Shoaib Akhtar, Dr Nauman Niaz reconcile after Fawad Chaudhry mediates

Published November 13, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry (L), former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar (C) and television show anchor Dr Nauman Niaz (R) are seen in this photograph. — Photo courtesy Fawad Chaudhry Twitter
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry (L), former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar (C) and television show anchor Dr Nauman Niaz (R) are seen in this photograph. — Photo courtesy Fawad Chaudhry Twitter

Former pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar and television anchor Dr Nauman Niaz — who had had a heated exchange during a live telecast on PTV Sports, prompting Akhtar's resignation from the channel — have reconciled following Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry's mediation.

According to a tweet by PTV News, Chaudhry invited Akhtar and Niaz to his residence and helped the pair settle their differences.

Following the settlement of the days-long dispute, Niaz publicly apologised to Akhtar in a video.

"Shoaib Akhtar, I am extremely sorry for whatever happened on screen. It shouldn't have happened, for the reason that [we] have a 30-year-long friendship and that shouldn't go down," Niaz said.

Akhtar, who also featured in the video, replied: "It's fine. He (Niaz) said it, he said it. He should have said it a long time ago."

The video ends with Niaz saying "it's never too late" and patting Akhtar on the back.

Later, Akhtar confirmed his reconciliation with Niaz on Twitter.

"It was an unpleasant incident on national television and it had hurt my sentiments [and] that's why it took me a while," he tweeted, referring to his spat with Niaz.

"Taking a higher moral ground, I am accepting the apology of Dr Nauman Niaz. Lets move on from this," he added.

Meanwhile, sharing a picture of Shoaib, Niaz and himself, Chaudhry tweeted a couplet about friendship.

He said the argument between Niaz and Akhtar was "not that big" as he appeared to hold social media responsible for blowing the row out of proportion.

" ... social media is a big [thing] now and small matters are turned into big issues. Nevertheless, all is well that ends well," he added.

When asked about any decision being taken on a recovery notice issued to Akhtar by the Pakistan Television Corporation over the matter and the status of an inquiry launched into the incident after the fast bowler's reconciliation with Niaz, Chaudhry told Dawn.com that it was up to the PTV managing director to evaluate both the matters and make a decision.

The spat

The star pacer and Niaz were part of a panel for PTV Sports programme "Game On Hai" on Oct 27 along with guests the likes of West Indies batting legend Sir Vivian Richards, former England captain David Gower, former Pakistan women's captain Sana Mir and former fast bowler Umar Gul. The panel was discussing the Pakistan-New Zealand T20 World Cup match which Pakistan won by five wickets.

During a discussion on the Pakistan squad, Akhtar had credited the Pakistan Super League's Lahore Qalandars franchise for discovering Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Niaz took issue with Akhtar's comments and said: "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."

Once the show resumed after a break, Akhtar apologised to the guests on the panel and announced his resignation from PTV, saying that he could not continue with the programme because of "how I was treated on national television".

Later, the PTV launched an inquiry into the spat and took Niaz and Akhtar off-air until completion of the probe.

Niaz had tendered an "unconditional apology" to Akhtar last week.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Television Corporation had sent Akhtar a recovery notice, asking him to pay Rs100 million in damages and reimburse three months' salary for violating clauses of their contract.

The pace great had vowed at the time to "not give up and fight this legal battle", saying that his lawyer Salman Khan Niazi would take the matter forward in accordance with the law.

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