Pakistani TV Show Gives Away Babies as Prizes + Reaction

 

Lately the Pakistani game showAman Ramazan, has been causing a huge controversy over their prizes. The show has been likened to the western show, The Price is Right, in which participants answer trivia questions and leave with large prizes including vacations, motorcycles, and cell phones. The most shocking “prize,” however is a human baby. This has left some people torn in thoughts, questioning whether or not it’s actually beneficial for the child. “They’re no longer orphans and they were abandoned anyway” think some viewers. But what about this show’s obvious objectification of children, making them simply prizes to be won?

Some people complain about the long waiting time for fully processed, legal adoptions, however people need to realize that the procedures take a long time for a reason. Agencies background/criminal check prospective parents, perform home studies and interviews, and require financial and health evaluations, all to ensure that these people would make fit parents.  This game show bypasses the typically one to five year wait by supposedly enacting their own vetting process. But no one knows what their qualifications are or what standards they find acceptable.

Another disconcerting piece in the child give-away of this show is that the parents are unsuspecting and simply handed a baby on LIVE TV. In biological families, the parents have 9 months of time to prepare their home and restructure their lives for their new son or daughter. Similarly in the adoption process, couples have time  to process this huge change bringing a child into their lives will mean. On this however,  couples are completely unprepared to become parents.

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An expert with Human Rights Watch said:

“Getting children out of institutions and into families who will provide good care for them is critical. I think probably what triggers the [negative] gut response for people is that, on its face, giving a baby away on a game show doesn’t sound like a process of careful determination of what’s in a child’s best interest.”

The TV show’s host, Aamir Liaquat Hussain says:

“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. 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.”

If Hussain’s goal in giving children away as prizes is to make symbol of love and show his genuine compassion for these orphaned children, there are certainly better ways of doing just that. The lavish amounts of money spent on this show could be instead used to help the Pakistani orphanages or help alleviate poverty in the country so that parents could have the option of keeping their children. To me, this seems like a ratings ploy masked by an outward appearance of “good intentions.”

 

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