Baby giveaway on Pakistani TV defended by host

Aug. 2, 2013 at 3:09 PM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Pakistani game show host Aamir Liaquat Hussain defended the decision to give away two abandoned babies to grateful childless couples on a live television show.

The babies, both girls, were rescued from garbage heaps by the Chhipa Welfare Association, a Pakistani aid organization, in Karachi, and were presented to pre-selected and pre-screened couples on the popular game show "Amaan Ramzan," at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when broadcasters battle for ratings, the British Sky News reported.

While the action was condemned by many Pakistanis as a stunt to boost ratings, Sky News said, Hussain defended it.

"It's not like parents (appear during) the show and (we) deliver the baby like a prize," he said. "It's not commercialism, it's not showbiz. It's real Islam. Where are the actors? Where are the actresses?"

Hussain, who generally gives away cars, motorbikes and other merchandise on the program, said the babies would likely have been "eaten by cats or dogs" had they not been discovered by the show.

The babies were handed over to grateful parents in a noisy and flashy ceremony on the show, the BBC said, noting adoption in Pakistan is not regulated by the state or under Islamic law. Couples can apply to courts to become legal guardians, but few do.

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