Hyderabad, Apr 4(ANI): Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik on Sunday said that his wedding to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza would take place as scheduled on April 15, and he was "emotionally forced" to do a "telephone Nikah" (wedding on telephone) with Ayesha Siddiqui, the Indian girl claiming to be his wife.
Addressing the media outside Sania's house in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Shoaib said: "I am here till April 15 for my marriage. We are getting married, Inshaallah, on April 15. We are preparing for the function, the atmosphere here is very good, are very happy."
"Sania is very happy and knows the truth," he added.
When asked for his views about Sania's tennis career after marriage, he said: "She will play tennis as long as she wants, my family's support is there. She will play for India."
Meanwhile, in a statement released by Shoaib, he claimed that he was "emotionally forced" into the 'nikahnama' by Ayesha, and said that the marriage was invalid, as she had cheated him.
Shoaib said that he had been talking to Ayesha since 2001, but never met the girl whose photographs were sent to him by the Siddiqui family purported to be that of Ayesha.
He further said that they became close after talking to each other over phone, but he had never met her personally.
"Ayesha wanted us to get married. She had been talking about it for some time, saying we would only meet at our shaadi (wedding). In 2002, she told me that people in Hyderabad were talking about our relationship, and it was putting her parents in an embarrassing position. She also told me she was feeling insecure. She wanted us to have a telephone Nikah to stop the talk. I knew that my parents wouldn't agree to a telephone Nikah. They wanted to celebrate my wedding, and so did I," Malik said in a press release.
"I wanted to marry Ayesha, but I was too young, I was only 20 years then. There was a lot of pressure on me from Ayesha. I called her from a friend's shop in June 2002. I got a nikahnama, signed it, thinking the girt I was marrying was the one in the photographs. I wasn't happy doing this, because I hadn't told my parents, and was emotionally forced to do it," he added.
Shoaib further claimed that he accidentally got to know that Ayesha was the same girl, whom he had met at the Siddiqui's Hyderabad residence as Ayesha's cousin Maha apa (elder sister).
"We accidentally ran into the truth about who Ayesha was. It was the worst moment of my life. No one enjoys being made a fool and that was exactly how I was made to look. It happened in August 2005. My brother-in-law got a photograph of a teacher in Saudi Arabia, who was telling people around her that she was married to me. His nephews were studying in that school," Shoaib said.
"I was aghast when he showed me the photograph of the teacher; the woman in it was the person I called Maha apa. I immediately confronted Maha apa. It was she who had been making a fool of me all these years, pretending to be the person whose pictures she had been sending me. I told her I didn't even want to speak to her again. At that point, I wondered if I could ever trust anyone again," he added.
Shoaib said that there could not be any divorce, "as there was no Nikah (wedding) to begin with".
They pressurized me into it with the intention to cheat. In Islam, there can only be a divorce, if the Nikah is valid. I was wrongly made to believe that the pictures Ayesha had sent me were of the girl I was marrying. I feel terrible about the mess, created by a family, that has caused great grief to my own people and the family of my bride to be," he added. (ANI)