Announcing that she would tie the knot with Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik on April 15 in Hyderabad, Sania Mirza said on Tuesday that she would retain her Indian passport and play for India in the 2012 Olympics.
Flying back to Hyderabad after a lightning visit to Delhi where she secured a visa from the Pakistan High Commission for going to Lahore for the reception, Sania declined to go into “uncomfortable” details about where she met Malik but said she knew him for the last seven years.
Sania made it clear that the couple would settle down in Dubai, which she called it a “home away from home” and just three hours from Hyderabad.
During the brief interaction with reporters, in the company of her father, at her residence, the 23-year-old said she would be lying if she did not expect the development to be a shock but both of them and their families were happy.
“We are getting married. We are not also making any political statement or anything on (Indo-Pak) relations. It's a simple matter. We are getting married. We are very, very happy and our families are very happy,” she said.
To a question, she said she would continue to hold Indian passport and was looking to play for India in the 2012 Olympics.
Meanwhile, there is excitement at the Hyderabad Colony in Karachi, as people discuss the arrival of Sania. Muhammad Ilyas, who runs a shop in the narrow lanes of this Karachi locality, said most people of the area trace their ancestry to Hyderabad Deccan. “We are proud of our heritage and we are proud of Sania,” he said.
Some people say they have already been sent invitations for the marriage ceremony. It is believed that the valima will take place in Lahore. “The Pakistani raja has won the heart of an Indian rani,” said a visibly happy Sialkot resident.