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Central & South Asia
Indian and Pakistani stars marry
Sport stars Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik get married three days before initial date.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2010 04:07 GMT
Malik and Mirza pose with her relatives during the wedding ceremony at a hotel in Hyderabad [Reuters]

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik after their families brought forward the date of the ceremony by three days.

The wedding took place at a luxury hotel in Mirza's hometown of Hyderabad in southern India, a spokeswoman for the family said on Monday.

"Just now the Nikah [Muslim marriage ceremony] has been performed. Please pray for the couple," the spokeswoman told reporters after the private event.

Sania Mirza was dressed in a traditional red sari, which her mother wore at her own wedding 25 years ago, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

'Media masala'

Garima Thakkar, the head of entertainment at India's Zoom TV, told Al Jazeera: "Sania Mirza is a page three celebrity here in India and Shoaib Malik is a very well-known cricketer. They are big stars in their own professions.

"The media here is going berserk after this wedding because it is providing a lot of photos for the 24-hour media monster and we need a lot of masala.

"Both of them are seemingly on a down-slide in their careers and hoping to comeback.

"Not many people in India are happy about this alliance. There was a big issue about Sania playing for India after her marriage, because the Pakistani board said that they wanted her to play for them, though she refused and Shoaib understood.

"There is a little Bollywood angle to this too, with filmmakers wanting to make films of her life now."

The union of two of South Asia's best known sports personalities came amid a controversy caused by another Indian woman, Ayesha Siddique, who claimed she was already married to Malik.

Last week, Muslim elders brokered a divorce between the pair, clearing the way for the wedding.

Both Mirza and Malik will now be based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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