Saturday, December 11, 2010

Aroosa Alam

Aroosa Alam started her career from The Pakistan Observer in 1986 ( then the first ever Evening paper from Islamabad), as the Diplomatic Correspondent. The Paper had to suspend its publication in 1987 when it ran a story against the then dictator General Zia ul Haq. The Editor in Chief Zahid Malik was arrested and put in prison. Ms Alam spearheaded a movement upholding the right to freedom of expression which led to the release of Mr Malik and resumption of the Paper. Alam worked simultaneously for the papers Urdu Magazine till she was approached in June 1998 by Mr Farhad Zaidi , Exective Editor of prestigious daily, The Muslim, to join his paper. Ms Alam joined Muslim as a senior reporter and on the very first day hit the lead and second lead story of the Paper. The Muslim was the first ever English daily from Islamabad. Aroosa Alam during her decade long association with the Muslim worked with well respected Editors like A B S Jaffery, Altaf Gauhar and Salam Ali.
Owing her belief, that the major part of country’s budget went to defence, without any accountability, she started focusing on defence matters. She worked extensively in the area of defence purchases. She wrote hundred of investigative reports on corruption and kickbacks in defence deals, which landed her in trouble on many occasions. Backed fully by her paper she went on to expose one shady deal after another, including the infamous Agosta Submarine deal with France. She wrote a series of investigative reports on this deal which resulted in the conviction of the Naval Chief, Admiral Mansoor ul Haq. The Admiral fled to the US after retirement but was successfully extradited and is still in jail. Aroosa Alam also wrote frequently on Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Nonproliferation and other political matters. During Nawaz Shariff’s first and second regimes, she focused sharply on economic issues.
In 1997 Aroosa Alam was elevated to the post of Chief reporter in The Daily Muslim making her the first ever female reporter in the region to head a 22 member reporting team. The Muslim was subjected to a financial squeeze by the second government of Nawaz Shariff in 1998. Alam rejoined Pakistan Observer as a Special Correspondent in 2000. She also became correspondent for a Japanese news agency, Kyodo, in 2002 after the US war on Afghanistan had started. She brought many breaking stories to the news agency which earned her a letter of commendation, something rare for Kyodo to do. She also joined the Dubai based news channel MBC Alarabia as The Senior Producer, Asia Bureau in 2002. Ms Alam was elected Senior Vice President of the National Press Club in Islamabad in May 2006. She also worked for the Freedom of the Press from the platform of the South Asia Free Media Association ( SAFMA ), for many years, as President of the Islamabad chapter. Ms Alam attended the prestigious National Defence College in 2005. Mother of two, Aroosa Alam is currently working for Alarabia and the Kyodo news agency. 

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