Friends find Siddiqui family's tactics strange

Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik. AFP

“God knows why they are continuing with this. We find it strange. What are they looking for? Or are they playing a game?” said a businessman who is a close friend of the Siddiqui family as well as the Mirza family.

The businessman who spoke to Deccan Herald on condition of anonymity said the friends’ circle of the Siddiqui family is surprised at the family continuing to pursue the issue. “Discretion was called for because the girl’s (Ayesha’s) reputation is at stake..it will affect her life,” he said.

According to this source, it is a fact that the girl Shoaib fell for was not Ayesha. He is said to have met two girls in Jeddah and fallen for one of them. The three exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch. He even went out with the other girl in Jeddah. “A fact which we know is that Ayesha’s photo was not shown to Shoaib. He was under the impression that he was in touch with the other girl,” he said. Ayesha is also said to be both overweight and mentally challenged, according to the source. As to why the girls did what they did, he said that they were young and were having fun perhaps. “It took place eight years ago. They would have been like 16-17 years old,” he said.

Dr Huma Kidwai, an independent researcher, however, believes both sides are keeping the issue alive only for publicity. “I don’t see why this drama is being enacted. Why have they kept quiet for eight years? It is clear that neither side is helpless. If Shoaib believes he was cheated why does he not give divorce? If Ayesha feels victimised, then she has the option of ‘khula’ under Islamic law which states that if there is no contact or intimacy between the couple for 100 days then they can annul the marriage. Or she can file for divorce on grounds of having been deserted or abandoned. Both sides have the choice,” she pointed out.

She believes that being educated and belonging to an upper middle class family, Ayesha should make a decision whether she wants to live with mental abuse or not. “Why should she bear all the insults and humiliation? After all she is not living in Congo or where there is no rule of law or Constitution,” she said.

Women activists Deccan Herald spoke to agree it is a complex case and they are happy they don’t have to deal with it. Dr Rukmini Rao who heads Gramya that works amidst tribal women and children said if Ayesha is to be believed that she had undergone mental torture as Shoaib wanted her to lose weight, then under Indian law he could be arrested.

“If Shoaib was an ordinary citizen, if he was not a cricketing star and and not a Muslim, he would be behind bars.What he has done is absolutely illegal and unwarranted. Being an icon he should set an example,” she said.

Sania to face court on anthem

Adding to her marriage woes, a court in Muzaffarnagar will take up a complaint against tennis star Sania Mirza on Monday for allegedly insulting the national anthem during a function in the town two years ago.

Four separate complaints were filed against Sania by locals under Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act on November 8, 2008.

The remaining three complaints have also been set for hearing in on April 21, April 22 and May 18.

According to the complaints, Sania was allegedly not standing in attention when the national anthem was being played.

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