PTV withdrew case against Shoaib Akhtar


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Television (PTV) on Thursday withdrew a case against former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in which it had asked him to pay Rs100 million in damages and reimburse three months' salary for violating clauses of their contract.

A lawyer for PTV told a civil court in Lahore that the two parties had reconciled their differences. He said the PTV did not wish to pursue the case further. The court subsequently disposed of the suit.

Akhtar was sent a recovery notice by the broadcaster on November 8 after he quit and walked off a PTV Sports show after being "insulted" on air by anchor Dr Nauman Niaz — who heads the PTV’s sports division.

The two were part of a panel for PTV Sports programme "Game On Hai" on October 25 along with guests such as West Indies batting legend Sir Vivian Richards, former England captain David Gower, former Pakistan women's captain Sana Mir and former fast bowler Umar Gul. The panel was discussing the Pakistan-New Zealand T20 World Cup match which Pakistan won by five wickets.

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

Niaz took 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 resumed after a break, Akhtar apologised to the guests on the panel and announced his resignation from PTV, saying that he could not continue with the programme because of "how I was treated on national television".

The PTV also launched an inquiry into the spat and took Dr Niaz and Akhtar off-air until completion of the probe.

Days later, the broadcaster sent a notice to Akhtar in which it stated that it had been fulfilling its side of the commitments made in an agreement with the former cricketer in January 2019. However, Akhtar's "conduct towards official requirements according to the binding clauses of referred agreement has not only been observed as casual, but a total violation of the agreement," the notice had stated.

Referring to the former cricketer's resignation following the on-air spat with Niaz, PTV said Akhtar had violated the terms of the agreement by not submitting a written notice three months prior. The move had also caused "huge financial losses to PTV", it added.

At the time, Akhtar had said he was "utterly disappointed" by the notice and had vowed to continue the legal fight.

On November 5, Niaz tendered an "unconditional apology" for his conduct with Akhtar during a tell-all interview with journalist Rauf Klasra.

The pair finally reconciled on November 13 after Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry mediated between them. The minister had invited Akhtar and Niaz to his residence and helped the pair settle their differences.

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