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Sania-Shoaib Marriage: Does It Mean An End To Indo-Pak Enmity?

April 23, 2010 Sania Mirza, India

The much-publicized marriage of Indian tennis star Sania Mirza to former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik seems to have struck an altogether different chord with the people of Pakistan. They feel that the marriage, which courted controversy and unprecedented media frenzy in equal measures, has the potential to broker peace between traditional rivals, India and Pakistan.

Earlier this month, when the couple broke the news that they were getting married, it took both Indians and Pakistanis by surprise. However, after more than a fortnight, things are more settled now and with Sania already in Pakistan at her in-laws' place, the tide seems to have turned in favor of the cross-border marriage.

While the countries are at loggerheads with each other, as usual, the Sania-Shoaib marriage has brought in a new dimension to the subcontinent. Although opinions are being churned out cautiously on both sides, there are still a few people who don't think twice before making themselves clear on the subject.

Among them is the noted Bollywood singer Kailash Kher, who was one of the participants of the Aman Ki Asha ("Hope for peace") campaign jointly launched by India's The Times of India group and Pakistan's Jang group to help peace between the two countries.

Talking to the Times, Kher said, "The relationship between two countries and someone's personal life are two different subjects. However, peace in one's personal life is dependent to a large extent on peace between the nations…"

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Population Welfare, Dr. Fardous Ashiq Awan, while speaking to the Associated Press of Pakistan, said, "Shoaib-Sania marriage would be helpful in improving not only people-to-people contacts but also enhance contacts at government level."

This is the opinion being expressed on either side of the Indo-Pakistan border but things don't just end there.

Sania is currently in Pakistan and she has two wedding receptions scheduled for April 25-26 in the cities of Lahore and Sialkot. After the wedding festivities are over, the couple will fly off to Dubai and probably settle down there.

Therefore, it will be sometime before this marriage can actually prove to be an example of improving relations between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the couple can offer to be a beacon of hope and peace for the Indo-Pak relationship, if they want to. At least that is what the people on both sides of the border would like them to be.

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By: Maverine Lane

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