Aamir Liaquat, Pakistan’s larger-than-life televangelist, who put babies up for adoption on live TV, wrote speeches for the MQM and weathered leaked personal videos, passed away on Thursday. He was 50 years old.
His body has been moved to Liaquat National Hospital, where a post mortem is underway.
Liaquat was born in Karachi in 1972. He was married three times. He married his second wife Tuba Anwar in 2018 and soon divorced her to marry Dania Shah in 2022.
Hussain was a high-ranking TV anchor who had been named three times in the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre’s yearly publication The 500 Most Influential Muslims and was also on the list of Pakistan’s 100 most popular personalities.
Senior politician and MQM-P former leader Raza Haroon called Aamir Liaquat “extremely intelligent” and “extremely vocal”. He was well versed in journalism and politics and in fact, given his gift of language he played an instrumental in crafting rhetoric for Altaf Hussain.
“He was not always religious,” he said. “He was a regular guy just like all of us.”
He was heavily influenced by his elder brother, Dr Imran Liaquat, who was deeply religious, to put it mildly. His mother Mehmooda was the Majlis-e-Shoora deputy speaker and his father Sheikh Liaquat Hussain was the founding member of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation. He was first close to Pir Pagara before being with the MQM.
“Their mother was the main influence,” added Raza Haroon. “It is a loss. He was an amazing person.” Raza Haroon and other key MQM leaders saw Aamir Liaquat up close. Aamir Liaquat did not seek asylum to stay with Altaf in London, even though he was his “blue-eyed boy”. He stayed with Altaf Hussain day and night.
He had not been well for some time, growing breathless and his hands shook.
Aamir Liaquat’s political career was chequered at best. He became federal minister but managed to irritate Musharraf to the point that the party had to remove him.
The host was always embroiled in controversy from facilitating adoptions on his TV show in 2013 to leaked audios of him cussing while the camera was still recording. He has also fed contestants mangos on his show by hand, making for good meme fodder. No one can forget the iconic line, “aam khaye ga”.
Hussain criticised Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadi Community, during his TV show Khatmay Nabuwat in 2008. The show’s guest academics said that anyone linked with the Ahmadi organisation ought to be killed for blasphemy. Two important Ahmadi community members, one a physician and the other a community leader, were assassinated after these statements were made.
List of his TV shows
2001: Aalim Online, Ary Digital
2012 : Pehchan Ramazan, Geo TV
2013: Amaan Ramazan, Geo TV
2014: game show Inaam Ghar, Geo TV
2014: Pakistan Ramazan, Express News
November 2014: Subh-e-Pakistan, Geo TV
2016: current affairs talk show Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga, BOL News
2017: Ramazan Mein BOL
January 2016: Reports of film debut with director Syed Noor, with Saima Noor
April 2019: Announces he will play Burhan Wani in Ayub Khoso’s upcoming film, based on the Kashmir issue.
April 2020: “Jeeway Pakistan, Express TV