Not Pakistan’s daughter-in-law

Kamran Shahid April 29, 2010

Now that the wedding ceremony of Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza is over there are lessons to learn for the nation, including our media which has covered every moment, glimpse and sentiment. In order to give a different flavour to the audience TV channels did not refrain from showing their bed, cushions, bathroom and even bed-sheets!

It was embarrassing when Shoaib, in an interview to Express News criticised the media for interfering in his personal life to an extent that “he became the bodyguard of his wife” and added that the media “has made money out of his wedding” which is a “personal event”. Regardless of whether the couple is compatible or not, there is definite incompatibility between Sania Mirza’s perception of Pakistan and the perception of the press about the marriage.

Although her body language was harsh towards the people and the press, our media gave her unprecedented coverage. The media called her the ‘daughter-in-law of Pakistan’ as a goodwill gesture, which she seemed to have completely rejected. We have yet to see a glimpse of joy on her face. She looks disturbed, confused and annoyed. Maybe she is afraid of extremist Hindu elements in India who consider this nation to be too soft on terrorists. After all, it is a common perception in India that Pakistanis and its establishment support atrocities like the Mumbai attacks and give refuge to alleged terrorists like Hafiz Saeed.

Mirza’s visit to Pakistan seems to be a visit to an unfriendly state rather than to her friendly in-laws. Both the bride and groom failed to acknowledge the passion of the Pakistanis who welcomed them with open arms. Mirza expressed her displeasure at the way people welcomed her and the way they interfered with their private life. The only thing she praised was the food. This is a huge loss for Pakistan. We have lost a national hero. Shoaib Malik will be moving to Dubai. Dubai does have a higher standard of living and, unlike Pakistan, does not have any alleged involvement of sponsoring terrorism.

But is he going to remain a national hero if he lives outside the nation? People by and large are saying that the marriage is a milestone for South Asia’s peace in that it will enhance confidence between the two countries. Had peace been achieved through unpredictable relations like marriages, the region would have been stabilised ages ago, after the marriage of cricketer Mohsin Khan and actress Reena Roy. A serious approach of the Pakistani media is required to analyse something as sensitive as regional peace and national pride. The media needs to fix their professional limitations to defend the integrity of the national press.

As suggested by the couple, we should not interfere by throwing emotional welcomes. We should stop calling Sania Mirza the ‘daughter in-law of Pakistan. Pakistan’s honour is above marriages of all kinds — be they inter-state or inter-celebrity.