Following the acrimonious fallout between former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the Congress party, Punjab Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa called for a probe into whether Amarinder Singh’s Pakistani friend Aroosa Alam has links with the country’s notorious intelligence agency ISI.
“Since Captain claims Punjab is facing a threat from the ISI, we will be probing the relation of his friend Aroosa Alam with the ISI,” Randhawa told NDTV in an interview. Alam is a defence journalist and is widely regarded as a close friend of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Randhawa said he has asked the Punjab police chief to probe the allegations of Alam’s link with Pakistan’s military officers and the ISI.
“Captain has been harping on the issue of drones coming over from Pakistan for the last four-and-a-half years. So Captain (sahab) first raised this issue and later got BSF deployed in Punjab. So it seems a big plot which needs to be probed,” Randhawa said.
The state home minister also alleged that the former CM got the inquiry into the January 2017 Maur bomb blast case stalled and promised to open the probe.
He said, “We are set to order a re-inquiry into the case and will surely send culprits to jail.” Significantly, the blast had taken place close to an election rally venue of Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi. Two inquiries ordered into the incident had pointed to the involvement of the Dera Sacha Sauda. Jassi’s daughter is wedded to the Dera chief’s son.
The attack against Singh came a day after he slammed the Congress party for its duplicity in its criticism of his plans to ally with the BJP. Singh had pulled up Congress saying it had no authority to sermonise others on secularism when it joined hands with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and had inducted many leaders from the BJP, including the current PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Captain’s remark was in response to Congress’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat, who had called Mr Singh’s announcement “shocking” and said it appeared that he had “killed the secular Amarinder within him”.
Nevertheless, the call for ordering an inquiry into Singh’s Pakistani friend’s links with the ISI is the sharpest attack yet on the former Congress leader.
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.
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 erstwhile 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, Captain Amarinder Singh.
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 her 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.