The families of the Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik and Ayesha Siddiqui, who claims to be his wife, geared up for a legal battle in a much-publicised marriage row which showed no immediate signs of a settlement
The beleaguered Shoaib Malik will not file an anticipatory bail application in the case lodged by Ayesha Siddiqui, who claims to be his wife, as both families on Tuesday geared up for a legal battle in a much-publicised marriage row which showed no immediate signs of a settlement.
The former Pakistan captain also has no intention of filing a defamation suit against Ayesha as of now and his brother-in-law Imran Malik made it clear that the marriage with Indian tennis star Sania Mirza will go ahead as scheduled on April 15.
Imran flew in to Delhi to chalk out the future course of action with his lawyer.
While there was no fresh legal hassles for Shoaib, who had come to Hyderabad to clear his name in the ongoing marriage row, the police are yet to hand over the Pakistani cricketer's passport which they had taken for verification following an FIR lodged by the Siddiqui family.
“We are not moving any anticipatory bail applications as Malik is cooperating with the police in the investigation. However, we may go for quashing of the FIR afterwards,” Imran told a press conference.
Shoaib's lawyer Ramesh Gupta said a representation has been submitted to the Commissioner of Police in Hyderabad and they are hopeful to get his passport back soon.
“Shoaib's passport is lying with the police and the commissioner told us that it has not been seized but they just need it for verification. Shoaib is any way here till his [April 15] marriage and we hope they would probably keep a photocopy and return the passport,” Mr. Gupta said.
In Hyderabad, the spotlight shifted to Ayesha with a police team visiting her residence for questioning.
Imran was bombarded with questions on Shoaib's alleged ‘Nikahnama,' their earlier visits to Hyderabad and future course of action.
Asked how Shoaib could sign a ‘Nikahnama,' invalid or not, without having seen the girl, Imran said, “Had Shoaib not made the blunder, this situation would not have arisen.”
Asked how they plan to go about the job of defending Shoaib, Imran said, “See, this is not such a complicated thing that you need a strategy. Some people are just trying to make it look so complicated.”
Imran insisted Ayesha, who is seeking divorce from Shoaib before the cricketer marries Sania, should come out of her self-imposed exile and not fight a war from behind the camera.
“She should come out. We don't even know the real girl who is making all these allegations,” he said.
Asked whether the proposed marriage of Shoaib with Sania would be the first one or the second, Imran said, “This is the first marriage of my brother-in-law. Mere existence of ‘Nikahnama' is not sufficient to establish the marriage.”
Citing Islamic law prevalent in Pakistan, he said, for a valid marriage, a group of people (majlis) should witness the nikah ceremony in which ‘qazi' (priest) ensures the identity of the bride and bridegroom.
Asked whether he himself had ever met Ayesha, he said, “I had visited their place at Hyderabad in 2004 and met Ayesha but I could not meet the girl whose photograph was e-mailed to my brother-in-law.”
As to why the family of Malik did not try to bring the bride back to Pakistan for such a long period, Imran said, “Ayesha, who posed herself as elder sister of bride, did not come forward for the purpose.”
Meanwhile, support continued to pour in for Shoaib from Pakistan.
The all-rounder, who is serving a one-year ban for indiscipline, has found support from not just fellow cricketers but also from leading hockey players like Rehan Butt, Sohail Abbasi, Shakeel Abbasi, Ahmed Alam who feel Shoaib is being victimised in India.
Ayesha claims Shoaib married her over phone before dumping her due to her weight problems, without a divorce.
But Shoaib maintains that the Ayesha who is making these allegations is not the one he committed himself to during an Internet affair that grew over telephone conversations.