He was a trailblazer as part of Coronation Street’s first Muslim family but Qasim Akhtar’s time on the cobbles is over.
The rising star, who appeared in shows including Waterloo Road, Doctors and Shameless, wants to try his hand at another project after nearly four years in Weatherfield.
A source said: “Qasim has been really popular among the cast and viewers but has decided he wants to do other things in the short term.
“He was a successful actor before he came onto Corrie so is looking forward to having another crack at something new. It was entirely his decision to leave.
Bosses are hoping that in leaving the door open, he will return one day.”
Qasim told ITV bosses late last year that he wanted to go.
A Corrie spokeswoman said: “Qasim is a talented actor who has been involved in some great storylines.
“We wish him every success for the future.”
Qasim, introduced in 2014, featured in the show’s first ever Muslim wedding, marrying Rana Habeeb — played by Bhavna Limbachia — before she fell in love with Kate Connor, leaving him heartbroken.
Viewers have seen Rana face a backlash from her family and be forced to continue a sham relationship with Zeedan.
Yesterday the former couple were seen filming in Manchester — as Zeedan turned up to a pub where Rana and Kate are partying with pals.
He surreptitiously films the women, before he’s clocked and they have a furious row.
Insiders say his exit storyline will revolve around the lesbian couple before he dramatically exits permanently in the summer.
No one ever leaves a soap quietly.