Entertainment

In Pakistan, you can win a baby on a television game show

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor

A prime-time Pakistani game show is now giving away babies as prizes, CNN reports.

The show is broadcast for seven hours a day during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which host Aamir Liaquat Hussain describes as “a really special time,” and as a result says that “it’s really important to make people happy and reward them.”

Hussain is well known as a television host, religious scholar and sex symbol.

The game show operates by giving out gifts to audience members who answer questions about the Quran. Refrigerators, microwaves, motorbikes and washing machines have been given away as prizes too.

So far, he has given out two baby girls on the show, with a baby boy coming soon.

The abandoned babies are supplied by the Chhipa Welfare Association, a non-governmental organization that receives up to 15 babies a month. Its head, Ramzan Chhipa, explains that their work is safe and their mission pure.

“Our team finds babies abandoned on the street, in garbage bins — some of them dead, others mauled by animals. So why not ensure the baby is kept alive and gets a good home?” he asked, adding that the organization has its own vetting process.

“We didn’t just give the baby away,” Chhipa added. “We have our own vetting procedure. This couple was already registered with us and had four or five sessions with us.”

The couples who have won babies will have to apply for legal guardianship in a Pakistani family court, because there is no officially recognized adoption process or law.

To make for good entertainment, the couples were not warned that they would receive the infants prior to the episode being filmed, so the paperwork must be processed after.

Hussain defends his gestures as more than an excuse to bait the media for better television ratings by explaining that he is helping children and making Pakistan a nice place to live by saving them from future acts of terrorism.

“These are the disenfranchised babies that grow up to be street kids and used for suicide bombing attacks,” he said.

To “spread love” further, Hussain has another show, or rather, “symbol of peace and love” in the works — this time, the audience will be from minority religious sects, representing Hindus, Sikhs or Christians.

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