The Evolution of Miss Pakistan World: From Ottawa to Lahore

The Miss Pakistan World organization, founded in Ottawa, Canada, in 2002, has experienced a transformative journey. Relocating to Toronto in 2004, the organization solidified its presence in the Canadian pageant scene. However, the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a significant shift, with Lahore emerging as the new epicenter of Pakistan’s beauty pageant industry. This transition, spearheaded by Sonia Ahmed, marked a pivotal moment in the history of Pakistani pageantry.

The inaugural crowning ceremony in Lahore signaled the start of an annual tradition. Since 2020, Lahore has been at the forefront of the pageant industry in Pakistan. Areej Chaudhary’s crowning as the first beauty queen in Pakistan set a precedent for many more titles to be awarded in subsequent years.

Sonia Ahmed, the President of Miss Pakistan World, has been a driving force behind this transformation. She articulated her vision, stating, “I believe that all girls can contribute to the pageant industry as there are so many pageants of all levels. I don’t feel comfortable getting Pakistani girls to compete for just one title. If they are eligible, we welcome them to the ceremony, prepare them, and send them to international pageants. Given our limited numbers, the best approach is to provide opportunities for these girls to represent Pakistan.”

Dr. Shafaq Akhtar, crowned Miss Pakistan Universal, was instrumental in bringing international recognition to Pakistan. Recently married, she now holds the title of Mrs. Pakistan World 2024, marking her seventh winning title. Trained by a certified pageant coach in Malaysia, Dr. Akhtar has been coaching new participants since 2023 and continues to mentor the 2024 batch.

Sonia Ahmed emphasized the organization’s commitment to supporting participants, saying, “We subsidize everything for our girls because pageant training is crucial. Dr. Shafaq has not only won titles but has also significantly contributed to pageantry. She now focuses on training girls for future competitions. Everything is by Pakistanis and for Pakistanis.”

The winners of the 2024 titles represent a diverse and accomplished group:

  • Wajiha Ihsan – Miss Pakistan World 2024, a software engineer based in New Zealand.
  • Usman Janjua – Mr. Pakistan World 2024, an international model in the UK.
  • Dr. Shafaq Akhtar – Mrs. Pakistan World 2024, a seasoned titleholder.
  • Dr. Rabail Aslam – Ms. Pakistan World 2024, a pathologist from the USA.
  • Ali Javaid – Mr. Pakistan Universal 2024, a 19-year-old aspiring actor from Karachi.
  • Kokab Mahmood – Miss Pakistan Universal 2024, an airline industry professional and swimming instructor from the UK.
  • Mehwish Butt – Miss Pakistan Global 2024, a pathologist studying at Sargodha Medical College.

These winners will represent Pakistan on the international stage in 2024, showcasing the nation’s talent and diversity. Sonia Ahmed remarked, “We always want to encourage girls and boys with strong educational backgrounds. It’s important to highlight that career-oriented individuals can participate in pageantry, which is distinct from the modeling industry. These participants are not models; they are doctors, lawyers, software engineers—the true face of Pakistan. They balance their careers, families, and pageant life, embodying the strength and ambition of Pakistani women.”

The Miss Pakistan World organization continues to evolve, fostering a new generation of pageant participants who are not only beautiful but also highly accomplished professionals. Through their efforts, they are reshaping the perception of beauty pageants in Pakistan and promoting a modern, progressive image of the country on the global stage.

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