A day after a young woman who claims to be the wife of Shoaib Malik made public the nikhanama to prove the marriage, the Pakistani cricketer on Saturday admitted that he signed the marriage document presuming that the bride was the girl whose photographs were sent to him.
Shoaib's lawyer Ramesh Gupta told some news channels in Delhi that the signature on the nikahnama was indeed that of Shoaib's. "Shoaib told me that he signed the nikahnama, believing the girl to be the one whose photographs were sent to him," he said.
The lawyer claimed that even if the marriage is considered valid, there would be no legal hurdle in Shoaib's marriage with Indian tennis star Sania Mirza later this month. "In his community, a man can marry more than one wife and without the consent of the first wife," he said.
Gupta said Shoaib, while signing the nikahnama, did not know that the girl he was marrying was Ayesha Siddiqui, the daughter of M A Siddiqui.
Shoaib and his family members had on Friday denied the marriage with Ayesha claiming he was cheated by her family by using the photographs of another girl.
The lawyer's rather startling revelation came on the day when Shoaib landed in Hyderabad to clear the air over his alleged first marriage. The Pakistani cricketer, who arrived in Hyderabad on Friday night from Dubai, remained closeted with Sania Mirza, her parents and other family members at their residence to chalk out his course of action.
According to sources close to Sania's family, Shoaib tried to clear the misunderstanding that might have cropped up after serious allegations made by the Siddiquis. They also discussed legal options available to sue the Siddiquis for cheating him or arrive at some out of court settlement with them to resolve the issue before the April 15 marriage.
Shoaib, who was spotted on the balcony of Sania's residence with her and her mother Naseema, did not come out nor did Sania and her parents even as a battery of media persons waited outside throughout the day.
According to sources, Sania's family has denied reports that the venue of the marriage would be shifted to Dubai to avoid any legal problems.
They maintained that the marriage would take place in Hyderabad on April 15 as scheduled.
Sania also tweeted on the controversy saying she and her family know the truth.
The Siddiquis remained tightlipped Saturday but their family friends said legal notices were served on Shoaib and his brother-in-law Imran Zafar for cheating and defamation.
Siddiqui's family friend Shams Babar said that with Shoaib's arrival in India, it had become easy for them to launch legal proceedings against him. They also hired a lawyer in Lahore to file a case against Shoaib.
The lawyer Farooq Hasan told Pakistani media that Ayesha's case was strong and Shoaib could be tried for cheating. He warned that if Shoaib and Sania travel to Pakistan after their marriage, they could be issued warrants.
After the marriage in Hyderabad, Sania and her family members plan to travel to Pakistan for a reception to be hosted by Shoaib.
Ayesha Siddiqui's parents Friday released to the media copies of the nikahnama. They claimed that the nikah over phone was performed in 2002.
They threatened to sue Shoaib for denying the marriage and demanded that he first divorce their daughter before marrying Sania.