A South Asian love story takes a twist

The controversy surrounding the pending marriage between an Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, which Saba Imtiaz covered for FP last week, has grown larger — and more absurd — in recent days. An Indian woman, Ayesha Siddiqui, has claimed Malik is already wedded to her, allegedly having betrothed her in ...

NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

The controversy surrounding the pending marriage between an Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, which Saba Imtiaz covered for FP last week, has grown larger -- and more absurd -- in recent days. An Indian woman, Ayesha Siddiqui, has claimed Malik is already wedded to her, allegedly having betrothed her in a phone marriage (nikah) in 2002. Malik and Mirza held a joint press conference Monday to clear up the confusion, but it seems the matter is not so black-and-white:

Over the weekend, Malik admitted in newspaper interviews he had developed a friendship over the Internet with Siddiqui in 2002 and then married her after they exchanged photographs.

But he said the ceremony was invalid because the photographs Siqqiqui had sent him were of someone else. "I was made to believe the girl in the photograph was the one I was speaking to," he said. "The truth is, I haven't, to this day, met the girl in the photographs Ayesha sent me."

The controversy surrounding the pending marriage between an Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, which Saba Imtiaz covered for FP last week, has grown larger — and more absurd — in recent days. An Indian woman, Ayesha Siddiqui, has claimed Malik is already wedded to her, allegedly having betrothed her in a phone marriage (nikah) in 2002. Malik and Mirza held a joint press conference Monday to clear up the confusion, but it seems the matter is not so black-and-white:

Over the weekend, Malik admitted in newspaper interviews he had developed a friendship over the Internet with Siddiqui in 2002 and then married her after they exchanged photographs.

But he said the ceremony was invalid because the photographs Siqqiqui had sent him were of someone else. "I was made to believe the girl in the photograph was the one I was speaking to," he said. "The truth is, I haven’t, to this day, met the girl in the photographs Ayesha sent me."

Malik is cooperating with police in an ongoing investigation. Siddiqui has claimed that Malik offered money to keep her quiet, and threatened to kill her if she went public with her story.

The proposed-union between Malik and Mirza has been relatively well received in Pakistan — and not so favorably in India.

Andrew Swift is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.

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