Pakistan Television said on Thursday that anchorperson Dr. Nauman Niaz and former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will be taken “off-air” until an inquiry committee formed to investigate the heated exchange between the two completed its inquiry.
The state broadcaster shared a statement on Twitter that said that the inquiry was underway. “It has been decided that Niaz and Akhtar will be taken off air until the inquiry is completed,” the statement said.
It added that neither of the two will be allowed to participate in any PTV program until the inquiry is completed and all the facts become clear.
Reacting to the announcement, the former cricketer said, “Well that’s hilarious. I resigned in front of 220 million Pakistanis and billions across the world. Is PTV crazy or what? Who are they to off-air me?”
The incident took place during a live telecast on PTV Sports three days ago. Akhtar on Thursday has had refused to appear before the inquiry committee formed to investigate the incident.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had said a committee will be formed to probe the incident. Subsequently, the PTV administration had formed an inquiry committee.
Senator Faisal Javed, who heads the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology, had also regretted the incident. He announced that he would take up the issue before the committee. Moreover, he chided PTV for going completely off track and called on the state broadcaster to restore its legacy.
Recapping the episode
The former fast bowler, Akhtar, quit and walked off a Pakistan Television (PTV) show after being insulted by Niaz. The spat between the two took place during a post-match analysis after Pakistan’s win against New Zealand in a T20 World Cup fixture on Tuesday.
During a discussion on the Pakistan squad, Akhtar credited the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars franchise for discovering Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
Niaz, however, took issue with Akhtar’s comments. “You are being a little rude so I don’t want to say this but if you’re being over-smart then you can go. I am saying this on-air,” he said.
As the show resumed after a break, Akhtar apologized to the guests on the panel and announced his resignation from PTV. The former cricketer said that he could not continue with the program because of “how I was treated on national television”.
Meanwhile, commenting on the matter, Niaz had said Akhtar was a “star” who had brought accomplishments for the country. “One side of the story always attracts, nonetheless having been friends for ages I’ll always wish him the best,” he had added.
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