Pakistan TV Show Host Gives Away Babies To Audience
Plumbing new depths in the battle for television ratings, abandoned babies are being given away on a controversial prime-time game show in Pakistan. TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain presented baby girls to two unsuspecting couples during his show, which is broadcast live for seven hours a day during the month of Ramadan.
"I was really shocked at first. I couldn't believe we were being given this baby girl," said Suriya Bilqees, now a mother of a two-week old. "I was extremely happy." Another baby, a boy, is due to be given to another couple at some point in the coming days.
The show's host has been described as a religious scholar, TV megastar and even a sex symbol.
"At Christmas there's Santa Claus to give everyone gifts, it's important for Christians. For us Ramadan is a really special time so it's really important to make people happy and reward them," said Hussain.
His show -- Aman Ramazan -- has been dubbed Pakistan's version of The Price Is Right, with members of the 500-strong audience receiving prizes in exchange for answering questions on the Quran.
The baby girls given away on the show were found by an NGO, the Chhipa Welfare Association, which says it receives up to 15 abandoned babies a month.
We've created a symbol of peace and love, that's our show's theme -- to spread love. I'm setting an example. Giving a childless couple an abandoned child.
Adoption is not officially recognized in Pakistan and there is no adoption law. The couple will have to apply for guardianship at a family court.
Some viewers praised the show's baby giveaway but others declared it a publicity stunt.
"Pakistan wake up," Shamim Mahmood wrote on the NGO's Facebook page. "Babies are not trophies to be handed to just anyone."