x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Malik and Mirza to wed at bride's home on Friday

Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik is due to wed Sania Mirza, the Indian tennis star, in a small religious ceremony.

The Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik is due to wed Sania Mirza, the Indian tennis star, in a small religious ceremony at the bride's home on Friday, according to Malik's uncle, Ashiq Hussain. Malik, 28, said today he had divorced the woman he claims tricked him into a telephone marriage eight years ago, clearing the way for his wedding with Mirza, 23. The ceremony, or Nikah, on Friday will be followed by a large reception on April 15 in Hyderabad and then a traditional Islamic Walima dinner in Lahore, due to be hosted by the Malik family a week later. "Today everything has been decided, it will be a very big wedding," said Mr Hussain, speaking today from Abu Dhabi where he lives. "We are so happy for the couple," added Mr Hussain, whose eldest sister, Farooq Sultana is Malik's mother. The couple have already chosen their Dubai home, he confirmed, but he did not know the location. The wedding that should have represented a bridge of the bitter political divide between India and Pakistan has been mired by controversy after a woman from Hyderabad Ayesha Siddiqui said she was still married to Malik. The cricketer denied her claim but then admitted to a 2002 marriage, which he said did not stand because he thought he had married a different woman whose photographs had been sent to him. At a press conference in Hyderabad today it was formally announced that a "settlement has been reached" and a formal Muslim divorce agreement, prepared by a local Muslim Qazi, had been signed by Malik and Ms Siddiqui. The Siddiqui family have now withdrawn a police complaint they made against Malik over the wedding. * The National