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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Pakistan steps in to defend Shoaib

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  Karachi/Hyderabad, April 06, 2010
First Published: 01:24 IST(6/4/2010) | Last Updated: 01:43 IST(6/4/2010)

The Pakistani government batted for cricketer Shoaib Malik on a day that the Hyderabad Police seized his passport following the registration of a criminal case against him by Ayesha Siddiqui who has claimed to be his wife.

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“Shoaib Malik is our star and we are proud of him,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad, adding he had asked the Pakistani High Commissioner to India to collect information about the case registered against Malik in Hyderabad.

"We pray for Malik on his marriage decision,” Qureshi said about the cricketer’s decision to wed Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza.

<b1>Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said the Pakistani High Commission was waiting for details of the FIR lodged against Malik. The FIR against Malik charges him with cheating, harassment, and criminal intimidation.  He has also been charged with causing cruelty to his wife, which is a non-bailable offence mandating immediate arrest.

Expressing solidarity with his teammate, Pakistani cricket team captain Shahid Afridi told mediapersons that as the groom had gone to India, “he should come back with the bride”.
 
In another twist to the controversy, a relative of Ayesha Siddiqui claimed she had a physical relationship with Malik after marriage and suffered a miscarriage.

All the allegations and the filing of criminal charges against Malik seemed to have saddened the couple, prompting them to appear before the media together to clear the air. Admitting she was upset, Mirza said, “There is no reason for the marriage to be postponed. The marriage will take place on April 15. If there is any change, we will inform you.”
 
“I am standing here by my future husband to clear his name. There was never a marriage so there is no question of a divorce. We are well aware of what the truth is,” she said.
 
Malik emphasised that he would not leave India until he was cleared. “I am innocent. I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said, adding that he had no intention of leaving the country with a sullied image.

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