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That is the message televangelist and TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain will receive starting Thursday after a Pakistani court permanently banned him from using television, social media and print media.
An Islamabad High Court judge, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, on Wednesday, approved the interim measure based on arguments submitted by petitioner Muhammad Abbas’s lawyer Shoaib Razaq.
Razaq told the court that Hussain didn’t have any Islamic degree or certification and yet called himself an ‘aalim’ (religious scholar).
Who is he?
Aamir Liaquat Hussain is a well-known Pakistani televangelist, former politician and self-proclaimed religious scholar.
He had been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 2002 to 2007 and served as the Minister of State for Religious Affairs till he resigned in 2007.
Since then, he joined media and has been hosting radio and TV shows. He gained popularity after hosting “Aalim Online” on Geo TV, a popular private TV channel. In 2015, he was assigned the position of Geo Entertainment. He is called the king of rating and the trendsetter of Ramadan transmissions in Pakistan as he is famous for carrying out 19 hour long transmissions.
Hussain has also been accused of abusing his influence to spread discord and hatred. “Liaquat used (TV shows) for a number of years to create social and religious divide in the country,” the petitioner alleged, adding the televangelist had handed out ‘fatwas’ which have put the lives of a number of people in danger.
The petitioner said that the TV show host had repeatedly violated the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority’s (Pemra) code of conduct.
Hussain is known for his bizarre mix of religion and entertainment which is often followed by controversy. He has been at the centre of multiple controversies, from getting a PhD in 20 days to allegedly arousing sectarian discord to giving away babies live on air in talk show.
In his TV shows, he is seen cooking, reciting Naat, discussing religion, giving away prizes in exchange for answering questions, and talking to TV audience in a garden full of animals.
Pakistan’s media watchdog Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has slapped several bans on his shows for controversial content.
In November 2016, Hussain joined Bol Network as Executive President, hosting talk show, Ramadan show and a game show but resigned a year later in a series of dramatic posts on Twitter.
On 13 December 2017, the Islamabad High Court banned Amir Liaquat from making any media appearances till further notice. Following the court orders, PEMRA has directed all the private TV channels and all FM radio startons to prohibit the appearance of Aamir Liaquat Hussain in any capacity.
The decision came a day after he announced to join a private news TV channel.
Top 5 controversies:
'Giving away’ babies
Well... for one thing, he tried to give away babies... for free... on live television.
In what is known as his most controversial actions, Hussain sparked outrage among public in 2013 for ‘giving away’ babies to childless couples during live coverage of Ramadan transmission.
The abandoned babies were found by a local NGO. Hussain was despised for giving out infants to parents as ‘Ramadan gift’ without any proper investigation or paperwork. He defended his actions as charity.“At Christmas there’s Santa Claus to give everyone gifts, it’s important for Christians. For us Ramadan is a really special time so it’s really important to make people happy and reward them,” Hussain was quoted as saying by CNN.
He's been slammed by Amnesty International
In March 2017, global human rights organisation Amnesty International criticized the Government of Pakistan for not taking action against Hussain for risking the lives of journalists, bloggers and social activists. In an open letter to the former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Amnesty called on the government to take swift action to protect the lives and rights of journalists, bloggers and other human rights defenders facing harassment, threats and violence. The letter, signed by Amnesty’s senior adviser South Asia, David Griffiths, termed the content of Amir Liaquat’s show ‘Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga’ on Bol News “a chilling example” of a “smear campaign”.
He makes hateful comments against a minority community
In 2008, in a morning TV show on Pakistan’s most watched TV channel televangelist Aamir Liaquat Hussain along with panel of clerics made hateful comments against a minority community and discussed their murder as an act of religious duty. Hussain and Geo TV was severely criticised for airing malevolent comments on a public platform. To the shock of many, within days of the broadcast of the show, two prominent Ahmadis were killed.
He re-enacted the suicide of a girl on TV
In 2016, Pakistan’s media watchdog barred Hussain from hosting Ramadan show “Inam Ghar” on Geo Entertainment for three days following his June 2016 episode in which he had unpleasantly re-enacted the suicide of a girl. PEMRA immediately issued a show cause notice to Geo TV for airing inappropriate content, including ‘suicide scenes’ in the show.
PEMRA statement said, the host provoked people to do strange activities, adding airing such content was in clear violation of rules set by the body. The offensive act by Hussain was widely criticized on social media, especially by the youth of Pakistan.
He uses profane language
In 2011, a controversial behind-the-scenes video was released via social media showing Aamir Liaquat using profane language and speaking crassly with his teammates during the show. In the same video, he was seen mocking his religious guests, impulsively singing Indian songs and referring to Indian movies.
@AamirLiaquat Shafaat is not gained by showing off and using profane and vulgar language! Be humble and shun hypocrisy, God help you!— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) August 24, 2011
This leaked video sparked a huge controversy in Pakistan’s media industry, revealing an inconceivable side of a TV host who was regarded as a religious expert. In his defence, Hussain accused the TV channel of creating the alleged fake video to smear his credibility, and stated that the video must have been edited and dubbed by “masters of synchronization”. However, The New York Times later reported that Hussain himself said “It was my lighter side.”