesteryears, the US Consulate General Office Karachi shared a short video of the camel driver amity with former US vice president on its official Facebook page.

One never knows how a lifelong #friendship can begin. How many of you remember Bashir Ahmed Sarban – the Pakistani camel cart man? Yes, the same person who managed to win over Vice President #LyndonJohnson with his kind heartedness and happy go lucky nature. Let us take you back to the time it all started. Nostalgia alert!

Posted by U.S. Consulate General Karachi on Friday, November 20, 2015

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