Last Thursday, 24-year-old Erica Robin made history by winning the inaugural Miss Universe Pakistan pageant held in the Maldives. However, what should have been a moment of celebration has turned into a controversy involving politicians, religious leaders and even the country’s interim prime minister.
Erica Robin, a Karachi-born model with a degree in Business Administration, emerged victorious from the innovative contest. Her victory marked the first time Pakistan participated in the Miss Universe world competition. However, the reaction against her victory has been swift and intense, with critics from various quarters expressing their disapproval.
Islamic scholar Taqi Usmani demanded that the government take action against the pageant organizers and questioned the idea that Robin was “representing Pakistan”.
Politician Mushtaq Ahmed Khan called the event an “insult to Pakistan” and questioned the identity of the organizers.
Robin’s trip to Miss Universe Pakistan amid controversy
Erica Robin’s journey to the Miss Universe Pakistan crown began when Dubai-based agency Yugen Group organized the inaugural pageant and invited applications from Pakistani women. Among hundreds of entries, Robin secured her place among the top 10 contestants and eventually made it to the top five.
Following her victory, she expressed her honor and humility at being the first Miss Universe Pakistan, emphasizing her desire to highlight Pakistani culture and inviting others to explore her country’s rich offerings.
“I feel honored and honored to be the first Miss Universe Pakistan and I want to highlight the beauty of Pakistan. We have a beautiful culture that the media does not talk about, the Pakistani people are very generous, kind and hospitable. Besides that, I would like invite everyone to visit my country and taste the most sumptuous Pakistani cuisines and explore our enchanting nature, our snow-capped mountains, our greenery and our progressive landscapes,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
Controversy surrounding the pageant intensified when Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s interim government called for an investigation into the event’s organisers. Kakar called the staging of the pageant a “shameful act” and an “insult and exploitation of the women of Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Murtaza Solangi said on X (formerly Twitter): ‘The government and State of Pakistan are represented by the State and government institutions. Our government has not appointed any non-state or non-governmental person or institution for such activity and no person/institution can represent the state/government. The end.’
Pakistan’s government has questioned how the competition was held without its approval, considering Pakistan’s conservative Muslim-majority status. While the fallout continues, it remains uncertain whether Erica Robin will be allowed to represent Pakistan at the 72nd Miss Universe World Pageant scheduled for November in El Salvador.
Despite the ongoing debate and backlash, some voices have emerged in support of Erica Robin, emphasizing the importance of representation and condemning misogynistic attitudes.
This incident has ignited debates about the role of beauty pageants in Pakistan and the broader context of women’s rights and empowerment in the country.