Wednesday, 19 January, 2022
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In Shoaib Akhtar-PTV anchor spat, Pakistani fans cheering Rawalpindi Express

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said the incident would be probed by an inquiry committee, which was later formed by PTV.

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New Delhi: Pakistani pace legend Shoaib Akhtar has remained as fiery post-retirement as he was on the field in his playing days. This week, his spat with PTV Sports news anchor Nauman Niaz during the live post-match coverage of Pakistan’s win over New Zealand on state television gained international attention after Akhtar posted a video on his Twitter account. That was enough for fans to rally behind Rawalpindi Express.

“Nauman Niaz was being obnoxious and asked me to leave, for no rhyme or reason…on national television [after the ad break] he abruptly insulted and sidelined me,” Akhtar said.

The former cricketer further clarified how he tried salvaging the situation, in a bid to ensure that Pakistan’s image is not impacted, by playing down the incident as a joke and asked Niaz to end it with an apology.

“But [Niaz] didn’t say sorry to me…so I had enough and felt I needed to leave. So I tried my level best to repair the damage within the programme but he didn’t say sorry to me,” Akhtar added, justifying his on-air resignation from the PTV Sports broadcast.

In the video, Akhtar also made repeated references to himself as a “national star” and referred to foreign ex-cricketer panelists present in the studio such as Viv Richards and David Gower.

Akhar’s video was met with an outpouring of support from cricket fans on Twitter, although some also took the opportunity to criticise him for his on-air conduct.

“My complaint to Citizen’s portal as an overseas Pakistani. If You all do the same, we can ask PTV to ask for Dr Naaman’s resignation,” said Waqas Ali.

“Stay strong my dear the whole nation is with you. We all will make sure to remove that peace [sic] of crap,” YouTuber Talat Kashif said.

Another user posted an Idris Elba quote in support of Akhtar.

“Never jump to a conclusion,” warned an account while sharing a two-minute-clip of the conversation that preceded Niaz telling Akhtar to leave.


Anchor Niaz had posted his own clarification tweet, post the incident, in which he credited Akhtar’s cricketing achievements for Pakistan but lamented that “one side of the story always attracts.”


Despite this tweet, Niaz was largely on the receiving end.

“[Niaz] should be fired & blacklisted from PTV screen until he tenders a public apology to all sitting on the show,” Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi tweeted, labelling Niaz as an “arrogant little brat”.


“You were incredibly rude doc and we all saw it. You should never treat your guests like that, much less while on national television. Try an actual apology,” researcher and writer Ammar Rashid said.


“Your tweet is even more stupid, than what you did there on live television. You are unprofessional and arrogant and you need to be sent home,” another user added.


PTV on Thursday issued a statement in light of the attention garnered by the viral video, announcing that both Niaz and Akhtar would be “taken off air”, barring them from participating in any further PTV broadcasts until an inquiry by the relevant committee had been completed.

As reported by Dawn, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said the incident would be probed by an inquiry committee, which was later formed by PTV.

Shoaib Akhtar was quick to fire back at PTV as well, referring to the statement as “hilarious” questioning whether the country’s state broadcaster is “crazy” since he had already resigned on live television.


Pakistan’s next Men’s T20 World Cup match will take place against Afghanistan on Friday night, and it remains to be seen whether PTV Sports’ coverage of the game will again be overshadowed by a follow-up viral clip, with Niaz and Akhtar absent.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

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