December 26, 2007 1:13:12 am
Aroosa Alam is a 50-something journalist from Pakistan who writes primarily on matters pertaining to national security and foreign affairs. She is suddenly a “grave threat to India’s internal security”.
At least that is what the some members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly would like people to believe.
Earlier this week, she came from across the border to visit former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Since then there has been a flood of accusations, reports and headlines about her association with Singh.
In the Punjab Assembly, an Akali MLA went to the extent of blaming Amarinder of being intimate with an “ISI agent”. A section of the Akali leadership also demanded a discussion on this matter of “vital national interest”.
“Can’t two people be even friends? She is visiting me, to inquire about my ailing mother. Nothing better could have been expected of Akalis. The man who made these accusations is Virsa Singh Valotha. He is an illiterate man and a former terrorist who spent seven years in prison. But this is all sham as I know the whole show is being staged at the behest of the incumbent Chief Minister,” Amarinder Singh told The Indian Express.
Alam replied to the “rumours”, tongue firmly in cheek. “I had always thought Indian society and media were more liberal than Pakistan, but I think the opposite is true. The Pakistani media doesn’t delve into personal affairs of its politicians.” She called Amarinder Singh a good friend and wondered why the media was making such a big deal of it. “Shouldn’t people be happy that two individuals from India and Pakistan share such a bond?”
And then, as Singh sat beside her, added: “I wouldn’t mind marrying this man, but the laws of land don’t allow this.”
Alam admitted that she was in India along with her elder son, a 33-year-old barrister from London, when Punjab was going to the polls. Amarinder Singh had to face a barrage of allegations by the Akali leaders when he disappeared from the campaign scene for about a week to escort his friends from Pakistan to Ajmer.
Alam, who is also the president of South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), said she would clarify everything in a formal interaction with the media at the Chandigarh Press Club on December 26.
Alam was introduced to Singh when he toured Pakistan in 2004. Daughter of Akleen Akhtar, popularly known in Pakistan as Rani General, a socialite who had considerable influence on Pakistan polity of 1970s, Alam has two sons. Her younger son Fakhr-e-Alam is a rap musician and a popular television host in Pakistan. Singer Adnan Sami is her nephew.
Amarinder Singh said the rumours about their relationship are baseless. “These talks are rubbish, absurd and indicative of a sick mindset,” he said.
When the issue was raised in the Assembly, his party did not come to the rescue of the former Chief Minister. Its leader in the House, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, merely stated that, “It is inappropriate to talk about these things because the person concerned isn’t present here.” The muted response from Congress, though, allowed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had maintained a silence on the issue, to take a dig at the party: “The very mention of her name seems to bring a smile on Congress leaders’ faces.”
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