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Sat, 1 October 2022

Mental health kills

Former televangelist Aamir Liaquat's death is shrouded in secrecy. It needn't be so

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COMING TO TERMS WITH Aamir Liaquat Hussain’s unfortunate demise on Wednesday night was an eye-opening testament to the morbid reminder that death is an inevitable feat. The controversial televangelist and former MNA who had most recently abandoned his former idol’s party, the PTI, in the run up to the infamous April vote of no-confidence, had popularly spouted his disdain for the preceding Khan government. Liaquat, who had enjoyed his status as an incomparable media darling since he had entered the television business decades prior, had evolved in his thoroughfare of entertainment by stepping into showbiz with his belovedly erratic gameshows (where he would even give away babies) which would air alongside his conservative religious programmes. Unmistakably divisive, unapologetically misogynistic, and chock-full of reactionary viewpoints which would anger anyone laying to the south of a political compass, there are not many avenues on which to celebrate the late showman; but one must be able to appreciate his hustle to be as entertaining as one could be. This does not come at a cheap price, and it led to his downfall near the end of his life.

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Business had seemed to be as per usual in the Pakistani showbiz sector when Aamir Liaquat had somewhat suddenly announced that he had taken a third lover to add to his string of unfortunate spells of marriage; this time, unfeasibly, it had been to a teenager. Without much time to spare, desi media took to dragging his actions on social networks; being no stranger to tackling allegations head-on, he joined in on the fun, and posted memes of his own regarding the situation. Blogs took to reporting on his living situation, and, without missing so much as a beat, the man had found himself to have been grilled by millions across the nation. On the surface, it’d seem that he’d taken it all in jest. He went onto television stations and gave interviews with his newly-wed wife along his side. It’d been the first time he’d been called on to be interviewed for a while. His peculiar living situation triggered millions. He’d forgotten his wife’s age a couple of times while being questioned; his newly-wed companion had shrugged this red flag away. Only a matter of a month or so into his marriage, his house of cards came crumbling down. Videos of him in a state of undress had been leaked, that, too, while he had been using cocaine. “He tried to make me do it, too,” said Dania. Additionally, it has been heard that he had taken an overbearing amount of stress given that he had not been approached to carry out any yearly Ramadan transmissions this year, or any new gameshows, for that matter—a crucial turning point for why he may have taken to utilising narcotics for getting through a dry spell of job-hunting.

Underneath all the wit and quips he had perfected over his years of entertaining, however, it’d always felt that there was a sense of emptiness to this period of Liaquat’s livelihood. The signs of mental illness had been there for a while, but we, as a Pakistani nation, sheltered from such belief systems, were too closeted to recognise them as such immediately. Given the correct facilities, perhaps Aamir Liaquat would’ve been able to receive the proper treatment he’d needed in order to deal with the mental struggles he had found himself battling, whether that had been about a lack of seasonal work or otherwise. Instead, he was pushed towards numbing such with the use of euphoriant stimulants. In fact, upon the leaking of the aforementioned videos, Liaquat had declared in a mixture of cryptic threads and stories that he had decided to leave the country, and that “only God will be able to deal with” his ex-wives, who had supposedly wronged him. He vowed never to return to Pakistan again. On the eighth of June, he had retweeted a post stating that he had just completed his move from the country and performed Umrah in Saudi Arabia, on the lookout for a new home to call his own. On the ninth, he was found dead at his Karachi residence. Little will be known as to what exactly happened on this day; his children have refused an autopsy of any sort to be carried out. It is hoped that this is not to avoid the confirmation of foreign narcotic substances being found in his system; it would be better to use Liaquat as an example so as to prevent further such cases from occurring under the influence of stimulants. What can be certain, however, is that a declining state of mental health, as was the case with Dr Liaquat, must be dealt with much quicker. Brushing this burden aside will not resolve it.

He died alone, suffering from internal crises. May he rest in peace.

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