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Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War 

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  #1  
Old 07-25-2013, 04:55 PM
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Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War

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Pakistan's television wars have intensified in the battle for Ramadan ratings with the country’s most controversial TV cleric giving away babies on his prime-time show.

Aamir Liaquat Hussain has presented two abandoned babies to childless couples so far during Islam’s holy month.

His show’s heady mix of charity, piety and kitsch have made it a hit with viewers but also brought accusations that he is using religion to generate headlines.

In an episode broadcast last week, Mr Hussain stunned the studio audience by promising the gift of a baby.

“This is the beautiful girl who was thrown on pile of garbage by somebody. See how beautiful and innocent she is,” he said, showing a baby girl to the camera.

He then introduced a shell-shocked couple who were handed the baby by the head of a charity that rescues abandoned babies.

The tearful wife described the child as a “gift of Ramadan” before her husband described their frustration at not being able to have children.

“These 14 years were full of hardships, people asked to go for second marriage but I remained patient and also asked my wife to be patient,” he said.

The spectacle was repeated for a second time this week.

The babies were presented by Muhammad Ramzan Chhipa, who runs the Chhipa Welfare Association.

“We have lots of babies that are just abandoned, left in the garbage or other dirty places,” he said. “Often we just find the bodies so our message that we make is to tell people to bring their babies to us, don’t just leave them.”

He declined to discuss how the couples were vetted but said they had previously approached his organisation to adopt children.

Pakistan’s raucous talk shows have huge followings. Controversy is never far away.

One TV anchor was sacked after she patrolled Karachi parks, hunting down young couples on illicit rendezvous without chaperones. Another generated headlines by barging into suspected brothels.

The battle for viewers is most intense during Ramadan.

Last year Veena Malik – a model perhaps best known now for posing nude in an Indian magazine – hosted a rival show, which featured an exorcism. Another programme featured the live conversion of a Hindu to Islam.

Mr Hussain’s “Amaan Ramazan”, broadcast by Geo, is by far the most popular – despite frequent accusations that the presenter uses the show to publicise extremist causes.

In 2008 he was the host of a programme in which Muslim clerics denounced members of the minority Ahmadi sect, saying they deserved to die.

But for 12 hours a day during the month of Ramadan he prowls his studio, singing, praying or holding cookery demonstrations in a show described approvingly by some as an “Islamic version of The Price is Right”.

Prizes – ranging from tubs of cooking oil to plots of land, motorbikes and now babies – are showered on an audience drawn from Pakistan’s less fortunate.

Viewers call in to donate money around the clock.

Bina Shah, a writer based in Karachi where the programme is filmed, said the stunts came down to a simple calculation of ratings and advertising revenues in a hugely competitive market.

“It just speaks to the commercialisation of everything in Pakistani society including religion,” she said. “And giving away the baby stunt on television was the worst violation of media ethics I can think of.”

Producers of the show could not be reached for comment due to their marathon broadcasts.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:44 PM
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Re: Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War


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Old 07-25-2013, 07:20 PM
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Re: Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War

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Originally Posted by Arsedestroyer View Post
With child welfare hardly on the priority list in a country like that - if that guy can rehouse babies in this way then so be it.

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Old 07-26-2013, 02:56 PM
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Re: Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War

crazy shit

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Old 07-27-2013, 05:28 PM
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Re: Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War

hmmm

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Old 08-08-2013, 03:30 PM
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UPDATE: Abandoned Babies Are Handed Out Live on Pakistani TV

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'Gift from God' or ratings ploy? Abandoned babies are handed out live on Pakistani TV

KARACHI, Pakistan -- A Pakistani TV star has drawn huge ratings after handing out babies abandoned in garbage heaps to childless couples live on-air in prime time.

Part televangelist and part game show host, Aamir Liaquat Hussain is the biggest name on Pakistani television.

His wildly popular "Aman Ramadan" program is broadcast for 14 hours a day, every day throughout the Muslim holy month which ended Thursday.

Social workers agreed to cooperate with Hussain's show after the first of three babies were found still alive dumped in the garbage as Ramadan began in July.

Hussain has always had his critics, who regard him as a shameless entertainer with questionable Islamic credentials, and when he starting handing out babies, seemingly like just another prize, there was outrage.

"There's nothing wrong with handing out abandoned babies to willing parents, but it’s the way he's doing it, in front of everyone, on live television," newspaper columnist Nadeem Farooq Pracha said. "You are not doing it for God, you are doing it for ratings."

