GORDIAN MARRIAGE EPISODE OF SHOAIB-SANIA
Apr 12 - 18, 2010
It has not happened first time and it may happen again. A celebrity was caught in the web of relations with woman for right or wrong reasons attracting huge media attention. From the heir to the British throne Prince Edward who preferred to marry a commoner whom he loved and left British throne to more recently USA president Bill Clinton and many prominent icons across the social spectrum, all suffered the insult of being dragged into the media mostly for sensational and negative reasons.
Some like Clinton survived when his wife and the committee investigating Mona Lewinsky/Clinton affair finally found him not guilty, though the besieged president admitted that "he did no have sex with that woman" giving the hint that he was involved with the White House intern in some other kind of intimate relationship not connected with hard core sex.
But some like former squash icon Geoff Hunt of Australia suffered immeasurably when he lost his divorce case and with it a big fortune that was taken from him to settle the case.
In Pakistan its own icon Jansher Khan twice hogged negative limelight involving women once in Great Britain and second time in Kula Lumpur where a women claimed that record holding world champion had married her. She initiated legal action that barred Jansher Khan from visiting Malaysia.
A number of internationally reputed cricketers, footballers, movie idols, politicians and senior soldiers were all involved in some way or the other with women before they managed to drag themselves out of the mess.
However this is first time that it has happened in the sub continent that two arch rival neighbors were involved in the marriage controversy that erupted when Pakistan's ex test skipper Shoaib Malik officially announced marrying Indian tennis Icon Sania Mirza.
Things would have gone smoothly and April 15 set as marriage date would have been an extraordinary occasion which would have given some warmth to the ice cold relations between two countries. However entry of third character Ayesha Siddiqui supported by her parents announced she was Pakistanis first official wife which unleashed media firestorm.
Indian media took a negative stance of the whole episode and even a religious twist was given to the news story.
After five days hectic media roller coaster across the border, the Muslim community in India suddenly realized that an ordinary marriage controversy was smearing the good name of religion and making Indian Muslim community a laughing stock by some section of biased media.
Muslim elders swung into action to control the damage and forced the parties Shoaib Malik and the Siddiqui's to reach compromise.
Shoaib Malik who had all along been denying marrying Ayesha Siddiqui agreed to divorce Ayesha who had also scaled down from her earlier stand agreed for settling the issue.
Good sense prevailed on both the sides and finally the curtain came down on an episode which was about to spin out of control and became kind of second Indian 26/11.
Pakistani government suddenly realized that a private affair may go out of control when police in Hyderabad Deccan seized Shoaib Malik's passport after family of Ayesha Siddiqui filed an FIR against the visiting Pakistani.
The law swung into action and police started quizzing Shoaib and advised him not to leave the city after they took over his passport.
When the episode reached its peak, Pakistan government said it will extend all assistance to former cricket captain Shoaib Malik, who was allegedly slapped with cheating and harassment charges in India by Ayesha Siddiqui who claims to be his wife.
The Pakistani government said it was in touch with Indian authorities in connection with the police complaint filed against Shoaib Malik by the Indian woman.
Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told the media that the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was in contact with Indian authorities and had asked them to share information on the FIR filed against Malik in Hyderabad.
"Pakistani authorities have to wait till all the details of the FIR are with us," Basit said.
"We will give Shoaib Malik all the assistance he requires. We will proceed in the best interests of Shoaib Malik," Basit said.
Hyderabad Police on Monday questioned Malik and had taken away his passport. If one looks back in recent Pakistan sports history one comes across name like Pakistan's first test skipper Abdul Hafeez Kardar, the lion hearted test batsman Saeed Ahmed, squash star Jahangir Khan all had their problems related with marriage.
Pakistan test batsman Mohsin Hasan Khan married a well known Indian actress and remained in India. But the marriage did no last long and the two parted ways in a dignified manner.
International sports stars also had their own quota of headaches. Some English and Australian test cricketers were also seen in negative light in the media when they had their personal marriage problem.
World squash star Geoff Hunt of Australia lost a divorce case against his wife and was stripped of his fortune which was taken to settle the divorce case.
The latest episode of world golf star Tiger Woods sent media berserk while reporting his temporary exit from the sport due to his steamy relations with a number of women.
So when facts about Shoaib's marriage came to light not much was expected but the 24 hour media channel in Pakistan and India pounced upon the opportunity and made a mountain of molehill.
Covering in details both the rumours and facts, the regional media and channels covered the incident each minute of the time though there was not news in every things shown or spoken on the screen.
The yellow press which thrive on sensationalism and gossip across the birder had hey day. Giving sensational headlines they catered to the insatiable desire of some who wanted every detail even if it was mere a rumor.
Sports thrive on controversies both on and off the field but Pakistan cricket had more controversies than usually accepted.
The first controversy erupted in mid seventies when the then BCCP banned Saeed Ahmed from test for using abusive language against them chief selector Abdul Hafeez Kardar.
The biggest controversy however occurred during ZA Bhutto era. Abdul Hafeez Kardar, the biggest name in national cricket was insulted when the ten education minister Abdul Hafeez Pirzada rejected selection made by Kardar and named a new team management and team for the Australian tour. Kardar who led Pakistan to wins against England, India and the West Indies in the initial years after getting test status left the sport which he had nurtured in initial years of independence.
Not only senior cricketers but once even an under 19 national player was involved in harassing a girl in New Zealand and the player was immediately sent home saving the honor of the touring Pakistani youngsters.
More Pakistani senior test players were involved in financial scams than in marriage controversies.
Former Pakistan test skipper Wasim Akram was allegedly involved in match fixing allegations which resulted in some people who lost money in cricket. His involvement in Pakistan's defeat at the hands of minnow Bangladesh in world cup in England is said to be part of ugly match fixing chapters of Pakistan cricket.
He along with Waqar Younis were also involved in smoking of marijuana with a buxom tourists on the beach during a tour of the West Indies. Luckily the illegal possession of drug charges were resolved before those could reach the notice of the police.
Former Pakistan test team captain Salim Malik was banned from cricket for life on charges of match fixing. He was also allegedly involved in cooperative housing society financial scam, his relation test star Ejaz Ahmed was also found guilty of involved in an alleged fraud.
No other national cricket team was involved in on-field goof-ups more than Pakistan; the episode of the Oval test which was awarded to host after Pakistan refused to take up the field, the ball biting controversy of Shahid Afridi, the ball tampering charges against Dr Wasim Akram and Dr Waqar Younus, the Faisalabad test incident Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana ignorant of the meaning of the word cheating caused the finger wagging incident in which touring English captain Mike Gatting took an offensive to the expression and the test which was in the pocket of Pakistan ended in a draw.
Very recently Pakistan Cricket Board used its powers to exclude from national selection both Younus Khan and Muhammad Yousuf alleging their presence in the team would be bad for the team.
Shahid Afridi was fined three million rupees for twice biting the ball in full view of 28TV cameras in an ODI in Sydney attracting charges of ball tempering.
Brothers Kamran and Umer Akmal were also fined two million rupees each for taking to media and feigning injuries. Shoaib Malik and Rana Naveedul Hasan were banned for one year from international cricket for unspecified charges and also fined.