Mawra Hocane (L), Momina Mustehsan (R) and other stars step in to support Shoaib Akhtar.
Pakistani celebrities and politicians have voiced their support for legendary former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar after his altercation on a PTV show with anchor Dr Nauman Niaz on Tuesday night. Akhar walked off the show set after being "insulted" by Niaz.
The two were part of a panel for PTV Sports programme “Game On Hai” along with guests West Indies batting legend Sir Vivian Richards, former England captain David Gower, former Pakistan women's captain Sana Mir and former fast bowlers Aqib Javed and Umar Gul. The panel was discussing the Pakistan-New Zealand T20 World Cup match, which Pakistan won by five wickets.
During their discussion, Akhtar credited Pakistan Super League's Lahore Qalandars franchise for discovering Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf. Niaz took an 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." The cricketer then announced his resignation from PTV and said he could not continue with the programme because of "how I was treated on national television" before walking off.
Many came to Akhtar's defence after the incident, including celebrities such as Mawra Hocane, Ali Zafar and Momina Mustehsan.
Actor Muneeb Butt also weighed in on the matter, questioning why everyone feels it is necessary to behave like they're the "prime minister of Pakistan."
"PTV gave Niaz a platform [but] look at his behaviour, attitude and words," he wrote on Instagram Stories. "Shame on him! Respect our living legends, don't wait [to do so until] they die!"
Actor Zarnish Khan also spoke against Niaz's behaviour. "It is the host's responsibility to treat the guests with respect, maintain the decorum of the program, and follow journalistic ethics," she said, adding that Niaz should apologise to Akhtar.
Actors Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddiqui took to Twitter to speak up as well.
And so did Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Faisal Javed.
Shoaib refused on Thursday to appear before the inquiry committee formed to investigate the heated exchange between him and anchorperson Dr Nauman Niaz during a live telecast on PTV Sports two days ago.
Speaking to DawnNews, Akhtar said, "Whatever happened is out there for everyone to see. [The committee] can make the decision after watching the videos [of the show]."
The episode had caused an uproar on social media with politicians, journalists and mediapersons coming to the former cricketer's defence and criticising Niaz for his behaviour.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had said a committee will be formed to probe the incident and 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 and announced that he would take up the issue before the committee.
He had chided PTV for going completely off track and called on the state broadcaster to restore its legacy.
“It’s not only about our heroes, it’s also about our prestige & dignity. It’s also about our state broadcaster. Very unprofessionally handled. When everyone is praising Pak & acknowledging it’s tremendous performance in World Cup why would you do it? Respect your heroes,” the senator had tweeted.
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