TV anchor Nauman Niaz has offered an “unconditional” apology to Shoaib Akhtar for the on-air spat between them but also said that PTV was being “taken for granted” by the former Pakistan pacer and that also contributed in the ugly episode.
Akhtar was told to leave the set by Niaz and former Pakistan cricketer immediately announced that he is resigning as PTV’s cricket analyst.
The manner in which Niaz treated Akhtar had caused a storm on social media with many demanding the termination of the TV host.
The incident took place during a World Cup show in which stalwarts like Sir Viv Richards, David Gower, Rashid Latif, Aaqib Javed, Azhar Mahmood, Umar Gul and Sana Mir were also present.
Akhtar had refused to appear before an inquiry committee formed by the PTV management until Niaz was sacked for his behaviour. The committee immediately took both off the air.
Niaz, on Thursday night, said in an interview on a Youtube channel that he had made a grave mistake and his behaviour was unwarranted, inexcusable and appalling.
“I apologise and I will apologise a million times for my behaviour which should not have happened because Shoaib Akhtar is a star,” Niaz said.
Niaz also said that the reaction to his outburst was justified, adding “I had no right. To err is human and for that, I apologise. Not only once, but a million times. Shoaib has been a rock star. Whatever happened on camera was unbecoming.”
The well-known host also confessed that his father a retired General had told him to take responsibility because of the “mistake you have done”.
But at the same time Niaz spilled some beans on what were the circumstances that led to the spat.
“Shoaib was contracted with us on a yearly basis and we pay him a very handsome salary on the basis of exclusivity. Before the World Cup Shoaib came to me and had sought a pay raise which was eventually settled in a meeting with the channel’s managing director.
“Later on Oct 17, Shoaib was supposed to take part in the transmission, but he left for Dubai and participated in a show there with Harbhajan Singh. He then committed to come back for the PTV transmission a couple of days later but didn’t turn up.”
Admitting that Akhtar is a “saleable brand” on screen, he clarified that clause-5 of the former bowler’s contract outright barred him from taking part in any other talk show.
“However, he participated in other shows during this period”.
Niaz also said that all this also contributed to the incident as deep down he resented Akhtar’s behaviour who had not taken into consideration the channel’s reputation.
“PTV was being taken for granted, which was bad,” he added.
“These things were building up in my mind. Let me honestly say that a minor abrasion erupted in my cognitive mind that led to the incident which we all saw and it should not have happened.”
He insisted he was offering an unconditional apology for the episode.
“It was an inexcusable act.”
He also underlined that Akhtar was not happy with the seating arrangement on the day and “then he did something which was irking but I will not divulge it”.
Akhtar said on Geo TV that he had accepted Niaz’s apology and for him the matter was closed.
“I don’t want to carry on with bitterness in my heart for anyone. That is not my way of living. Once for all whatever happened is over and I have accepted the apology.”