It is, perhaps, a little-known fact that Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh shares a close relationship with the former Pakistani defence journalist Aroosa Alam. The duo has manifestly been low-key about their lesser-known ‘affair’ and has often shied away from talking about it in public.
Senior journalist Seema Mustafa had called Alam ‘The First Lady of Punjab’. AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira had used critical epithets to describe her because of her nationality and the fact that she had stayed inside the Punjab Chief Minister’s Official Residence. Author Shobhaa De had characterised her as Amarinder Singh’s live-in partner.
However, the mystique surrounding the relationship between Singh and Alam has only grown since then.
Who is Aroosa Alam?
Aroosa Alam is a former Pakistani defence journalist and was known in Pakistani circles for having close ties with the military establishment. Alam is the daughter of Akleen Akhtar, also known as the famous General Rani, a socialite who was described by the Pakistani media as the “muse and mistress” of Pakistani leader Yahya Khan.
General Rani was also considered as the brains behind Khan and certain access to him. Consequently, she became the gateway to the General, and her importance in military establishment scaled new heights. Alam inherited her mother’s military network.
Alam was widely credited for her investigative reports on the Agosta-90B submarine deals that reportedly led to the arrest of then Pakistan naval chief Mansurul Haq in 1997.
However, she rapidly rose into prominence after joining the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) that was involved in promoting peace and friendship between the Indian and Pakistani journalists.
Just like Capt Amarinder Singh, Aroosa was also married. She had two kids and her husband had an obscure personality that no one really remembered. Aroosa had a special fascination for India and was keen on travelling to India and meeting Indians.
Aroosa Alam—a muse and a lady friend of Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh
Aroosa met Captain Amarinder Singh for the first time during one of his visits to Pakistan. Both were linked for the first time in 2007 when they were seen together a number of times. But, Aroosa had instantly clarified then that they were ‘just friends’. However, she subsequently shed her initial awkwardness and since then has been quite forthright about her relationship status with Captain Amarinder Singh.
In Punjab, Aroosa is known to be a muse—a special, close, lady friend of the former Maharaja of Patiala and current chief minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh. She is a well-accepted hostess in Chandigarh, spending a considerable amount of her time among the elites of the city, regaling them with her love for yoga, and of course, Punjab chief minister. It seems like Aroosa has inherited more from her mother than just her military connections.
However, on the expected lines, the duo’s relationship was unacceptable to Captain Amarinder Singh’s wife, Preneet Kaur. She was profoundly upset over the alleged affair of her husband with Alam but eventually came to terms with it. The relationship, nonetheless, continues to be a sensitive issue for Kaur. She has never gone public about it. Alam, on her part, never visits Patiala where Singh’s wife Kaur resides. She virtually lives in Chandigarh and visits India through roads.
Proud of the beautiful and everlasting friendship with Maharaj Sahab: Aroosa Alam
Alam was a prominent face on the hustings for the Punjab assembly elections in 2017 where she was seen campaigning for Captain Amarinder Singh. Aroosa was amongst the distinguished guests who occupied the VVIP seats at the swearing-in ceremony of Capt. Amarinder Singh. While the Punjab chief minister has still been tight-lipped about his relationship with Alam, the latter has shunned all inhibitions to talk about her bond with Maharaj Saahab, as she addresses Capt. Amarinder Singh
Alam was also present at the launch of Captain Amarinder Singh’s biography ‘The People’s Maharaja’ in February 2020. It is pertinent to note that the book has a dedicated chapter on Singh’s relationship with Aroosa, who had openly described that her friendship with Singh was beautiful, will last long and was something that she was very proud of.
Aroosa is also acutely aware of the eyebrows that are raised because of association with Punjab chief minister. “My relationship is a sensitive issue even back home, I am a Muslim woman and you know how people back home think,” said Aroosa in February 2018 when she was in Chandigarh.