Shoaib Malik has threatened to sue an Indian family for alleging that he married their daughter in a ceremony conducted over the telephone five years ago.
In a hurriedly-arranged press conference in Lahore on Tuesday, Malik confirmed he had a relationship with the girl, Ayesha but denied a nikah (wedding ceremony) ever took place. "I liked Ayesha and I told my family about that," Malik said. "Elders of both families discussed the matter but the chapter was closed after they couldn't agree on certain things. I can never think of cheating on a girl and since it was something that disturbed me, I am here to clarify the matter."
Ayesha's father, Mohammed Ahmed Siddiqui, claimed last week that Malik married her on June 3, 2002 before all but abandoning her and should be punished for it. "There should be a fatwa (legal religious announcement) against him. My demand to him is to accept the marriage and divorce my daughter. She does not want to go back to a cheater like him. And we want our life back," Siddiqui told an Indian newspaper.
Siddiqui claims that Ayesha met Malik in 2002 during a cricket match in Dubai, where she was working as the vice-principal of an international school. "It was Malik who called me up and asked for my daughter's hand. Although I had objections to my daughter marrying a Pakistani boy, I agreed because both of them were keen," Siddiqui said.
Siddiqui said the couple married over the phone after a two-month courthship, with witnesses from both sides. "I have the nikah-nama (proof of marriage) issued by a judge in Sialkot," he said. Siddiqui, however, was not willing to produce that proof of marriage: "I will not give it now because my lawyer has asked me not to say anything about it as my case might not succeed."
Malik's camp, however, insist they were lied to over the identity of the girl and that the family is exploiting Malik's fame and status as Pakistan captain. "We are not denying the fact that Malik had an affair with a girl named Ayesha on the internet almost six years ago," Imran Zafar, Malik's brother-in-law, said.
"He had planned to marry her and Mohammad Siddiqui claimed she was his daughter. But the photographs they showed of Ayesha to Malik were not those of their real daughter. They had been cheating Malik."
He added that Malik will go to India soon to file a case for fraud against the Siddiqui family. "We cannot allow anybody to defame Malik like this," he said.