Suspense continues to stalk the wedding of Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik and Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza.
After over a week's drama, which ended in Shoaib divorcing Ayesha Siddiqui, the Hyderabad girl he denied ever marrying, Sania's family sprung a surprise by advancing the nikaah (marriage ceremony) to Friday evening, though no official announcement was made.
However, it is now learnt that the nikaah will not take place this evening, after all. The Mirzas say it wasn't scheduled for the day.
First confirmation of the nikaah being held on Friday evening came from the area Qazi, Azmatullah Jafri, who said he would be solemnizing the marriage at Sania's residence at 1900 IST.
"Sania's parents approached me to perform the nikaah and I will be doing it," he had said.
Jafri, an acquaintance of the Mirza family who had overseen the divorce proceedings of Shoaib and Ayesha three days ago, added, "In Shoaib's marriage document it will be described as his second marriage."
Earlier, the Qazi's office had expressed inability to perform the nikaah on grounds that Shoaib was not in possession of his passport.
"It is a must for any foreigner to produce his passport at the time of a wedding ceremony," an official of the state Waqf Board said.
Shoaib's passport was taken away by the Hyderabad police after Ayesha lodged a complaint, accusing him of cheating and intimidation.
But despite the divorce settlement and Ayeha withdrawing the complaint, the Hyderabad police hasn't returned the passport. They say it will take time to complete legal formalities in the case.
Mohammed Najmuddin Hussain, the head Qazi of Hyderabad, however, clarified that the nikaah can be performed on condition that the marriage certificate will be handed over to the newly-wed couple only after Shoaib produces the passport and hands over a copy of it to the Qazi later.
In accordance with Islamic tradition, the Qazi will recite Quranic verses and fill a prescribed forms with details of the bride and groom before declaring them husband and wife in the presence of two witnesses and the girl's father. The marriage certificate will include details like whether it is the groom's first or second marriage and how much mehr (alimony) will be paid to the first wife.
Meanwhile, though Hyderabad is agog with talk of the wedding, the Mirza family continues to remain mum. There was hectic activity at their residence and new barricades have been put up to keep the media and intruders away.
Sources said a handful of close relatives and friends are invited to the nikaah ceremony, which will be followed by a reception on April 15 at Hotel Taj Krishna, in Hyderabad, for which around 800 invitation cards have been sent out.