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Miss Pakistan has Islamabad scrambling to save country from 'disgrace'

Press Trust of India

Posted: Sep 28, 2002 at 1343 hrs IST

Shocked by a Pakistani woman participating in the Miss International Beauty contest to be held in Tokyo, the Pakistan Government has ordered its diplomats in Japan to contact the organisers and try to bar her from using the country's name.

Soon after photographs of 21-year old Neelan Noorani appeared in newspapers on Friday, appearing in the preview of the Tokyo beauty pageant as "Miss Pakistan", the government asked its mission in Japan to advise the organisers to stop her from wearing Pakistan's banner.

"The government has moved to save the nation from this disgrace," The News daily said in a front page story titled, 'Beauty queen or an ultimate disgrace', even while carrying the picture of Noorani taking part in the pageant.

"Miss Noorani, seen as a disgrace by many Pakistanis, was wearing ceremonial strap prominently inscribing "PAKISTAN", the daily said.

According to the organisers 51 girls would compete for the Miss International crown on September 30 in Tokyo.

Expressing shock over Noorani taking part in the contest, Tariq Janjua, the Secretary Culture, Sports and Tourism was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the government had nothing to do with "this shameful development."

"We cannot allow this," Janjua said adding that such contests were in total "contrast" to the social and cultural values of Pakistan.

"Our religion, Islam, also disapproves all such acts," Janjua said.

He said that he would be contacting the country's ambassador in Tokyo immediately to "use all possible means" to prevent Noorani from using Pakistan's logo.

"She may be an expatriate Pakistani, taking part in the beauty contest in her individual capacity, but showing her Pakistani nationality," he said.

Janjua said he believed that some commercial firm might be financing the so-called Miss Pakistan in her latest appearance for the Miss International Beauty contest.

"We cannot condone it anyway," he said.

Asked whether Noorani needed to obtain Government's permission, he said as per the new policy guidelines when cultural delegations or artists visit abroad they need not take a no objection certificate (NOC) from the government.

"Pakistan, being an Islamic state, has never encouraged anyone in the past to participate in this international contest. Besides being an Islamic state the country's culture also does not allow this", the newspaper added.

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