The interim Prime Minister (PM), Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to liaise with the UAE government regarding a private firm that has been organizing a beauty contest under the name of “Pakistan.”
This event selected candidates to represent Pakistan in the Miss Universe Pageant, even though it hasn’t been sanctioned by the Pakistani government, as reported by the News.
IB Scrutinizes Beauty Contest’s Origins
Previously, Prime Minister Kakar instructed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate the details of the organization behind this pageant and how they’re using Pakistan’s identity to gain traction in a global setting. Following this, the IB presented its findings to the prime minister.
The report explained that a Dubai-based business group, Yugen Publishing and Marketing, has acquired the rights to represent Pakistan in the 2023 contest.
It has launched a platform, houseofyugen.com, where it invites applications from Pakistani females between the ages of 24 and 28, regardless of their marital status.
This process commenced on 4 March 2023. Interestingly, the group from Dubai also holds the franchise rights for Miss Universe in both Bahrain and Egypt.
Moreover, the investigation by IB revealed that the Pakistani participants were chosen through a voting process from a list of 200 global applicants. One of the five contenders was declared the winner in a ceremony on 14 September 2023.
The report mentioned that in Dubai, the Yugen Group is the primary sponsor for this event. A person named Josh Yugen is said to be the National Director for Miss Universe Pakistan.
The Yugen Group has also teamed up with the voting application ‘Choicely’, granting pageant fans a chance to vote for their favorite contestants.
Participants and Winner of the Beauty Contest
Highlighting the top contenders from Pakistan, the five finalists included 24-year-old Hira Inam from Lahore, Jessica Wilson, a 28-year-old from Rawalpindi, 19-year-old US resident Malika Alvi, Sabrina Wasim, a 26-year-old from Punjab, and Erica Rabin, a 24-year-old from Karachi.
Voting concluded at 7 PM on 13 September, with Erica Robin emerging as the first-ever Miss Universe Pakistan.
Erica will now take part in the global Miss Universe contest, with participants from over 60 nations. This month-long event will end with a finale in El Salvador on 18 November 2023, where the title-holder from the US, R’Bonney Gabriel, will pass her crown to the new winner.
More Findings by IB
Moving on to the report, it indicated that despite the organization’s claims that participants represent their respective countries, such a claim may not be true.
Data sourced from the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) website revealed that ‘national directors’ are essentially business firms that approach the MUO to secure franchises made for specific countries.
Any corporate group, upon satisfying certain MUO prerequisites, can own a franchise license at an approximate cost of $1,000. These franchise holders do not need approval from the respective country’s government. Their only obligation is to ensure that the contestants are nationals of the said country.
Voices of Dissent Rise
Murtaza Solangi, the Interim Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, clarified on social media that the Pakistani government and its state are only represented by their official entities.
He added that no unauthorized individual or organization has been licensed by the federal government for such endeavors and hence cannot be seen as representatives of the state.
Renowned religious scholar, Mufti Taqi Usmani, also highlighted this issue, urging the government to be vigilant and hold accountable those responsible.
Jamat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan commented on the situation on platform X, calling it a disgrace to Pakistan and a mockery and exploitation of Pakistani women.
"مس یونیورس" کے مقابلے کے لیے نوجوان خواتین کو "مس پاکستان" کے مقابلوں کے لیے تیار کرنا اور مقابلوں کا انعقاد کرنا شرمناک ہے۔ یہ پاکستان کی توہین ہے۔ پاکستان کی خواتین کی توہین اور استحصال ہے۔ پاکستان کے اندر اس مقابلہ حسن کے منتظمین کون ہیں؟ کون یہ شرمناک حرکت کررہاہے؟حکومت ان… https://t.co/ECYVZJUiNF
— Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan | سینیٹر مشتاق احمد خان (@SenatorMushtaq) September 13, 2023
He expressed his concerns, questioning, “Who’s behind this pageantry in Pakistan? Who’s endorsing this disgraceful event? Is it a governmental decision?”
He further urged the Caretaker Prime Minister to immediately clarify his government’s stance and cease this objectification of Pakistani women under the pretense of beauty contests.