Former Pakistan cricket captain Wasim Akram today announced he had married his Australian girlfriend, Shaniera Thompson, after clerics contended it was "sinful" for the couple to live together without being wed.
"I married Shaniera in Lahore last week in a simple ceremony and this is the start of a new life for me, my wife and for my kids," Akram was quoted as saying by a local journalist.
Akram, 47, proposed to the 30-year-old former public relations consultant last month and they married on August 12 in the presence of immediate family, sources said.
"Last week, Akram married Shaniera during a gathering at a farm house on Defence Road. Only family members participated in the ceremony," a source told PTI.
Akram’s father is unwell and wanted to see his son married again, the sources said. His first wife Huma died in 2009.
Thompson came to Karachi earlier this month and flew to Lahore to meet Akram's father.
Since Thompson arrived in Pakistan about three weeks ago, some clerics criticised Akram for spending "days and nights" with his fiancé under one roof without getting married.
"This is un-Islamic and sinful. Akram should separate himself from her and make living arrangements for her somewhere else till he gets married to her,” Mufti Abdul Qayyum told reporters.
Sections of the media too questioned Akram about the matter.
Sources said that since Akram had made up his mind to marry Thompson, he wasted no more time in tying the knot in order to stave off criticism from hardliners.
Reports said Thompson had converted to Islam and was learning Urdu.
Akram's first wife Huma died of multiple organ failure in a hospital in Chennai in October 2009. She was being flown in an air ambulance to Singapore when her condition worsened and the aircraft had to land in Chennai.
He had two sons with Huma.