MNA and famous television show host Aamir Liaquat Hussain has passed away in Karachi, DIG East Muquddas Haider told Dawn.com on Thursday. He was 50.
The police officer said Hussain's condition deteriorated early in the morning after which he was taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital, where he was later declared dead.
He added that preliminary reports showed no foul play, however, a post-mortem examination of the politician would be conducted at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). Later in the day, it emerged that Hussain's family had refused to allow a post-mortem examination.
Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf adjourned the session, which started earlier today, till 5pm tomorrow (Friday) after receiving news of the lawmaker's death.
Hussain is survived by two children and was married thrice.
Family refuses autopsy, home sealed
Speaking to Dawn.com, police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said Hussain's body was brought to JPMC around 3:15pm. As per routine, X-rays were taken of the whole body and it was shifted to the mortuary for completing medico-legal formalities, she said.
"However, an autopsy could not be conducted as the family refused,” the doctor said, adding that the family had also taken possession of the body.
Jamshed SP Saddam Husain said the deceased lawmaker's home had been sealed, adding that the police's crime scene unit had examined the premises and collected evidence. He regretted that the family had refused to allow officials to conduct a post-mortem examination.
The officer said Hussain's household staff had told officials that he had complained about feeling anxious in the morning. "He came out of his room and stayed outside for a while, and later went back inside," the SP said.
However, when the staff entered the room later, they found Hussain's hands and feet to be cold, the officer said.
Faisal Hussain, a close friend of the deceased lawmaker, said that Hussain was disturbed after a video featuring him in a state of undress went viral on social media. He went on to say that Hussain was also upset as no channel had approached him for hosting a Ramazan programme this year.
"Aamir remained a controversial personality for various reasons,” Faisal said, adding that there were several question marks regarding his academic and religious qualifications.
"His parents were buried at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi graveyard and it is likely that he will be laid to rest there," Faisal said.
Career and personal life
He joined the PTI in March 2018 and was elected as MNA from Karachi in the general elections held later that year. He had later fallen out with the party.
He had earlier been a key leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and had parted ways with the party in August 2016, saying at the time that he would be leaving politics.
Hussain's true claim to fame, however, came from the years he spent in the media limelight. In 2001, he joined Geo TV where he hosted Aalim Online, a religious programme that gained him a large following.
In the years that followed, Hussain hosted Ramazan transmissions on both Geo TV and Bol News. The last show he hosted was Bol House with Amir Liaquat.
His antics in his Ramazan transmissions were fodder for social media memes, and contributed an air of infamy to his stature.
He faced multiple controversies in his career as a television host. A number of his shows were temporarily banned by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) over hate speech. In 2018, the Islamabad High Court had barred him from making any appearance on electronic media.
Condolences pour in
News of his death triggered an outpouring of grief.
President Dr Arif Alvi expressed deep grief and sorrow at Hussain's sudden death. In a statement on Twitter, he prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased.
"The president expressed sympathy and [prayed for the strength of] the family [to bear the loss]," it added.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed his shock at the news. "Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain led a dynamic life from journalism to politics. He proved his mettle in various fields of life from writing and speech," he said.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan said he was saddened to learn of the passing of "our MNA Aamir Liaquat". "My condolences and prayers go [out] to his family," he said.
The National Assembly released condolence messages from Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durani.
In their messages, they expressed their heartfelt grief and sorrow over the "sad demise of the late MNA and paid rich tributes to his political and social services".
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and spokesperson Murtaza Wahab also extended their condolences to the family of the deceased MNA.
Meanwhile, former interior minister Sheikh Rashid prayed for the bereaved family.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan also prayed for the grieving family. "May God forgive him and bestow his family and loved ones with patience," he said.
Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail said that Hussain played an important role in the political journey of the PTI, recalling that he always shared a good relationship with the MNA, even after he resigned from the party.
Hussain's third wife, Syeda Dania Shah was among those who offered condolences. She prayed for her ex-husband's forgiveness and that he be granted a place in Jannatul Firdous.
Additional reporting by Fahad Chaudhry.