Miss Universe Pakistan Erica Robin has responded to the backlash over her participation.
In September 2023, the Karachi-based model was selected as Pakistan’s representative for the prestigious beauty pageant.
While Erica’s success was praised by many, some orthodox figures questioned how someone could represent Pakistan in an official capacity without official approval.
Taqi Usmani, a religious scholar, was one of the first to express outrage and demand that the government take notice and take action against those in charge of the pageant.
Additionally, he insisted that any notion that these women were “representing Pakistan” be refuted.
Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan tweeted that participating in such pageants was “shameful” for Pakistan.
Breaking her silence on the backlash, Erica Robin vowed to showcase “the beautiful side of Pakistan” at Miss Universe.
She said: “I want to show the beautiful side of Pakistan, away from all the negativity and hate that we see on some media outlets.
“I also confirmed numerous times that I will wear a burkini as I have an immense respect of our culture – and it’s also my personal choice.”
Erica lauded Miss Universe, calling the pageant a great platform to “showcase the best of what women can achieve in any field they have chosen”
She continued: “This platform has evolved to advocate and empower causes to make the world a better place to live.
“A lot of people have asked me why I wanted to stay in Pakistan; my answer is very simple – it is my home.
“It is the place where I am grateful to live and where all my dreams came true.”
“It’s not perfect, but I feel I should spread the message of positivity and highlight the goodness in my country because there is a lot to celebrate in Pakistan.
“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.
“I’m not breaking any law by representing Pakistan on a global platform. I am doing my bit to quell any stereotypes about it.”
Miss Universe will take place in El Salvador and more than 80 countries are set to participate.
The winner will be crowned on November 18, 2023, when Miss Universe 2022 Harnaaz Sandhu will hand over the crown to her successor.