If Sania Mirza hoped her engagement to Shoaib Malik was going to be controversy-free, then Wednesday would have been a rude wake-up call.
The tennis player’s fiance is a married man, was the claim being made by his ‘father-in-law’. MA Siddiqui, father of Malik’s alleged first wife Ayesha Siddiqui, told DNA that the cricketer is “still married to his daughter” who is his “first wife”.
According to Islamic law, a man is entitled to marry four women though a woman can opt for remarriage only after seeking divorce — conventional bigamy norms do not apply to an individual following Islam. “He (Malik) has not divorced my daughter as yet. She continues to have the status of his wife. This means, Sania (Mirza) will be Malik’s second wife,” Siddiqui said.
According to him, the alleged marriage between Ayesha and Malik was conducted over the phone in 2002 and the Siddiquis had even hosted a reception in Hyderabad where some of the Pakistan cricketers were present. “Imran Mirza (Sania’s father) should have taken enough care before finalising this match. He should have remembered that Malik has already cheated one Hyderabadi girl. Sania, too, is like my daughter and I wish her good luck. But I sincerely feel she too is being cheated,” he said.
But the Siddiquis do not have a single photograph of Malik and Ayesha together. “We have other evidence to prove the marriage. For instance, we have the nikah nama signed by Malik. This means he accepted the marriage,” he said.
Siddiqui is currently consulting advocates and Islamic scholars to proceed against Malik, both “according to the Islamic law and the law of the land”.
Malik has been denying the marriage though Siddiqui said the denial came only in 2008 while the marriage took place in 2002. “I remember in one of the cricket matches played in Hyderabad, Arun Lal (a cricketer-turned-commentator) congratulated Malik on his marriage and he thanked him. In fact, he said this (Hyderabad) is his in-laws’ place and he dedicated that award (Siddiqui does not remember what it is) to his wife,” he said.
Claiming that his family has gone through trauma, Siddiqui also said his daughter had attempted suicide twice. The 62-year old, too, has undergone a bypass surgery recently since he was not able to bear his daughter’s troubles. “She (Ayesha) is well-educated. She recently did her MBA and worked as a teacher in an international school in Saudi Arabia.”
Though the Islamic law gives women right on the mehr (alimony) agreed to by the bridegroom during the marriage, Siddiqui said there was no specific mehr decided upon in 2002. “I don’t want anything from Malik except a formal talaq. My daughter is not able to get married again since Malik is denying divorce,” he said.