Oops! Pak beauty 'condones' blasts

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 20.12.08

Islamabad, Dec. 19 (PTI): Pakistanis are poking fun at their own beauty queen who has told CNN she “condones” the Mumbai attacks.

Natasha Paracha, the reigning Miss Pakistan World who is a Berkeley graduate, reportedly said: “The image of Pakistan has been threatened with these recent attacks and I feel that now as Pakistanis we have to stand up and condone what has happened in the country of India and through these Mumbai attacks.”

Pakistani blogger Kamil Yousuf said Natasha used the word “condone” twice. The second time she said: “As an ambassador to my country, Pakistan, I feel that we as Pakistanis need to work together and Indians as well need to work and work on this friendship that we have and condone these attacks thoroughly.”

Kamil could not help take a dig at her in his post. “Dear Miss Pakistan World,” he said, “the word is ‘condemn’, not ‘condone’.”

“There are many silly but well-meaning things she says during this interview,” Kamil wrote. “For instance, that India and Pakistan have for many years been both friends and colleagues and that Natasha is somehow an ambassador ‘to’ Pakistan.”

When it was pointed out that India and Pakistan have been enemies for decades and asked if there is any sympathy for terrorists in her country, Natasha, who is based in New York, said: “...yes there has been cross-border tension but India and Pakistan have been working as friends and as colleagues for many years now.”

Asked how she would tackle terrorism, Natasha began talking about portraying Pakistani women as being strong.

On British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s observation that most terror plots being investigated have links to Pakistan, she said: “These are non-state actors.”

Natasha said: “Pakistan has been working to fight terrorism for a few years now and as President Zardari has said and Prime Minister Gilani has stated that we are going to work with the world community to fight this terrorism.”

The Miss Pakistan World pageant, which is in its sixth edition, is frowned upon by conservative forces in the country.

Kamil admitted that he did not know Pakistan had a Miss Pakistan World by the name of Natasha Paracha or that she was the chairperson of Pakistani affairs with the UN International Renewable Energy Organisation.

“I was actually quite surprised on both counts. But surely, if you were going to appear on CNN wearing a Miss Pakistan sash in order to give a statement on behalf of your country in the midst of a political crisis, you would take the time to learn the difference between two fairly critical antonyms. You went to Berkeley, for God’s sake,” he wrote.

One blogger, called hanginguppakistan.com, was however, surprised that CNN chose to speak to a beauty queen about politics.

“How can you logically expect profound statements from pageant girls who constantly regurgitate lines about world peace?”