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Sania, Shoaib get married

Hyderabad, April 12 (IANS) Indian tennis star Sania Mirza tied the knot with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik at a hotel here Monday after getting a no-objection certificate from the city police.

"The Nikah has been completed. Please pray for the couple," Sania's spokesperson Rucha Naik told media persons outside hotel Taj Krishna, adjacent to Taj Deccan.

Sania, 23, and Shoaib, 28, signed the 'nikahnama' and said "qabool hai" in the presence of a qazi and two witnesses from each side, sources said.

About 70 people, including close relatives and friends from both sides, attended the much-hyped and controversial marriage ceremony.

After the 'nikah', the guests offered 'zuhar namaz'. It was followed by lunch, where they were treated with traditional delicacies, including the famous 'Hyderabadi biryani'.

Since the Qazi had refused to perform the 'nikah' Friday in the absence of Shoaib's passport, sources said Sania's family got a no-objection certificate from the Hyderabad police. Shoaib's passport, seized last week in connection with a case filed by his first wife Ayesha Siddiqui, is still with the police.

Earlier, clad in red traditional bridal wear, which her mother wore on her wedding 25 years ago, Sania left her residence in Jubliee Hills amid drum beats and reached hotel Taj Deccan shortly after noon.

From there they went to the adjoining Taj Krishna, where Shoaib and his relatives are staying.

She was accompanied by her father Imran Mirza, mother Naseema, younger sister Anam and a few close relatives.

Shoaib, who divorced Ayesha last week, wore a black 'sherwani'. His mother, sisters and some close relatives attended the wedding. Security has been tightened at the hotel and the media was not allowed inside.

Earlier, Naik told reporters outside Sania's residence that there would be a 'mehendi' ceremony Tuesday. The 'sangeet' would be held the next day while Sania's family would hold the wedding reception April 15.

The high-profile marriage was surrounded by controversies ever since it was announced March 29.

It is learnt that the two families decided to solemnise the marriage Monday to avoid further controversies, especially in the light of Sunday's 'fatwa' issued by Islamic religious scholars against Sania and Shoaib living together before their wedding.

Sania's media manager Sunday night clarified that Shoaib moved out of Sania's house a few days ago.

The Sunni Ulema Board, a group of religious scholars, had declared that the act of Sania and Shoaib living together was against Islamic Shariat. It asked Muslims not to attend such marriages where men and women come together in close proximity in violation of Islamic rules.

Additional Commissioner of Police N. Narasimha Reddy said it may take a week for Shoaib to get back his passport from a court as some formalities with regard to closure of the case would have to be completed.

Ayesha withdrew the case Wednesday after Shoaib divorced her.

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