Akhtar was part of a show on state broadcaster PTV’s sports channel, where he was discussing Pakistan’s win over New Zealand in the ongoing world T20 series.
A panel of former cricketers, including Akhtar, was being moderated by presenter Nauman Niaz, the editor of PTV Sports. The panel also included former West Indies batsman Sir Vivian Richards, former England captain David Gower, former captain of Pakistan’s women’s team Sana Mir and former fast bowler Umar Gul.
While discussing the Pakistan squad, Akhtar ignored the line of questioning taken by the presenter and instead praised the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars franchise for discovering the players Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, reported The Indian Express newspaper.
Dr Niaz can be heard 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.”
He then calls for a commercial break. When the show returns, Akhtar asks for an apology from Dr Niaz. The presenter, however, continues with the discussion.
“My apologies for this but I am resigning immediately from PTV Sports as I have been insulted and treated badly on live television in front of the nation,” says Akhtar, after which he takes off his microphone and walks out of the show.
After the show’s clips went viral on social media, Akhtar said on Twitter that he tried to salvage the situation.
“I tried to save everyone from embarrassment by saying I was pulling Dr Noman’s leg with this mutual understanding that Dr Noman will also politely apologise and we will move on with the show, which he refused to do. Then I had no other choice,” Akhtar said in a tweet.
He also tweeted a video in an attempt to “clarify” the situation, where he said that, as a “national star”, he had been insulted in front of other cricketing stars.
Several of Pakistan’s politicians and journalists sided with Akhtar on social media.
“Standing Committee Meeting on this issue to be held post WC as we do care,” said Faisal Javed Khan, a senator and a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
“Shameful and petty behaviour of Dr Noman Niaz. He must apologise to Pakistanis,” said journalist and columnist Matiullah Jan.
Later, Dr Niaz posted a tweet saying he always wished the best for Akhtar, who he has known for years.
“One side of the story always attracts nonetheless having been friends for ages I’ll always wish him the best,” he wrote.
PTV has formed a committee to probe the incident reported the Dawn newspaper.
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