Tags: pakistan | game | show | babies

Pakistani Game Show Gives Abandoned Babies as Prize

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 10:01 AM

By Cathy Burke

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A popular Pakistani game show is now giving away abandoned babies as prizes.

Two baby girls have been given away to two couples, and a baby boy will soon be another jackpot on the show, which is broadcast live for seven hours a day during the month of Ramadan, CNN reported Tuesday.

Aamir Liaquat Hussain, host of a game show that's been dubbed Pakistan's version of The Price Is Right, defended the human prizes.

"At Christmas there's Santa Claus to give everyone gifts, it's important for Christians," Hussain said."For us Ramadan is a really special time so it's really important to make people happy and reward them."

Audience members win prizes for answering questions on the Quran.

"I was really shocked at first. I couldn't believe we were being given this baby girl," Suriya Bilqees said of a two-week-old infant she's now caring for. "I was extremely happy."

Another new mother gushed that her infant was a "gift of Ramadan," the Mirror in London reported.

"These 14 years were full of hardships…but I remained patient and also asked my wife to be patient," her husband, Riaz-ud-din said, the Mirror reported.

The babies were found by the Chhipa Welfare Association, a non-governmental organization.

"Our team finds babies abandoned on the street, in garbage bins -- some of them dead, others mauled by animals," organization operator Ramzan Chhipa told CNN. "So why not ensure the baby is kept alive and gets a good home?"

"We didn't just give the baby away. We have our own vetting procedure." He said Bilqees and her husband were "registered with us and had four or five sessions with us."

Adoption is not officially recognized in Pakistan and there is no adoption law. The couples will have to apply for guardianship at a family court.

Hussain argued the infants "are the disenfranchised babies that grow up to be be street kids and used for suicide bombing attacks," and that their adoption thwarts terrorism.

But Bina Shah, a writer in Karachi where the show is based, told the Mirror the stunts were a blatant bid for advertising and ratings.

"It speaks to the commercialization of everything ... including religion," she said. "Giving away a baby on television is the worst violation of media ethics I can think of."

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