FO directed to look into UAE firm recruiting candidates for Miss Universe

Pakistan-origin contestants selected through a poll from amongst a pool of 200 applicants, says IB report

By
Fakhar Durrani
Erica Rabin who has been selected to represent Pakistan in the event final scheduled for November. — Instagram/ericarobin_official
Erica Rabin who has been selected to represent Pakistan in the event final scheduled for November. — Instagram/ericarobin_official
  • Org claims contestants don't actually 'represent' countries.
  • Solangi says "govt, state represented by relevant institutions".
  • Contestant from Karachi to represent Pakistan in event final. 


ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was instructed by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to contact the UAE government about a company organising a beauty contest to select contestants to represent Pakistan in the Miss Universe Pageant without any approval of the Pakistan government, The News reported Friday. 

Earlier, PM Kakar had directed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate who is arranging the beauty contest and using Pakistan’s name to participate in the international event. The IB has submitted its report to the prime minister. 

According to the report, "The rights/license to represent Pakistan for the contest of 2023 have been obtained by one Yugen Publishing and Marketing — a business group based in Dubai. The business group has created a website (houseofyugen.com) seeking applications from Pakistani women (aged 24-28, irrespective of their marital status) from 04.03.2023 onwards. The Dubai-based Yugen Group also has franchise rights for Miss Universe Bahrain and Miss Universe Egypt."

The IB report further reveals that these Pakistan-origin contestants have been selected through a poll from amongst a pool of 200 applicants from around the world. One of the five participants was to be crowned as the winner in an event scheduled on Thursday (Sep 14) at 7pm UAE time; the event was to be broadcast on the Miss Universe YouTube channel.

The report further says: "In Dubai, [the] Yugen Group is sponsoring the event and one Josh Yugen is learnt to be national director of Miss Universe Pakistan. [The] Yugen Group has also partnered with voting app 'Choicely' to give pageant fans a chance to vote for their favorite candidates. 

"Voting lasted till 7pm on Wednesday (13.09.2023). The winner will represent Pakistan at the Miss Universe pageant [that is participated in by] more than 60 countries, in a month-long event which will culminate in [a] grand finale to be held in El Salvador on 18.11.2023 when the current title holder from US, R’Bonney Gabriel, will pass on her crown to the winner".

According to the report, although the organisation claims that the contestants 'represent' their countries, the claim is not factually correct.

As per information available on the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) website, 'national directors' are business entities/companies that apply to the MUO to get franchises for a particular country. 

Any business group can apply for the franchise licence for a token fee of around $1,000 after meeting certain requirements of the MUO.

However, these licensees do not require permission from the government of that particular country and only require that the nationals of that country be brought to the contest.

Earlier on Wednesday, Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi had already clarified on social media that "The government and state of Pakistan are represented by state and government institutions. Our government has not designated any non-state and non-governmental person or institution for any such activity and no such person/institution can represent the state/government. The end."

The information minister had made this clarification while responding to The News Editor Investigation Ansar Abbasi who had raised the matter on X (formerly Twitter). 

"Who allowed five Pakistani girls to represent Pakistan in the Miss Universe beauty pageant? Either it was decided by Prime Minister Anwar-ul Haq Kakar or this decision was taken by any of his cabinet members or advisor? Can anyone represent Pakistan without the permission of the government of Pakistan?" he asked.

The matter was also taken up by religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani who asked the government to "take notice" of the matter and "take action against those responsible and desist itself from the matter".

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan also reacted to the news on X, calling it an “ insult to Pakistan” and “insult and exploitation of [the] women of Pakistan”. 

He posted: “Who are the organisers of this beauty pageant in Pakistan? Who is doing this shameful act? ... the decision of the government of Pakistan? Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar should immediately clarify the position of his government and stop this ridicule, and humiliation of Pakistani women in the name of beauty pageants.”

Daily Jang and The News had earlier published a story according to which five Pakistani women were to compete in the Miss Universe contest. 

The story claimed: "For the first time in history, Pakistan will be represented for the title of 'Miss Universe', the world’s longest-running and most watched beauty pageant. 

The top 5 finalists were 24-year-old Hira Inam from Lahore, 28-year-old Jessica Wilson from Rawalpindi, 19-year-old US-born Malika Alvi, 26-year-old Sabrina Wasim from Punjab, and 24-year-old Erica Rabin from Karachi — Erica has been selected to represent the country in the event final scheduled for November.