15 May, 2021

A Straight One?

Pakistan backs the ‘decent, modest’ Shoaib to a man

A Straight One?

The man may have become a byword for villainy and deceit in the eyes of media-saturated Indians after wooing two Muslim girls from Hyderabad and divorcing one under intense pressure just days before his high-profile marriage to the second. In Pakistan, he stays cast in a heroic light.

There might be intense, hostile curiosity and division of opinion in India about what sort of person Shoaib Malik is, but in Pakistan there is total unanimity. He’s seen as a quiet, unassuming man who won the heart of tennis star Sania Mirza and then bravely repulsed opposition from the Siddiqui family, police and a menacing Indian media.

Shoaib’s brother-in-law Imran Malik expresses the general view here when he says that the cricketer won over Sania because of his inherent goodness and his simple, honest nature. His friends say he owes his calm and poise, to some extent, to the star under which he was born: Aquarius.

Shoaib—six feet tall, dark and handsome—comes from a modest background: his family owns a 10-marla...

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