Mega stars of Pakistan and India Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza are uniting in cross-border matrimonial union, as they are expected to tie the nuptial knot on April 15 in Hyderabad.
Sania will come to Pakistan after wedding, where Valima reception will be organized.
According to sources, both the stars started their acquaintance nearly six months ago which soon turned into romance. This was exactly the time when Jang Group of Pakistan and India’s Time of India launched Aman Ki Asha.
The story regarding the wedding of the two stars in cricket and tennis surfarced whenthe arrangements for the Pak-India friendship and musha’ira were in the last phase.
Talking to the Jang correspondent from Dubai, Shoaib confirmed the news.
According to an Indian newspaper, Shoaib confirmed the news on his Twitter account late Monday night. He writes: “The news of me marrying Sania is true. Inshallah, will get married in April.”
Yes, the news is confirmed. Shoaib will be marrying Sania, most likely some time in the first week of April,” Imran Zafar, Malik’s brother-in-law, told the newspaper from Lahore.
“Ceremonies will be held both in India and Pakistan. There will be a reception in Lahore in the second or third week of April,” he said.
Sania and Malik met in Dubai recently and this was followed by the two families giving them the approval to get married.
The two families confirmed last night that the couple would be married next month after meeting in February while Ms Mirza was playing in a tournament in Dubai.
Ms Mirza's father, Imran, said that the couple would be based in Dubai, where Mr Malik has residency.
This is a unique case where the husband and wife will represent their respective countries in sport," another Indian newspaper quoted Mr Mirza as saying.
Ms Mirza's mother, Nasima, was quoted as saying: "Marriages are made in heaven. As parents, we are delighted with her choice."
The announcement has caused a stir in India and Pakistan as cross-border marriages – especially unarranged ones – are rare between the South Asian neighbours which have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
It is all the more sensational as Malik, 28, and Mirza, 23, are among the most popular sporting and youth icons in the two countries, and have both been embroiled in a series of personal and professional controversies.
Mirza – currently ranked 27th in the world – broke off her engagement to Mohammed Sohrab, a childhood friend, in January, and has been criticised in the past for wearing revealing outfits on court, disrespecting the Indian flag, and advocating safe sex.
In 2008, she withdrew from the Bangalore Open tennis tournament, saying she would no longer play in India to avoid generating further controversy.
Malik, meanwhile, has been involved in a long-running marriage dispute with another Indian women, Ayesha Siddiqui, whom he also met in Dubai and Sayali Bhagat, an Indian actress.
Siddiqui, who was working in the Gulf state as a teacher, has said that she met Malik in a hotel there in 2000 when he returned the keys she had accidentally left in a restaurant.
Reports that they had married started circulating when her family, who are from the Indian city of Hyderabad, hosted a lavish reception for the Pakistan team when it toured India in 2005.
In 2008, however, Malik said he had split with Siddiqui because their families could not agree on the terms of their marriage.
Her father, Mohammad Ahmed Siddiqui, then announced that Malik had married his daughter in 2002 over the telephone, because she could not get a Pakistani visa.
Although the groom had been in Pakistan and the bride in India, he said that the ceremony had been conducted by an Islamic cleric in front of several witnesses and therefore complied with Sharia.
"Shoaib Malik is rejecting my daughter Ayesha as she has become fat," Mr Siddiqui said at the time, threatening legal action. He was not immediately available for comment this morning.
Malik is also facing controversy on the sporting front, as he has been banned for one year by the Pakistan Cricket Board for poor performance and indiscipline during Pakistan's recent tour of Australia.
He has appealed against the ban.
Will Shoaib-Sania wedding bring about any significant development in Aman ki Asha in progress between the two nations?