Yes, you read the title correctly. Who needs adoption, invitro fertilization, surrogate mothers or foster care when you can just win a baby? A game show airing in Pakistan does just that. TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain gives away abandoned babies as prizes during his prime-time game show!
His show — Aman Ramazan — has been dubbed Pakistan’s version of The Price Is Right, with members of the 500-strong audience receiving prizes in exchange for answering questions on the Quran.
The giveaway bonanza includes motorbikes, microwave ovens, washing machines and fridges.
He also cooks while men sing Islamic hymns and discusses religion with children in a garden full of rabbits, snakes and goats.
The baby girls given away on the show were found by an NGO, the Chhipa Welfare Association, which says it receives up to 15 abandoned babies a month.
“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?” said Ramzan Chhipa, who runs the organization.
“We didn’t just give the baby away. We have our own vetting procedure. This couple was already registered with us and had four or five sessions with us.”We’ve created a symbol of peace and love, that’s our show’s theme — to spread love. I’m setting an example. Giving a childless couple an abandoned child. But, the couple didn’t know they would be handed a newborn when they were invited to take part in the show and paperwork was not processed before the live broadcast.
So this unsuspecting couple went on the show expecting to win a new microwave came home with a new baby? You’d think they’d be pissed? But they weren’t!
“I was really shocked at first. I couldn’t believe we were being given this baby girl,” said Suriya Bilqees, now a mother of a two-week old. “I was extremely happy.”
Not everyone in Pakistan is pleased with the baby give-a-way. Many feel that it’s a ratings gimmick and unscrupulous. Outraged people flocked to the NGO’s Facebook page to leave comments of disgust:
“shame shame. First u call the baby “unwanted” then u gift it on TV. U belittle human beings. u insult “Insaan”. U Chippa U r Cheap. u action is cheap. u went to cheap show of cheap Aamir Hamaqat.”
“Shame on you to make it a game show event, what will these children feel when they will grow up. Do a good deed with your right hand that left would not know. نیکی ایک ہاتھ سے کر کے دوسرے کو خبر نہ ہو، Children are not game show trophies Sir, you are reckless. Saving babies on one hand and vying for cheap publicity on the other.”
But Hussein believes he’s doing something good during Ramadan. “These are the disenfranchised babies that grow up to be street kids and used for suicide bombing attacks. We have tried to show an alternative. Telling people to take these kids off the rubbish on the streets, raise them and make them a responsible citizen, not to destroy society through terrorism,” he said.
Imagine this happening in the U.S. You go up to spin the wheel on “The Price Is Right”, and it stops on “Baby”.