Friday, April 2, 2010
Surprise has given way to jubilation and Pakistan is now eagerly looking forward to its former cricket captain Shoaib Malik's marriage with Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza next month.
Fans, friends and relatives of Malik gathered outside his ancestral home in Sialkot and his residence in Lahore yesterday to celebrate after Sania confirmed she was getting married to the all-rounder on April 15.
"It is amazing to see how happy the people are with this alliance. They were outside our homes today in Sialkot and Lahore dancing, beating drums, distributing sweets and celebrating enthusiastically," Imran Malik, Shoaib's brother-in-law told reporters.
He made it clear that neither Shoaib nor Sania wanted their union to be looked at as a political statement by the media or politicians.
"They are just happy together and they are eager to get married soon," Imran said.
Saeed Ajmal, a close friend of Shoaib who is attending the Pakistan training camp in Lahore, hoped that Sania would bring him lot of luck in his friend's personal and professional life.
"I am happy that he is settling down. It makes no difference to us if Sania is an Indian," he said.
Malik is presently serving a one-year ban but has been permitted to go and play in the Bangladesh's domestic Twenty20 league being held in Sharjah where he is representing a Chittagong club.
He is set to lodge an appeal against his ban and fine of Rs two million once he returns from Sharjah.
The news of the marriage is being covered prominently and enthusiastically in the Pakistan media which has given the story a lot of hype.
All leading newspapers carried the story on their front or back pages while the channels have been giving lot of air time to any developments related to the impending marriage.
Sania's media talk in Hyderabad was telecast live by most Pakistani television channels highlighting the immense interest in the marriage.
Residents of the well-known Hyderabad colony in Karachi were also overjoyed with the union.
"It is great news and we just hope their marriage is a big success as it will bring the people of the two countries closer," Azeem, a resident of the colony said.