Ready to join probe by Indian agencies on allegations of links with ISI: Pak journalist Aroosa Alam
Lahore, Oct 26: Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam said on Tuesday that she is ready to join any investigation by Indian agencies for her alleged links with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as she described the allegations against her as “outrageous and utterly disappointing.”
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who also holds the home portfolio in the state Cabinet, last week said that a probe would be carried out to ascertain whether Alam has links with the notorious Pakistani spy agency.
"I am ready to cooperate with the central agencies of India if they are opening any probe on the issue. India can even engage third-country investigators to probe the baseless propaganda against me,” Alam told PTI.
"Some 16 years ago when I was first refused an Indian visa over some reasons, the Indian government had conducted such an investigation and subsequently a visa was issued to me,” she said, adding that she last visited India in November and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is still her good friend.
"Despite this controversy Capt sahib is still my good friend,” 67-year-old journalist said. She mocked what kind of 'Raaz (secret)’ the ISI had through her.
“The allegations are simply outrageous and utterly disappointing,” she fumed. On Randhawa’s statement that a probe would be carried out to ascertain whether she has links with the ISI, Alam alleged: “Linking me with the ISI can be a brainchild of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s chief strategist (Mohd) Mustafa. He might have advised Sidhu to play an ISI card after badly losing his bid to become the chief minister. The ISI card sells well in India.”
She also questioned the jurisdiction of Randhawa to claim that he would probe her links with the ISI. “Randhawa does not know his jurisdiction. However, if he wants to investigate me, he is most welcome,” she said.
Randhawa had claimed that Amarinder Singh has been friends with Alam for years, she stayed in India for many years and her visa was extended by the Centre from time to time.
"Aroosa was in India for four-and-a-half years and her visa was also extended from time to time. Why did Delhi not cancel her visa? Why did she leave India when we went against Amarinder Singh?" he recently asked, referring to developments in the Punjab Congress last month.
Amarinder Singh had hit back at the Congress leader, saying Randhawa is now resorting to personal attacks.
"What I'm worried about @Sukhjinder_INC is that instead of focusing on maintaining law and order at a time when terror threat is high and festivals are around the corner, you've put @DGP Punjab Police on a baseless investigation at the cost of Punjab's safety," he said.
Alam, who remained a member of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) and vice-president of National Press Club (Islamabad), further said she is no longer active in journalism.
"Since Capt Amarinder Singh intends to form his own party and may seek alliance with BJP, there has been mourning in the ranks of Congress, which is a deeply divided house. Sidhu wanted to be the chief minister and he had told the party leadership not to make Randhawa chief minister,” she claimed.
"Randhawa knows this and he has a grudge against Sidhu. And here comes a dark horse Charanjit Singh Channi who was given the reins of Punjab which badly hurt Sidhu,” said Alam, who is the mother of known TV host Fakhar-e-Alam who is currently hosting a programme regarding Men’s T-20 ICC Cricket World Cup in Dubai on Ten’s Sports.
Chiding Mustafa for embroiling her in this controversy, she said his wife Razia who had three ministries in the previous government now has hardly any in the incumbent set up. "After the setback, Sidhu has literally disappeared on the political map," she claimed.