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Shoaib's visa extended for a year

April 24, 2010 10:42 IST

Newly-wed sports couple Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik met Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, following which the Pakistani cricketer was granted one-year visa extension.

During the brief meeting, the couple requested the High Commissioner to extend Shoaib's visa, which was valid till June 24, officials in Islamabad said.

Shoaib's visa was later granted an extension of one year and includes cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Sania's mother Naseema Mirza accompanied the couple to the Indian mission.

During the meeting Sabharwal wished them a "long and happy married life", Indian High Commission spokesman Siddharth Zutshi said.

The Indian envoy, however, is not hosting any reception for the couple, he added.

The high-profile couple arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to a frenzied reception, with the federal government according them the status of "state guests".

After flying into the port city of Karachi from Mumbai following their wedding on April 12, the couple arrived in the federal capital on Thursday evening.

The couple and their entourage were received by senior police and civil officials at Benazir Bhutto airport in Rawalpindi and driven to Serena Hotel in Islamabad.

Coverage of Sania and Shoaib's every move dominated news bulletins on TV channels though Pakistan is grappling with a crippling energy crisis that has sparked protests across the country.

Footage on television showed Sania, wearing a green salwar and red kurta, holding the hand of Shoaib, clad in a green T-shirt and jeans, as they emerged from the aircraft at the Rawalpindi airport.

While airing reports on the couple, Geo News channel ran a ticker that read: "Welcome Sania-Shoaib".

The security arrangements put in place for the couple's drive from the airport in Rawalpindi to Islamabad were akin to those for VVIPs like the prime minister and president, and outsiders were barred from the Serena by the hotel's management.