Explained: Why body of Pakistani TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain will be exhumed on 23 June

Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a popular Pakistani politician and televangelist, was laid to rest on 10 June. The exhumation order came after his children refused any post-mortem, which raised concerns over circumstances leading to his death

Aamir Liquat Hussain was a popular television host and successfully fetched high ratings. Image Courtesy: @AamirLiaquat/Twitter

The death of Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a former member of the National Assembly (MNA) and popular television host, is slowly turning into a whodunit with a local court in Karachi ordering for the exhumation and post-mortem examination of the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker on 23 June.

The court has also ordered for a six-member medical board to be constituted. Following exhumations, some specimens of Liaquat’s body will be taken to the laboratory for chemical examination to ascertain the cause of his death.

The court’s order came on a petition filed by Abdul Ahad, a citizen, stating that Liaquat died under “mysterious circumstances” and determining the cause of his death was important as the deceased was a lawmaker and a TV host.

Let’s take a closer look at who Aamir Liaquat Hussain was, the controversies he stirred in his lifetime and how controversy continues to follow him in his death too.

Who is Aamir Liaquat Hussain?

The former PTI leader, Aamir Liaquat Hussain, was 49 when he passed away.

As per a report by Geo News, the television host was found unconscious at his home in Khudad Colony and shifted to a private hospital in a critical condition. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t revive him.

Aamir Liaquat was a popular religious scholar, columnist and television host. He was known for his Ramzan transmissions on TV, though he was mostly popular for his antics during the shows.

He then made a foray into politics with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and was elected as an MP of Pakistan for the first time in 2002. In 2004, he was appointed as the minister of state for religious affairs and Zakat and Ushar Division in September 2004 by the erstwhile Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz.

He was also an MP in the erstwhile Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government but quit the party after the Imran Khan-led government fell earlier this year.

Controversies around Hussain

Hussain’s personal and professional life has been dogged with controversies. A day after he divorced his second wife, Aamir at the age of 49, got married to 18-year-old Syeda Dania. However, he separated from his wife a month into their wedding, after she alleged that Liaquat beat her after getting intoxicated.

In 2018, Liaqat’s TV shows were banned by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) over concerns of hate speech. Months before, in December 2017, he was banned by the Islamabad High Court from appearing on television “till further notice”.

He was accused of creating unwarranted drama on the basis of religion and hurting the sentiments of different sections of people at large.

BBC Urdu’s Abid Hussain wrote of Liaquat: “His antics on his game shows evoked admiration and disgust in equal measure. He’d hand out prizes but was equally at ease delivering religious fatwas and issuing sometimes inciteful, sometimes false statements against journalists and others. Expletive-laden monologues were mixed with sermons on Islamic values on his programme on Geo TV, arguably the most popular religious show in Pakistan’s TV history.”

Suspicious demise?

Following his death, no autopsy or post-mortem was carried out as his ex-wife Bushra Iqbal said Aamir’s children decided against it.

After an hours-long deadlock, his body was handed over to his family after a preliminary examination and submission of a report by the police surgeon.

Karachi DIG (West) Muqaddas Haider had earlier said that there were no signs of torture found on Aamir Liaquat’s body and that initial reports showed no foul play.

Certain conspiracy theories doing the rounds claimed that Hussain’s X-ray suggested his bones were broken. However, these reports remain unconfirmed.

However, the court ordered an autopsy of Hussain owing to which his body will now be exhumed.

This decision while celebrated by his fans, as also attracted some pushback.

Pakistani actress and singer Bushra Ansari appealed not to give more pain to Liaquat’s children. In an Instagram post, she wrote: “We all are in pain due to the sudden death of Aamir Liaquat but social media has contributed a lot to tarnish his image. Please forgive him. Why anyone would kill him… He was already dying. Do not give his children and him more pain.”

Hussain’s second wife Syeda Tuba Anwar called the exhumation order “extremely distressful”.

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