Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-08-03
One of the biggest stars on Pakistani TV, Aamir Liaqat Hussain criticised for giving out babies to childless couples live on prime-time Pakistani television denies he is crudely seeking top ratings and insists he is spreading charity.
The charismatic Hussain broadcasts a marathon 12-hour show each day during the holy month of Ramadan, watched by millions of viewers across the country.
He mesmerises his audience with celebrity interviews, game shows, by providing in-studio meals to the needy and…on two consecutive weeks, handing out baby girls to childless couples.
Hussain, a bespectacled 41-year-old with a neatly trimmed beard, gave away two abandoned infant girls to childless families last month and plans to give away a baby boy this week.
Hussain has come under severe international media coverage and public criticism of the baby give-aways and has seen him vigorously deny that he is pulling out all the stops to maximise ratings in a competitive Ramadan TV market.
"It is not like parents come in the show, and (we) deliver the baby like a prize. What prize? It is rubbish to say 'who wants to win a baby?'" he told AFP on the sidelines of his chat show.
Hussain insists the two couples were pre-screened for their suitability as parents, and says he is right to find good homes for abandoned babies in a country without official laws of adoption.
"We are trying to create an environment in the society for those people who are needy and want to adopt babies," Hussain said.
"It is not commercialisation, it is not showbiz. It is real Islam. Where are the actors? Where are actress? I have not seen any actors or actress here," he added.
The babies given away on the show were associated with an NGO, the Chhippa Welfare Association, which receives around 15 abandoned babies per month.