Sunanda Pushkar's death will "haunt me for ages", says Pakistani journalist at centre of Tharoor storm

Ms Mehr Tarar, the Pakistani journalist who is in the eye of the storm following the sudden death of Ms Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, has said the incident has left her "shattered". -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF MEHR TARAR
Ms Mehr Tarar, the Pakistani journalist who is in the eye of the storm following the sudden death of Ms Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, has said the incident has left her "shattered". -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF MEHR TARAR

The Pakistani journalist who is in the eye of the storm following the sudden death of Ms Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, has said the incident has left her "shattered".

Expressing her anguish over the issue, Ms Mehr Tarar said the incident will "haunt me for ages", Zee News reported.

Last week, Ms Sunanda, 52, had unleashed a flurry of messages on Twitter, accusing Ms Tarar of stalking Mr Tharoor, 57.

Ms Tarar, 45, refuted the allegations and a spat broke out over the microblogging site.

The row took a tragic turn when Ms Pushkar was found dead in a hotel room two days later. The cause of her death has not been confirmed.

Speaking to an international newspaper, Ms Tarar denied any romantic links between her and Mr Tharoor, saying that they were just "virtual" friends on Twitter and discussed life, politics and books in mail exchanges.

Ms Tarar said after news of Ms Pushkar's death broke: "I would rather have her abuse me for the next 10 years than to see her harm herself...", according to Zee News.

The Lahore-based journalist said what might have enraged Ms Pushkar was a profile written by her on Mr Tharoor, who is Junior Minister for Human Resource Development. Her article heaped praises on him, including his "mesmerising voice" and handsome looks like Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

"A woman I never met attacked me on Twitter, a fight began, and then she died. I'm shattered," she was reported as saying.

Ms Tarar said she met Mr Tharoor twice - once in India in April and then in Dubai in June last year.

"There were a lot of people present there," she told Pakistani news channel Geo Tez, according to Times of India.

"When I wrote an article that mentioned him, his wife probably did not like that another woman whom she did not know praised him so much. So she asked him to stop talking to me. Despite that he (Tharoor) kept following me on Twitter after which she said stop following her (Tarar) on Twitter."

Mr Tharoor is known for his prolific presence on Twitter and is said to have 2 million followers.

According to an Indian website, Ms Tarar had once hinted at the presence of a "special person" in her life without naming him.

"...here's to that special one (you know who you are!) who makes Twitter an experience to cherish...forever. Thank you...," she wrote in her newspaper column, My Corner, in October 2013, Hindustan Times reported.

Ms Tarar had also said she kept in touch with Mr Tharoor because she wanted to write a book on Kerala, Mr Tharoor's hometown.

"I used to send him my articles and he used to send me his comments, etc. But that was all," she said, according to Hindustan Times.

She added that Mr Tharoor had severed all communications with her after Ms Pushkar warned him not to maintain contact with her.

"Mr Tharoor loved his wife like a romantic saga hero. Nothing meant more to him than making her happy," she was reported as saying, according to Zee News.

The single mother of a 13-year-old boy said she was a "victim of conspiracy".

"Everything has happened to me. A Pakistani woman sitting here cannot spoil their marriage," she said.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Ms Tarar is said to be separated from her husband, a rich businessman based in Bahrain.

She used to work for a Pakistani daily, but quit recently, Hindustan Times reported. It is reported that she now works with the group's business channel.

Another Lahore-based journalist, who has worked with Ms Tarar, describes her as "competitive".