Pak preacher to give away baby on TV show despite criticism
A game show host in Pakistan has defended giving away abandoned babies to would-be parents on live TV and plans to continue doing so.
A controversial Pakistani preacher is preparing to give away a third baby to a childless couple on his religious TV show, ignoring criticism that he resorted to the practice to boost the ratings of his programme.
Aamir Liaquat Hussain, 41, anchors "Aman Ramzan", a 12-hour show beamed live from Karachi on Geo network during the holy month of Ramzan, during which prizes like mobile phones and motorcycles are given away to audience members who answer easy questions about Islam.
A few weeks ago, he stunned the audience by saying a baby would be given to a couple that was childless for 14 years. A baby girl picked from a garbage heap by the NGO Chhipa Welfare Organisation was brought to the show, wrapped in pink, by Muhammad Ramzan Chhipa, chief of the organisation, and Hussain handed over the child to an emotional woman.
"Promise that you will take care of the child like a real mother," he told the woman.
Another infant girl was given away during a live show last month.
The live coverage of the handing over of the babies created a storm and Hussain's critics described it as an unethical move to improve ratings in the highly competitive Ramzan market.
Undeterred by such criticism, the management of Hussain's show has announced he will offer a third child - a baby boy - for adoption to a "deserving couple".
A statement on Hussain's website even exhorts poor families to hand over babies to the preacher so that they can be given away on his show.