Baby Giveaway Defended By TV Chat Show Host
A game show host in Pakistan has defended his decision to give away abandoned babies to childless couples live on TV.
Aamir Liaquat Hussain, who has handed out two baby girls so far, denied the giveaways were a publicity stunt.
He claimed the babies would have been "eaten by cats or dogs" had they not been discovered by the show.
Fatima is one of the babies given away on the show"It's not like parents (appear during) the show and (we) deliver the baby like a prize," he said.
"We're trying to create an environment ... for those people who are needy and want to adopt babies.
"It's not commercialisation, it's not showbiz. It's real Islam. Where are the actors? Where are actresses? I have not seen any actors or actresses here."
Mr Hussain (R) is one of Pakistan's most popular TV hostsMr Hussain is one of Pakistan's most popular talk show hosts and usually gives away prizes such as motorbikes, mobile phones and land deeds.
The baby giveaways came at the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when television stations battle fiercely for ratings.
Said Zulfiqar Hussain, a policeman from Karachi who was one of the prize winners, said: "I cannot express in words our happiness. There was a great void in our life and that is filled by having this baby."
Baby Fatima was given to her new parents on the showThe abandoned babies were rescued by the Chhipa Welfare Association, a Pakistani aid organisation.
It said a third baby would be handed over in the coming days.
While the Chhipa teams scour garbage dumps and other sites for discarded newborns, Mr Hussain also appealed for babies directly.
The host usually gives prizes like motorbikes, mobile phones and land deeds"If any family cannot afford to bring up their newborn baby due to poverty or illness then instead of killing them, they should hand over the baby to Dr Aamir," a notice on his website reads.
The children would be given to deserving couples on air, the notice said.
Many Pakistanis expressed disgust that abandoned babies were being given away in what they see as an attempt to boost ratings.
But Mr Hussain insists the two couples were pre-screened for their suitability as parents.
He said he is right to find good homes for abandoned babies in a country without official laws of adoption.
I am all for it. AS LONG as the babies are going to good homes. I think it's good they are trying to get the babies out of the gutters and homeless shelters. There are too many in there as it is.