TORONTO: Miss Pakistan World Zainab Naveed, who was crowned the beauty queen here in August, says she would rather like this beauty pageant to be held in Pakistan.
Since the pageant has never been held in Pakistan because of opposition from the Pakistanis, the 25-year-old beauty says those who oppose beauty pageants don’t know the difference between culture and religion.
She says says she is her own person and does’t care what others ays. Veena Malik is her role model, and she lauds Pervez Musharraf as the most progressive of the current crop of Pakistani leaders.
Q: You guys are trying to not only celebrate beauty but also change the image of Pakistan and its people as liberal, progressive and open-minded. But most people in Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora say beauty pageants are not part of their culture. Is it true? What do you say to them?
A: I believe that the organization of Miss Pakistan World is doing a phenomenal job in giving us young women an opportunity to represent our country in such pageants. However, the government of Pakistan opposes against
such pageants to take place in Pakistan. I strongly disagree with that because it holds the educated, talented beautiful women back from progressing in such fields. We have so much beauty, more importantly knowledge amongst our women today. If they were given the opportunity to represent their country in worldwide pageants, I am positive that they will make a name in history for Pakistan. Those that believe that pageants are not part of our culture lack knowledge. First of all, people need to educate themselves about the difference between culture and religion. Our culture is semi- different from our religion. Secondly, we live in the 21st century and culture is growing as humans are. We need to accept the changes around us, whether it is in technology, medicine or even fashion. Our culture continues to change for the better and we also need to change with it.
Q: Would you dare to go to Pakistan and tell people what is what – like Veena Malik has done?
A: I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and are free to do as they desire. Veena Malik is amongst those women who are doing what they desire and she is making a name for herself internationally. I believe that she doing what makes her happy and there is nothing wrong with that. The public needs to stop criticizing her and let her live. She is a strong-headed woman who stands up for what she believes in. She should be an example for all women who desire to make their dreams a reality. If I had a choice to go to Pakistan and stand up for what I believe in, I would definitely do that. I consider myself a strong-willed woman and I don’t let people put me down. In my opinion, I have done nothing wrong for people in Pakistan to criticize me. If they feel a certain way, that is their own opinion.
Q: Given a choice, would you like the Miss Pakistan pageant to be held in Pakistan or abroad? And why?
A: I would love for Miss Pakistan pageant to be held in Pakistan. This would give all the Pakistani women in Pakistan an opportunity to make a name for themselves and our country. However, with all the issues that Pakistan is facing today abroad is a better place for this pageant to take place. People and the government in Pakistan need to accept such pageants before we can even think about having such pageants there. What really shocks me is that, there are such cities like Lahore and Karachi where fashion world is really popular. There are fashion shows and modeling gigs that take place in these cities on a daily basis. Since our country has already advanced in such fields, then why not pageant. I am positive that Pakistani women who are already in such fields would love this opportunity.
Q: Who among the current/recent Pakistani leaders is/was the most progressive and liberal?
A: I am a huge fan of Pervez Musharraf. He is a man that embodies knowledge and leadership. He, among all the leaders, made Pakistan more liberal. In his presidency he worked towards advancing the country economically. He introduced more westernization in Pakistan and advanced the country in modernization.