Sarabjit Pandher

CHANDIGARH: Aroosa Alam, a journalist from Pakistan, has denied “any marriage, engagement or affair” with the former Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh.

She, however, stressed that she and her family enjoyed a “very good friendship” with Captain Singh’s family. Addressing the Chandigarh Press Club on Wednesday, Ms. Alam, who heads the Islamabad chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), expressed agony at the “hue and cry” generated over her friendship with Captain Singh.

Ms. Alam said she first met Captain Singh at a SAFMA function in Jalandhar. She respected him for his vision and wisdom. She said he had become a household name in Pakistan for promoting “people-to-people” ties, an area where she was also working as she liked India.

“Grudge against me”

When her attention was drawn to the fact that the controversy arose after a Rawalpindi-based newspaper carried a report about her reported marriage with Captain Singh, she alleged that the paper’s owner nursed a grudge against her, as she participated in dislodging his hegemony at the Rawalpindi Press Club.

Ms. Alam said her sons, including the elder one who is 33, had been hosted by Captain Singh and his family. After some problems, she got a visa to India this month as she wanted to meet Captain Singh’s ailing mother.

Appeal to media

Ms. Alam appealed to the media to desist from tarnishing her character. While the situation in her country could create security problems for her, she said she had a family and social and professional life which could be hampered due to the “unnecessary controversy.”

Even as she was responding to queries at the press conference, the Imam of the Jama Masjid in Ludhiana issued a fatwa calling upon Muslims to enforce a “social boycott” of Ms. Alam.

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