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Shoaib Akhtar, Nauman Niaz reconcile after on-air heated spat

Dr Niaz to not host transmission till investigation is completed (Photo: Twitter)

LAHORE: Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and television anchor Dr Nauman Niaz have reconciled during a meeting at the residence of Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, it emerged on Saturday.  

In a tweet, the Minister shared selfie with both Shoaib Akhtar and Dr Nauman Niaz. He said that the matter was not so big but the social media portrayed it so big. “All is well that has ended well,” he remarked.

Apologising to Akhtar, Dr Niaz admitted that what had transpired on the live show should not have occurred. He said that their 30-year-old friendship should not end.

Senior Geo News anchor and political analyst Saleem Safi had taken Akhtar to Chaudhry’s home, whereas Dr Niaz had been called over to the residence by the information minister himself.

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. 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.

The incident

The altercation between Akhtar and Niaz had taken place during a post-match analysis after Pakistan’s win against New Zealand in a T20 World Cup fixture in October. The two were part of a panel for PTV Sports’ programme ‘Game On Hai’.

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

Niaz, however, had taken 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 had resumed after a break, Akhtar had apologized to the guests on the panel and announced his resignation from PTV, saying he could not continue with the programme because of “how I was treated on national television”.

The episode had caused an uproar on social media with politicians, journalists, and media persons coming to the former cricketer’s defense and criticizing Niaz for his behavior.