Captain vs Punjab Minister After "Pak Friend Has ISI Links" Allegations

A Twitter war broke out after Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said a Pakistani friend of Amarinder Singh should be probed for alleged links with ISI

Captain vs Punjab Minister After 'Pak Friend Has ISI Links' Allegations

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was a minister in Captain Amarinder Singh's cabinet. File

Chandigarh:

Punjab is in safe hands under the Charanjit Singh Channi government, state home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said on Friday as he sparred with former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over his Pakistani friend's alleged ISI links. Mr Randhawa also targeted the former Chief Minister over his failure to fulfill the 2017 poll promises.

The war of tweets between the former Chief Minister and the current home minister broke out after the latter said a Pakistani journalist known to be Mr Singh's friend should be investigated for alleged links with the ISI.

"The Captain is saying that Punjab faces a threat from the ISI. So we will also probe the relation of Aroosa Alam with ISI," Mr Randhawa said when asked about visuals of the defence journalist with Pakistani military officers.

Hitting back at the "personal attacks", Mr Singh said Aroosa Alam had been coming to India for 16 years with clearances from the centre and questioned Mr Randhawa if he is alleging that NDA and previous UPA governments connived with ISI.

"You were a minister in my cabinet @Sukhjinder_INC. Never heard you complain about Aroosa Alam. And she'd been coming for 16 years with due GoI clearances. Or are you alleging that both NDA and @INCIndia led UPA govts in this period connived with Pak ISI?': @capt_amarinder," Raveen Thukral, media advisor to the former Chief Minister, tweeted.

Mr Thukral also tweeted a picture of Ms Alam with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Mr Singh asked what happened to the "tall promises" by the current government on drugs cases and said, "Punjab is still waiting for your promised action".

The exit of Mr Singh as Chief Minister in the face of bitter infighting in the Punjab Congress unit has now given way to a blame game, with Mr Singh and the current dispensation shifting blame on failures to fulfill poll promises. Mr Singh has said he will launch his own outfit and warmed up to the BJP, with a political understanding likely in the coming polls.

"...you don't worry about law and order situation as we have not outsourced the Punjab govt to 'anyone'," Mr Randhawa tweeted, taking a swipe at the former Chief Minister. He also said the former Chief Minister failed to take probes into sacrilege cases and drug cases to their logical conclusion.

Questioning why he is "perturbed" on the issue of a possible probe against Aroosa Alam, he asked who sponsored her visa.

Mr Singh responded by saying that it was he who sponsored Ms Alam's visa and that such requests are approved only after clearance from security agencies.

The former Chief Minister added that he is worried that instead of focusing on law and order situation amid terror threats, Punjab government has deployed police on a "baseless investigation at the cost of Punjab's safety".

Aroosa Alam's name cropped up earlier too when Mr Singh targeted Congress leader and arch rival Navjot Singh Sidhu for attending Imran Khan's swearing-in ceremony in 2018 and hugging the Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The journalist, who met Amarinder Singh during his Pakistan visit in 2004, is reportedly a regular visitor to his home.

.