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Imran ducks, Zaheer braves it

Islamabad, Aug. 5: Immy didn’t show up nor did Inzy. But Zed was there, keeping Javed Miandad company.

As the guests, nearly 1,200 of them, streamed in for Thursday’s most-awaited reception at the Pearl Continental, missing from action were a host of cricketers, past and present.

Imran Khan was in Karachi and had earlier in the day told the media he would go to bless Junaid and Mahrukh, Miandad’s son and Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter. But when night fell, he quietly gave it the slip.

Nor were Pakistan captain Inzamam ul Haq and his boys anywhere to be seen. Or even the top brass of the Pakistan Cricket Board, save two-Lahore based officials Asad Mustafa and Subhan Ahmed.

Better safe than sorry, most of Miandad’s fraternity may have thought, but for former teammate Zaheer Abbas and some others who braved the strong security presence and the shadow of the don to stand by the groom’s father.

“They have stayed away for obvious reasons and I don’t think they need to be elaborated,” one of Miandad’s close aides said.

Miandad, dressed in black, was seen personally welcoming the guests to the ballroom, brothers Sohail, Bashir and Anwar by his side. But he was miffed the Indian media ' all journalists were stopped 25 metres from the hotel ' had created so much hype about the wedding.

“It’s a private programme and our personal matter,” he said angrily after the reception wound up in the wee hours of Friday.

Among those who showed up were former cricketers Iqbal Qasim, Manzoor Ilahi, Moin Khan, Tasleem Arif, Rashid Khan, Sadiq Mohammed and Saleem Yousuf.

Pakistan selector Wasim Bari was there as were former cricket board chiefs Waqar Hasan and Lt Gen. (retd) Tauqir Zia. Squash champ Jahangir Khan and hockey Olympians Islah-ud-din, Samiullah and Hanif Khan put in an appearance.

Very few government officials were seen anywhere close to the venue. Waqar Masood, special secretary to the Prime Minister, was there along with Anwar Baig, S.M. Zafar and Makhdoom Jamiluzzaman, all members of the Pakistan upper house.

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