'OUR FRIENDSHIP GOES A LONG WAY'
“Yes, my son Junaid, 21, is getting married soon to Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter, Mahrukh, 23. This is a fact. Why should I deny it?” said Pakistan’s former cricket captain and ace batsman Javed Miandad in an exclusive telephone interview with Khaleej Times.
“When and where the marriage and the reception will take place I cannot say now. But when a decision is taken we will definitely let you — and all my admirers all over the world — know. As we speak, no timeframe or place has been set,” said Javed.
The wedding of Junaid and Mahrukh who met and fell in love in London has been a subject of intense speculation in the media ever since the news hit the headlines. The rumour mills have been turning furiously with everybody who is anybody playing the guessing game. Some have placed the wedding to take place in July in Karachi with the reception in a Gulf metropolitan city. But Miandad was quite clear on the subject when he spoke to Khaleej Times.
Javed and his wife Tahira are clearly not pleased by the paparazzi chase. “My telephone has been ringing off the hook and most of those who wanted to speak to me were more interested in the Dawood Ibrahim part of the story. Why can’t they leave these two children alone?” asked Javed, the irritation clearly showing.
The world-class batsman who lit up a stadium everytime he went into bat, has now lit up the world media. Clearing the air on the Dawood Ibrahim ‘link’, he said, “Our friendship goes a long way. We have known Dawood Ibrahim and his family for over 20 years now. We are not interested in anything else but our friendship. And that friendship has withstood the test of time. The media should respect that and leave our children alone. My wife Tahira and Dawood’s wife Mehajabeen have been close friends."
Son Junaid is now in London where he is pursuing a degree in business administration. “He will be graduating next year,” said the former cricketer. “This will be the first wedding in the family and all I seek is your blessings. Please don’t take the negative stance and beat your drums about Dawood,” he added.
Junaid, the eldest son, did try his hand at cricket, but it was father Javed who insisted he gets himself a good education. “Sports is alright, but a good education is what will stand him in good stead. It is a father’s duty to put his son on the right track and Tahira and me have done just that,” he told Khaleej Times.
At no time during the 30-minutes conversation did he try to prevaricate on the issue of his son’s wedding. “You cannot run away from reality and the reality is he is getting married and it is to Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter and all we ask for, as parents, is to give these children your blessings. As for Tahira and me, we are indeed happy and proud and I am looking forward to becoming a grandfather. After all, isn’t this what every parent wants,” said Javed,
As is well known, Dawood Ibrahim, is an international fugitive and is on India’s most wanted listed. India has been seeking his extradition to stand trial on charges of having allegedly masterminded the serial bombings in Mumbai that killed almost 300 people and left over 1,500 injured in 1993.
Two years ago, the United States had labelled Ibrahim ‘a specially designated global terrorist' and identified him as a resident of Karachi.