Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 17:59 UK

India and Pakistani stars get married


Sania Mirza wore a red sari that her mother wore 25 years earlier

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik at a ceremony in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

The wedding at a city hotel was attended by relatives from both sides, a spokesperson for India's most successful woman tennis player said.

The union between two of South Asia's top sporting personalities came after Malik divorced another woman last week.

Receptions are expected in Hyderabad, where Mirza lives, and in Lahore.

"Please pray for the newly-wed couple," Mirza's spokeswoman, Rucha Naik, told reporters after the Muslim wedding ceremony, or nikah.

She said Mirza was dressed in the same red sari worn by her mother at her own wedding 25 years ago. The tennis star was accompanied by traditional drummers as she left for the wedding venue.

The BBC's Omer Farooq in Hyderabad says the media was kept away from the marriage ceremony which took place at a luxury hotel.

'Other wife'

The unusual cross-border romance has captivated the people of long-time rivals India and Pakistan.

The treatment given the story completely stripped it of its romance. News networks vied with each other to dig up dirt about Malik and his alleged ex-wife, Ayesha Siddiqui

Last week the family of Malik's first wife, Ayesha Siddiqui, withdrew charges against him over his wedding plans after the cricketer divorced her.

Malik had earlier said he met Ms Siddiqui on the internet and married her over the telephone, which is valid under Islamic law.

But he claimed that the photographs she had sent him were of someone else and therefore his marriage was illegal.

Sania Mirza, 23, and Shoaib Malik, 28, announced their wedding in March. The tennis star broke off a previous engagement earlier this year.

While celebrations will be held in both countries, the couple plan to live in Dubai and will continue to represent their respective countries in international sporting ties.

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Yahoo! UK and Ireland Sport Stars Wed After 'Divorce' Scandal - 1 hr ago
Times Online Sports stars marry after controversial engagement - 13 hrs ago
The Independent We're moving to Dubai, say couple who enraged Asia - 15 hrs ago
Reuters UK India tennis star weds Pakistan cricketer after divorce row - 27 hrs ago
Observer Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik give India and Pakistan a new reason to squabble - 63 hrs ago

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