Chandigarh : Former Punjab Chief Minster Amarinder Singh put up a spirited defence of his friend, Pakistani defence journalist Aroosa Alam, after state Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa’s threat of investigating her for links with the Pakistan intelligence agency ISI. Posting more than 10 photographs of the journalist with Indian dignitaries including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the late Union minister Sushma Swaraj, and Union minister Ashwani Kumar on Facebook, he commented, “I suppose they are all also contacts of the ISI”.
“I am posting a series of pictures of Mrs Aroosa Alam with various dignitaries. I suppose they are all also contacts of the ISI. Those who say so should think before speaking. Unfortunately visas are banned at the moment between India and Pakistan. Otherwise I would invite her again. Incidentally I am going to be 80 in March and Mrs Alam 69 next year. Narrow minded ness seems to be order of the day,” read his Facebook post.
The Punjab home minister’s warning to have Aroosa Alam investigated was the Congress’s sharpest attack yet on Mr Singh.
The 79-year-old, a Congressman for over four decades and one of the party’s biggest mass leaders, had turned against the party after it backed Navjot Singh Sidhu in a bitter, year-long feud that ended with his resignation from the top post.
But the hostilities resumed with Mr Singh’s announcement of his intention to float a new party and have an alignment with the BJP and breakaway Akali factions ahead of next year’s state elections.
Aroosa Alam, who met Amarinder Singh during his Pakistan visit in 2004, is said to be a regular visitor to his home and had also attended his oath ceremony. Her name had even cropped up earlier when Mr Singh targeted Navjot Sidhu for attending Imran Khan’s oath ceremony in 2018 and was photographed hugging the Pakistani army chief.
Asked about widely shared videos and images of Aroosa Alam with Pakistani military officers, Mr Randhawa, in an interview with NDTV said he had asked the Punjab police chief to investigate the allegations.
“The Captain is saying that Punjab faces a threat from the ISI. So we will also probe the relation of Aroosa Alam with ISI,” the minister said. “Captain Amarinder Singh kept raising 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,” he had added.
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