Aucklander up for Miss Pakistan crown

19:00 Mon Jul 9 2012
MSN NZ
Maria Mughal (Facebook)
Maria Mughal (Facebook)

A pretty Aucklander is in the running to be crowned Miss Pakistan World.

Maria Mughal will compete against contestants from the Middle East, Europe, the US and Australia for the pageant's top prize next month.

The pageant is open to Pakistani women around the world.

Although the competition is in its 10th year, it has been condemned by many members of the Muslim community worldwide.

The event has never been held in Pakistan because of security risks and will take place this year in Ontario, Canada.

Mughal migrated from Pakistan with her Muslim family when she was three-years-old for "a better life".

The 23-year-old is now a business student at Auckland University of Technology.

"Our village in Kashmir, Pakistan is right on the border [with India]," she told the New Zealand Herald.

"Since Pakistan separated [from India], there have been several wars ... and this is why we decided to leave."

The former Aorere College student said she no longer considers herself a practising Muslim.

"I am one of eight kids and the eldest girl in the family," she said.

"It was so hard trying to make my parents understand that living in New Zealand was a world away from Pakistan."

Pageant organiser Sonia Ahmed said many contestants had been threatened for taking part.

In 2008, the swimsuit round was removed because it caused controversy in the Muslim community.

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