Middle East

Pakistan television show turns to giving away babies to boost ratings

A Pakistani talk show host is trying to boost his program’s ratings by giving away babies on air.

Aamir Liaquat Hussain normally interviews clerics and celebrities and gives prizes like motorcycles, phones and land deeds to audience members for answering questions about Islam, Reuters reports.

But in the past few weeks he has given away two abandoned infant girls, and plans to give away a boy this week.

"If we didn't find this baby, a cat or a dog would have eaten it," Hussain said during one show, according to Reuters. The audience then cheered as he handed a girl to her new parents, who said they passed interviews and were selected for adoption.

The Chhipa Welfare Association, a Pakistani aid organization that scours garbage dumps for abandoned newborns, provided the first two babies to the show.

Hussain also has asked for poor and sick families to hand him their children instead of killing them, but it is not clear if families wishing to hold onto their children would be helped, Reuters reports.

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