With the Sania Mirza-Shoaib Malik wedding only a few days away, Pakistani TV channels are busy running special shows – some serious, some not-so-serious – on the couple.
In a special edition of Geo News‘ religious chat show ‘Aalim Online‘, host Aamir Liaquat Hussain, referred to by his numerous detractors as ‘Jaahil Online’, talked about the importance of the ‘nikaah’ to a virtuous woman.
He told his audience that a man should marry a woman who is ‘respectful’, not someone who is rich, famous and beautiful.
He also rebuked cricketer Shoaib Malik for making fun of the ‘nikaah’.
“Whatever has happened to Shoaib (vis-a-vis Indian woman Ayesha Siddiqui who claimed to be married to him) is his own doing.
He has made a ‘tamasha’ of nikaah, with the whole world asking if nikaah can be done on the phone or not,” Hussain said.
He even spoke to Ayesha Siddiqui’s father on the show.
“Why did you allow your daughter to meet him, speak to him on the sly? Why did you not object then?” Hussain also gave a sermon on the fact that Pakistanis should not get too excited because they were getting a ‘bahu’ from ‘Bharat’.
He said Shoaib had done his “setting” and was now practising “dance”.
Hum Sab Umeed Sai Hain, the same channel’s flagship humour show, shot a parody on the couple.
In the spoof, Shoaib tells the host that his sudden decision to marry was because tennis star Sania has fitness issues and he was free for a year (due to a ban imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board).
“We were both free, so we decided to marry,” he said.
The Sania lookalike tells the host that she had earlier “practiced” how to get engaged and now she was practising to marry and she was sure that she’d win the “final round”.
She said in tennis, “love” means nothing – “zero”.
Asked if she was happy with her decision, she said, “My family is saying I am happy, so I must be happy!” Another spoof has hardline ideologue Zahid Hamid criticising the Indo-Pakistan marriage, saying that Shoaib was being “unfair” to his country and that this marriage was not “valid”.
When reminded that Sania was a Muslim, the spoof quoted Hamid as saying: “If you’re a Hindu Hindustani, you’re a Hindu first then a Hindustani, and if you’re a Non-Hindu Hindustani, you’re still a Hindu first and then a Hindustani?”
On other channels, talk show hosts are doing specials on the couple – asking designers what Sania should wear for her wedding, discussing how a storyline would unfold if a serial was planned on their lives, and even a possible book on whether the marriage last.