Akhtar quits TV show after ill-informed Dr Nauman insults legendary pacer

The Nation  |  Oct 28, 2021

LAHORE - Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Wednesday quit the PTV Sports show “Game on Hai” during the live transmission after a verbal spat with host Dr Nauman Niaz.

The controversy began between the two when the guests got together to analyze the game after Pakistan’s victory against New Zealand. During the considerations, Akhtar credited the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars team for producing stars like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, to which Nauman took resentment and snapped back at Akhtar saying, “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.” With the resumption of the show after the commercial, Akhtar apologized to the guests and announced his resignation from PTV, saying that he could not continue with the programme because of “how I was treated on national television”. Before walking off from the set, Akhtar said, “A lot of apologies guys, a lot of apologies. I am resigning from PTV. The way I have been treated on national TV, I don’t think I should be sitting here right now. So, I am resigning. Thank you very much.” Later the legendary pacer said on his twitter that he had been ready to avoid the ‘insult’ to prevent further awkwardness. “Multiple clips are circulating on social media so I thought I should clarify. Dr Nauman was obnoxious and rude when he asked me to leave the show, it was embarrassing especially when you have legends like Sir Vivian Richards and David Gower sitting on the set with some of my contemporaries and seniors and millions watching,” he tweeted. “I tried to save everyone from embarrassment by saying I was pulling Dr Niaz’s leg with this mutual understanding that Dr Nauman will also politely apologize and we will move on with the show, which he refused to do. Then I had no other choice,” he added. Before Akhtar’s response over the matter, Nauman also wrote on his twitter, “I wonder why one has to be reminded @shoaib100mph is a star. “He [Akhtar] has been the best of the best, he shall always be. He has brought laurels to the country is undeniable. “One side of the story always attracts [attention] nonetheless having been friends for ages I’ll always wish him the best,” added Nauman.

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Taking it to Twitter, the celebrities across the country have lauded the grace with which the cricket-star walked away from the show. Senior actor Adnan Siddiqui tweeted: “Strongly condemn Nauman Niaz humiliating @shoaib100mph on national tv. He is an international star who is revered world over. Nauman can’t go around insulting guests on his show if he doesn’t agree with their opinion. #iamwithshoaibakhtar. Really applaud the grace shown by @shoaib100mph. He handled the insult heaped on him with so much maturity and patience. Anyone else would have probably lost his cool on air but this guy maintained his dignity. Signs of a good upbringing #sheerclass.” Another veteran actor Humayun Saeed wrote on his tweeter: “Arguments happen during TV shows but no host tells their guest to leave. That was no way to address any guest, let alone one of the biggest international stars Pakistan has ever produced. What happened, happened; Dr Noman should have at the very least apologised to @shoaib100mph.” Singer Ali Zafar tweeted: “We must learn to respect our national heroes & each other generally. We are entitled to our opinions but the same can be expressed politely in a more cultured fashion with the right choice of words to avoid hurting others’ feelings. @shoaib100mph you’re a legend. #shoaibakhter.” Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry took notice of the incident Wednesday and constituted a committee to look into the matter, which will be headed by the PTV managing director. People from other sectors, including the PTV’s HR department, will also be a part of the committee. A meeting of the inquiry committee has been called Wednesday in which members of the committee will figure out why the argument between the two took place. The exchange that took place between Nauman and Akhtar, both off-air and on-air, will be studied. The committee will send its findings to the minister. In case the findings highlight Nauman’s mistake, the committee will take action against him. The committee will also summon Dr Nauman and Akhtar to hear their sides of the story.

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