Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik tied the knot on Monday, ending days of controversy and drama surrounding their high-profile wedding that took place three days ahead of the original schedule.
The 23-year-old Sania and 28-year-old Shoaib had originally planned to marry on April 15, but there was speculation that the date would be advanced after the tumultuous build-up.
"The nikaah is now completed. Please pray for the couple," Sania's spokesperson, Rucha Nayak, said in Hyderabad.
Decked in a red saree, which her mother Nasima wore for her nikaah 25 years ago, Sania thus became the second wife of the Pakistani cricketer, who divorced first wife Ayesha Siddiqui last week after much mud-slinging.
Shoaib, a former Pakistan captain, wore a black sherwani, designed by Shantanu and Nikhil, for the nikaah ceremony, held at hotel Taj Krishna.
The two families surprised everyone on Monday morning by announcing through the spokesperson that marriage has been advanced.
The mehandi ceremony is now scheduled for Tuesday, the sangeet will take place on April 14 and reception on April 15, as scheduled, the spokesperson added.
All the papers were in place before the arrival of the bride and groom, and the ceremony was over within five minutes. The Qutbah was read by the head Qazi.
The couple married at around 1315 IST, immediately after Zohar prayers by the head Qazi of Dar-ul-Qazzat.
Shoaib paid Rs 61 lakh as meher amount to Sania at the time of the nikaah and also presented her a car.
According to family sources, the wedding was advanced due to the fatwas being issued by various ulemas against Shoaib living in Sania's house before marriage, which was termed un-Islamic.
The nikaah ceremony was held in the presence of close relatives, while lunch was hosted for about 500 guests, sources in Sania's family said.
The build-up to their marriage was highly controversial due to Shoaib's 'first' marriage with another Hyderabad girl, Ayesha.
Ayesha had alleged that Shoaib married her over the phone before dumping her without a divorce due to her weight problems.
Shoaib initially denied the allegations and claimed that Ayesha duped him into a phone marriage by sending photographs of a different woman.
Ayesha went ahead and filed an FIR against Shoaib, alleging fraud and criminal intimidation, which led to the cricketer's passport being seized by the police.
The all-rounder agreed to divorce Ayesha after being pressurised by community leaders.
The FIRs were subsequently withdrawn, but he is yet to get his passport back.
Sania is currently ranked 89 in the WTA chart and out of action, nursing a wrist injury.
Shoaib, on the other hand, is serving a one-year ban for indiscipline during Pakistan's tour of Australia earlier this year.