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Pakistani television star Aamir Liaqat Hussain speaks with Surayya Bilqees after she was given an abandoned baby named Zainab during his show on July 21.

That's a charge strongly denied by Hussain.

"It's not a prize, it's not a game show, it's real charity," he said. "Giving away is the wrong word. We actually hand over children to needy parents."

Ramzan Chhipa, who runs one of this teeming and often-violent coastal city's biggest emergency response organizations, said the plight of the garbage babies is something that still touches the most hardened of his workers.

Chhipa has struggled in vain to draw attention to the issue, to raise awareness, to persuade desperate and impoverished parents not to abandon their unwanted babies amid the trash.

"We find eight to ten bodies a month in the garbage, mostly girls," said Chhipa, who runs the Chhipa Welfare Association. "This is the reason we are going on the show, to give the awareness, to give the information to the public."

Just a day later, Chhipa carried a small bundle along a narrow path between rows of gravestones before kneeling and lowering it into a shallow hole. Under an instense afternoon sun, the hole was filled with dirt and sealed. Chhipa sprinkled rose petals and said a brief prayer before leaving the grave - unnamed and unmarked.

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Aamir Liaqat Hussain holds abandoned child named Aman Ali before handing him over to a childless couple on August 2.

The body in a white cloth had been that of a newborn baby girl - perhaps two days old. She'd been found only hours earlier, dumped on a garbage heap.

Amid that grim and desperate side of life, controversy over the baby giveaways has left Chhipa a little bewildered. He said his organization also provided the parents, after careful vetting. "We have a strict check and balance system," Chhipa added. "We have applications from thousands of couples who do not have babies."

Hussain's show veers from discussions with Islamic scholars to a tacky quiz, during which he bounds around the ornate studio, up and down stairs, asking questions and giving away motorcycles, washing machines, cars, cell phones and his own brand clothing.

By mid-evening - prime-time - the audience has been whipped up into a frenzy.

At one point Hussain approached a policeman in the audience, still in his uniform, asking him three questions about Islam. The bewildered policeman didn't have a clue. "So, tell where the main jail is in Karachi?" He knew that answer and won a cell phone. The audience erupted with laughter.

"This is the real Islam," Hussain says of his show. "It's a celebration. Light talk, serious talk, game show, children's party, cooking. It’s a celebration."

The first couple who'd received a prime-time baby, Riaz-Ud-Din and Tanzem Riaz, confirmed that they had been through a series of interviews and knew they would be receiving the baby on live television.

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Tanzem Riaz described her adopted daughter as a "gift from God."

"We didn't mind doing it on television," said Riaz-Ud-Din as he cradled his tiny adopted daughter Fatima. "I wanted to help break the taboo about adoption. I wanted to give a message to other brothers and sisters who divorce each other or fight because they can't have a baby that they can stay together and do it this way."

They had been trying for a baby for 14 years. "It’s a gift from God. Its changed our lives," Tanzem Riaz said.

Chhipa is a regular in the show's audience, where he sits impassive as the prizes are awarded. He's now set up cribs outside the 60-odd emergency centers his organization runs across the city, urging the desperate to deposit their babies alive and anonymously if they really can't keep them.

"We are constantly doing this campaign to make people aware, do not kill a baby. Do not kill a baby."

He watched as another DVD player was handed out by Hussain to another ecstatic winner. There were no babies on this evening's show. Ramadan is now ending, and Hussain has topped the ratings by a mile. Millions have tuned in during the holy month, and it has been a goldmine for his channel Geo Entertainment.

Though for Chhipa what really matters are the babies. The rest is really irrelevant as long as the publicity serves to raise awareness and can save a baby from the trash.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:55 PM
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Re: UPDATE: Abandoned Babies Are Handed Out Live on Pakistani TV

Im just glad these babies are being rescued and given homes versus thrown into "group homes" and forgotten or allowed to die. Parents who will love you? All babies deserve that much......

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Old 08-12-2013, 08:54 AM
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Re: Pakistani Cleric Gives Away Abandoned Babies on TV in Ratings War

No problems here... abandoned baby is given a chance at life and a family is blessed with a baby win win... Why isn't Price is Right giving away abandoned babies?.... oh yeah thats right cause Americans are lazy and fucking stupid and rather a god damn TV or micro-nuker for the kitchen.

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