A Pakistani television show is causing controversy all over the world by giving away prizes that include cell phones, air conditioners, motorcycles, and babies. Two babies have already been given away and the show plans to give away another child.
The show is one of Pakistan’s leading TV shows, called Aalim Aur Aalam, hosted by Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a former parliamentarian and minister of state for religious affairs. Back in 2005 it was uncovered that he lied about his Masters and Doctorate Degrees, but today he is a beloved host whose show airs for more than ten hours during Ramadan and features celebrity interviews and games.
Hussain insists that these children are given away, in the name of Islam, to good families on a “merit basis” and not solely based on answering a question correctly. The children that have been given away so far have come from the Chhipa Welfare Association, a nongovernmental organization that receives and finds a dozen abandoned babies each month. Hussain stated that if the Association did not find these children, “a cat or dog would have eaten [them].” Many believe that the show, which already has very high ratings, is only giving away children to boost these ratings.
In Pakistan, there are no laws governing adoption, instead the chosen parents must only apply for guardianship in family court. This differs drastically from the process most countries, like the United States, require families to go through in order to adopt a child.
I was initially shocked when I saw this story on TV but then realized that it isn’t too far from some of the crazy stuff we see on TV in the United States. We all know how desperate broadcasting companies can get in order to boost their ratings. What I was more concerned about was the process Hussain, his show producers and the Chhipa Welfare Association have in place to ensure that these children are actually going to good homes. How closely are these families looked into? I got the impression from Hussain’s comments that they believe these children are lucky to be given away as prizes instead of dying on the streets. I agree that saving these babies is crucial but it is also important to ensure that they are actually going to loving families who can care for them. What do you think about this show and its prizes?
Photo source: Yahoo