PTV takes Nauman Niaz, Shoaib Akhtar off-air after spat on live TV

Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Former bowler Shoaib Akhtar and PTV anchorperson Dr Nauman Niaz. — Screengrab via Geo News
Former bowler Shoaib Akhtar and PTV anchorperson Dr Nauman Niaz. — Screengrab via Geo News

Following an on-air spat between former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and PTV Sports anchorperson Nauman Niaz, the state broadcaster has decided to take both personalities off-air.

According to a statement issued by the PTV, "neither Akhtar nor Dr Nauman will not be allowed to appear in any programme on PTV," until the completion of the inquiry into the matter.   

Sources had earlier told Geo News that the decision was taken upon the recommendation of an inquiry committee formed by the PTV to investigate the episode.

The recommendation was presented during a meeting of the inquiry committee in which the managing director of the state broadcaster, along with other higher-ups, was present.

During the meeting, the unpleasant episode that occurred between legendary bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Niaz was thoroughly discussed and a report prepared in this regard was also reviewed, sources said.

The inquiry committee said that it had interviewed Niaz regarding the spat after which it forwarded the recommendation of taking Niaz off-air. Meanwhile, the inquiry committee had also summoned Shoaib Akhtar to appear before it, but Akhtar refused, saying that the committee should review the videos instead of asking him to appear it. 

It should be recalled that on Tuesday, Akhtar and Niaz were embroiled in a spat during the PTV Sports show "Game on Hai". 

The two were discussing Pakistan's victory over New Zealand when tensions between Niaz, the host of the show, and Shoaib Akhtar, one of the many decorated panellists on the show, escalated.

Read more: Shoaib Akhtar controversy: 'Dr Nauman Niaz is a nobody, he is very rude to everyone'

As Shoaib Akhtar was going through some cricket trivia — during which he credited the Pakistan Super League's Lahore Qalandars team for discovering Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf — Niaz seemed to take offence and snapped back at Shoaib.

"You're being a little rude and I don't want to say this: but if you're being over smart, you can go. I am saying this on-air," Niaz told a dumbstruck Shoaib, cutting him short and moving to the next guest for their comment.

It wasn't clear what rubbed Niaz the wrong way, and it seemed Shoaib himself was caught off guard.

As tensions rose, the show went off-air for a commercial break. After it resumed, the discussion revolved around cricket once again but Shoaib Akhtar was visibly disturbed.

A few moments later, he unclipped his mic and walked off the show, announcing his resignation during the live transmission.

"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," he said, and left.