Life would be so boring if people did not have past or a spicy past. Aroosa Alam is a journalist from Pakistan who specializes in Defence matter but her last scoop was in 1997. She is also mother of a pop star Fakhre Alam. This is what Telegraph India has to tell about Aroosa:
“Aroosa had a way with men; and having lived in Islamabad, she had come to know quite a few men of power. So in the Eighties she launched on a career: she would write up stories she had learnt from her friends in the government, mostly army generals, and splash them in newspapers. She started in The Muslim, and later on graduated to Pakistan Observer.
One of her most sensational stories related to Brigadier Andrew Durcan of Gordon Highlanders, nicknamed Tartan Barrel on account of his girth, who was military attaché in the British high commission in Islamabad till two years ago. She revealed, without naming any names, that he was intimate with a woman in the Institute of Strategic Studies, and that they had been meeting in Islamabad and England. She was not very explicit about who was spying on whom. But the director of the Institute issued vehement denials, which gave the story even more publicity, and the British government recalled Durcan for having had an improper relationship.
Soon after that, the earthquake struck in October, 2005. Islamabad is a low-rise city built in the past forty years, so it was not damaged. But it had one high-rise building, Margala Tower. It collapsed, and with it went a flat Aroosa had bought there. Luckily, she was not living there, so she survived.
In 2005, Amarinder Singh went to Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal; his father, Maharaja Yudhvir Singh of Patiala, had gone there in 1932 and offered kar sewa at the Gurdwara’s lake. On the way, Amarinder Singh went to Islamabad, where he was entertained by Aroosa as chairperson of the local journalists’ association. She visited Patiala later in the year and was given some kind of a cup by Amarinder Singh at a reception in Patiala Club. Aroosa has a multiple-entry visa for India, thanks to her friends in the external affairs ministry, and makes frequent use of it.”
Aroosa Alam’s interview:
Whatever may be expectation, Aroosa’s story is not even 1/10th spicy as her mother. So let me narrate that instead. And do read in full because in the last there is the details about famous nephew of Aroosa who is an Indian Star.
Aroosa Alam’s Mother Akleem Akhtar:
From the outset, Akleem alias Rani was an independent spirit. She was a tomboy, fond of outdoor sports and hunting. And though she did not even complete her matric (tenth class), her sharp intelligence more than compensated for her lack of education.
At a tender age she was married to a police officer many times her senior. Though the marriage lasted for some time and she bore six children, Akleen was never happy. Her husband was a traditionalist and believed that a wife’s primary duty was to serve her husband. A woman as strong and independent as she found this hard to digest, and squabbles were common between the two. The sham their marriage was eventually reduced to, collapsed one day — right on Murree’s Mall Road.
One summer, when the family was vacationing in Murree, a burqa-clad Rani and her husband went for a stroll on the Mall. As was customary for him, he walked a step or two behind her so as to keep an eye on her. Suddenly there was a gust of wind — “a lovely breeze” says she, and quite spontaneously Rani lifted the naqab covering her face to allow the breeze to caress her cheeks.
Her husband immediately tapped her with his walking stick to reprimand her. Enraged and insulted, she threw caution to the wind and flung her naqab to the ground, and her abaya into a cracking fire. She then turned to face her husband with a defiant gleam in her eyes.
She explains her reaction in these words: “I just felt I had had enough. The anger and frustration had been building up inside me for many months, but that day, it just all came oozing out. I wanted to tear my husband’s muffler into bits, scratch his face, pull his hair out, and do all sorts of damage to him. The only thing that stopped me were the people on the Mall.” Though this incident marked the end of her marriage, the official divorce process (if there was one) took place later.
(Courtesy: Aysha Nasir’s article published on NewslineMagzine in 2001.)
Rani was her nick name or alias and General was the jovial title given to her by people and news media because of her being included in the inner circle of General Yahya Khan during his military rule between 1969 and 1971 in Pakistan. She was perhaps the most powerful woman in Pakistan in that period. Due to her close association with the ruling military dictator, she had considerable influence over him and frequently passed on her advice to him. A number of bureaucrats and politicians would approach her when they wanted Yahya’s attention. This is the account of her interaction with General Yahya Khan, the dictator of Pakistan:
After he (Yahya Khan) became the martial law adminstrator, Rani became a cornerstone in his life. Yahya’s weaknesses were drink and women and Rani masterfully catered to both. Among the women she introduced him to were film actress Taranna — film actress Andleeb’s mother — Madame Nur Jehan and Nael Kamal. She relates how Yahya’s fascination with Nur Jehan began.
“One night Agha Jani came to visit me and was somewhat agitated. The moment he entered, he inquired if I had heard the song “cheeche da chala” from the film Dhee Rani. I smiled and stated that I had no time to listen to songs. So, he called the military secretary and ordered him to have a copy of the song delivered to my house at once. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the MS had to specially have an audio shop opened up in order to obtain the album. But the command was obeyed and within an hour, Agha Jani was blissfully listening to the song.
“Observing him I smiled and stated that since he seemed to enjoy the song so immensely, I would bring the singer to his house on his birthday. This greatly pleased him and so the very next day, I took a flight to Lahore. In those days, a suite at the Intercontinental Hotel was permanently reserved for me and so from the airport, I went directly to the hotel. From there I called Nur Jehan and asked her to come and meet me. Till now, I had never been formally introduced to her; I just knew of her, as she knew of me. Well, Nur Jehan came, and we talked, and the next week she arrived in Islamabad to dance and sing for General Yahya Khan.”
After Yahya Khan:
This and other favours made many powerful men indebted to Akleen; there was nothing she could not get done. She called Yahya Khan Agha Jani. She attracted not only men who had an insatiable urge for gratification, but also men who wanted something out of powerful men. Even Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Ghulam Mustapha Kar frequented her drawing room.
It looks as if she did not give Bhutto what he wanted. When he became prime minister, he put her under house arrest, and had her telephone disconnected. So after the Seventies, the influence of Rani General declined.
Aroosa’s Indian nephew:
Adnan Sami, now citizen of India is a close relative of Aroosa. Sami’s mother Naureen was maternal niece of Aroosa’s Mother. In other words Grand mother of Sami was Rani’s sister.