Mirza is India's biggest tennis star. So her engagement to a Pakistani cricketer makes them basically the Tom and Gisele of the subcontinent. There's a small problem: he might have already legally married another woman — over the phone.
Try to follow along; this is complicated, but oh so juicy. Mirza and Shoaib Malik's engagement was announced last week, with a wedding to follow next week. But almost immediately, a woman named Ayesha Siddiqui came forward to say that she was married to Malik, and has been since 2002.
Here's what happened: Malik and Siddiqui were in, essentially, an arranged marriage, with the two never meeting each other until after their wedding day. How is that possible? Well, they had what's called a "telephone nikah" — they literally got married over the phone.
Malik, after days of denying everything, has changed his story. Now he says he was emotionally forced into the wedding, and he was never sent real photos of Siddiqui, but rather a younger, more attractive woman. Here's a photo purporting to be of Malik and the real Siddiqui:
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Malik says he was never married; Siddiqui's family produced a marriage certificate. Theologians argue a telephone wedding isn't valid; while a Muslim law organization says it is.
And then there's the small matter of a supposed pregnancy and miscarriage for Siddiqui.
Everything's a mess right now. Malik is suing Siddiqui. Siddiqui is suing Malik. The papers are having a field day. And poor Sania Mirza, the country's most famous non-cricket athlete, is about a week away from perhaps becoming someone's second wife.