Washington, 12 November 2010: On 7 November, the visiting US president, Barack Obama, encountered a sharp question at Bombay's St Xavier's College, where a management student, Afsheen Irani, asked him: "Why is Pakistan such an important ally of the United States? Why hasn't America called it a terrorist state?" Although Obama was coached how to answer such a question, he was a bit rattled. Nonetheless, he came back saying he was expecting such a question.