Plumbing new depths in the battle for television ratings, abandoned babies are being given out as prizes 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.
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. His heady mix of religion and entertainment is often followed by controversy.
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 giveaway bonanza includes motorbikes, microwave ovens, washing machines and fridges.
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 didn’t just give the baby away. We have our own vetting procedure. This couple was already registered with us and had four or five sessions with us.”
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
TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain
But, the couple didn’t know they would be handed a newborn when they were invited to take part in the show and paperwork was not processed before the live broadcast.
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.
– Yahoo News