Team Akhtar or Team Niaz? The “National Hero” Or The “Nobody”?

Team Akhtar or Team Niaz? The “National Hero” Or The “Nobody”?

The Happening: A “Hard Exchange Of Words”?  

On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, Akhtar and Niaz found themselves falling out on PTV Sports’ show, “Game on Hai.” With Akhtar as the panelist, among others, and Niaz as the host, the two zeroed in on Pakistan’s triumph over New Zealand. Here, Akhtar’s remark on how Pakistan Super League’s (PSL), Lahore Qalandars, had rooted talents like Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi, roused a rather paranoid Niaz. 

“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 retorted, cutting Akhtar mid way and cuing for the next guest to comment. 

As the argument heated up, the live broadcast sought a commercial break. But even upon its recommence, Akhtar was palpably perturbed. Shortly, he took off his mic and soon took off himself too.

“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,” said a sorry Aktar. 

To audiences therefore, Akhtar appears not to have uttered hard words for Niaz, at least on air. So does that exonerate him from all blame? 

Akhtar’s Reaction: An Overreaction?

In Akhtar’s defense, it was an “unpleasant” occurrence, with Niaz allegedly acting “obnoxious,” as he called on him to leave for “no rhyme and reason.” Justifying his jab at damage control, he said, “I tried my level best to repair the damage [in] the programme,” by requesting an apology, but Niaz’s refusal naturally led him off the show. 

Seeing the fast pacer pace to pacify the feud and Niaz’s woeful wilfulness, turns the tables in Akhar’s favour, making us less likely to run his reaction as an overreaction. But what about Niaz’s? 

Niaz’s Comeback: The Calm Before The Storm

His tweet may have revealed him as relatively calm, but it surely roused storms lit by backfire:

What’s the Twitterati’s Take?

Since the incidence, #NaumanNiaz has been trending on Pakistani twitter, surpassing 12.6k tweets, only below #Aryankhanbail #fftb #shahrukhkhan. Here, netizens appeared quite nuance with their views:

Some recommended hitting up the Pakistan Citizen’s Portal (PCP).

Others took matters into their own hands, hitting Niaz with personal blows.

Some took to sacred texts.

Others found haven in Abraham Lincoln (although, he isn’t quite the saint we’d cite, but chalo) 

And some exposed Niaz’s anchoring ethics, or lack thereof.

With audiences palpably not-at-all polarized, one wonders, what’s PTV’s take? 

Is PTV being prejudiced?

With PM Imran khan expressing anger on Niaz’s (mis)behavior, Federal Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhry called on PTV to form an inquiry committee. 

As of October 28, PTV announced its decision not to air either Akhtar or Niaz until a formal inquiry had come to a complete end. 

However, while Niaz may have been unaffected, Akhtar was certainly angry as he questioned, “Is PTV crazy?”

His anger was reiterated by PTI Senator, Faisal Javed, who remarked, “PTV.. you are completely off track… Restore the legacy #Respect

But How? Investigation Is At An Impasse: 

The inquiry committee claimed it’s recommendation to take Niaz off-air came after interrogating him. But Akhtar refused to appear before the committee, calling upon it to settle for the available video footage, instead. So is Akhtar culpable of delaying the television justice he himself is demanding? 

What's the popular opinion?  

From celebrities, to sportsmen, and siyasatdan, all appear standing with Akhar, as evinced in the thread below: 

Let’s start with Lollywood’s say:

Our personal favourite, however, was Muneed Butt’s Instagram story

Next, we’ll proceed with the politicians’ response: 

We’ll cap it all with the cricket fraternity’s reaction: 

Sikander Bakht, former fast bowler, spewed hate at Niaz for picking a bone with Akhar, that too, during a live transmission. Deeming Dr. Nauman “a nobody,” he said, “I stand with Shoaib Akhtar.” 

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