Shoaib's family arrives for wedding with Sania

Shoaib's family arrives for wedding with Sania

Wedding bells: Pakistani guests being treated to Hyderabadi cuisine

Shoaib's family arrives for wedding with Sania

Looking through: A journalist peeps through the gate of Sania Mirza in Hyderabad. Sania and Shoaib remained indoors on Thursday while family members went shopping. AFP

Shoaib is set to marry Sania on April 15 after the end of a bitter row with Ayesha, who finally got a divorce from the Pakistani all-rounder despite his initial denials of ever marrying her.

Among those who flew into the city late Wednesday night were Shoaib’s mother Sultana Farooq, brother Adil Malik, sisters Shazia Imran and Sadaf Imran, nephew Mamoon Imran and niece Zainab Imran.

The mood of tension and anxiety prevailing at Sania’s house at Jubilee Hills for the last few days turned into that of celebration on Thursday as the arrival of relatives and friends began.

The two families no longer fear Shoaib’s arrest, the visits of police officials to the house for questioning and the wild accusations from Ayesha’s family, which had dampened the celebrations.

 Preparations began with the Pakistani guests being treated to biryani and other lip-smacking Hyderabadi dishes.

As Sania’s family feared postponement of the marriage, scheduled for April 15, it was only on Thursday that dozens of workers were seen bringing basmati rice, mutton and other provisions to the house.

The family members were also seen going on a shopping spree. While Sania’s wedding dress is being designed in Delhi, the family would buy the other bridal wear from Hyderabad.

Shoaib and Sania preferred to remain indoors ever since Muslim community leaders on Wednesday announced the former Pakistani skipper’s divorce with Ayesha.

Shoaib’s brother-in-law Zafar Imran, who had arrived in Delhi on Tuesday to consult lawyers, is likely to arrive here anytime. More relatives and friends of the bridegroom are also expected to arrive here from Pakistan.

Sania’s family has already distributed invitation cards for the wedding. About 500 guests have been invited to the reception to be held at Taj Krishna hotel.

Interestingly, it was at the same hotel that Sania was engaged to her childhood friend Sohrab Mirza on July 10 last year amid much fanfare. The tennis ace called off the engagement on January 28 this year citing “incompatibility”.

It was on March 29 that the Pakistani media reported that Shoaib would be marrying Sania, who confirmed this the next day. Shoaib and his kin are expected to return to Pakistan two days after the wedding.