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Miss Pakistan World on Mumbai Attacks

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"The recent tragedy in Mumbai was the work of misguided individuals who do not represent a specific religion, creed or nationality," said Miss Pakistan World Natasha Paracha. "The fact these young men may have links to Pakistan is in no way indicative of the culture and caliber of people that represent Pakistan. It is my hope the world views this tragedy with those thoughts in mind as we all mourn for the victims and their families."

Paracha, only the sixth woman in the history of her country to be named Miss Pakistan World when she won that honor earlier this year, also serves as the Chairperson of Pakistani Affairs with the International Renewable Energy Organization at the United Nations.

Miss Paracha is a 2005 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley earning a degree in Political Science and Business Administration. While in college she also founded the Pakistani Students Association.

Besides her work at the United Nations, Miss Paracha has created a non-profit foundation, Vision of Development, in which the goal is to reach out to the poverty stricken regions in Pakistan.

"My intention as Miss Pakistan World is to raise awareness and help the world understand the plight of my fellow countrymen," said Paracha. "I'm interested in dispelling misperceptions of the country of Pakistan, as well as aid in the empowerment of women in my country. The role of women in Pakistan is one of the most misunderstood notions in the world today."

Paracha's involvement in renewable energy and alternatives has lead her to forming the non-profit organizaton which is dedicated to clean water initiatives in the Middle East, Haiti, Libya and Brazil.

Q&A with Miss Pakistan World Natasha Paracha:

Q: What are your thoughts on the recent tragedy in Mumbai?

NP: The tragedy in Mumbai has left us all in shock. It is difficult to understand that such violent acts are taking place in metropolitan regions. First, the attacks that were carried out at Marriott in Islamabad and now this. It is important for the world to recognize that the individuals who carried out the attacks do not represent any religion, creed or nationality. I have family and friends that live close to the Taj and Oberoi and my heart goes out to all those innocent people involved.

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect about Pakistani women and the role they play in that society:

NP: In history, there definitely has been a misconception in the Western world that Pakistani women come in second compared to their male counterparts. However, women in Pakistan have played a major role in politics and activism. Pakistan is the first country in the Muslim world to see a female Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan also has seen great female leaders in the arts, legal arena and work force.

Q: You are involved in a non-profit energy initiative. What do you hope to accomplish?

NP: I work for the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization at the United Nations. IREO is an intergovernmental organization that works to promote the use of affordable, clean sources of renewable energy worldwide. It strives to make alternative renewable energy sources a key component to eradicate the current depletion of our environment by the use of fossil fuels that has led to our climate change and the energy crisis we are now facing. IREO strives to achieve global energy security, and bridge the energy divide with a special priority for the Developing and Least Developed countries in the world.

Q: What are your future plans? Do they include a run for Miss Universe?

NP: I would love to represent Pakistan in international beauty pageants, but for now my future plans as Miss Pakistan World include promoting the rich culture and traditions of Pakistan, empowering women in rural regions of the country through various NGO work, and promoting the necessity of literacy among children in Pakistan.
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