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World News

Christian Miss Universe contestant becomes Pakistan's first-ever, amid national backlash

by Will Hobbs

Pakistan's first ever Miss Universe contestant has been condemned by the county's government officials.

It's after Erica Robin, a 24 year old Christian, won the inaugural Miss Universe Pakistan pageant held in the Maldives.

A deeply conservative Muslim-majority country, Pakistan has never before participated in the global Miss Universe competition.

Religious leaders and politicians, including the country’s caretaker prime minister, have voiced strong disapproval. The government has also asked the country’s intelligence agency to investigate the organisers of the pageant, and how they were able to hold the competition seemingly in the country’s name without the government’s approval.

PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar described the staging of the Maldives pageant a “shameful act” and an “insult and exploitation of women of Pakistan”.

It's not known whether the model will be allowed to take part in the 72nd Global Miss Universe Pageant to be held in El Salvador in November.

"It feels great to represent Pakistan. But I don't understand where the backlash is coming from. I think it is this idea that I would be parading in a swimsuit in a room full of men,"  Robin told the BBC.

In the pageant's selection round, when asked one thing she wanted to do for her country, Robin said: "I would want to change this mindset that Pakistan is a backward country."

In 1973, Pakistan's parliament declared the country an Islamic Republic and Islam as the state religion.

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