Dr. Shafaq Akhtar: A Distinguished Ambassador for Pakistan on the Global Pageant Stage
The year 2023 witnessed Lahore, a city renowned for its vibrant culture, becoming a hub of beauty queens, courtesy of Sonia Ahmed, the visionary behind Pakistan’s burgeoning Pageant Industry. This illustrious industry, which had its roots outside Pakistan from 2002 to 2019, found its way back home during the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Miss Pakistan Pageants relocating to Lahore.
In 2022, the pageant landscape witnessed a remarkable expansion with the introduction of new titles, each designed to enhance Pakistan’s international representation. Miss Pakistan Universal, Miss Pakistan Global, Miss Pakistan Supreme, and Miss Pakistan National were among the titles introduced. Notably, the titles of Mrs. Pakistan and Mr. Pakistan were also bestowed upon deserving contestants during the Lahore event.
Among the luminaries who graced the pageant stage, Dr. Shafaq Akhtar emerged as a remarkable trailblazer. Akhtar was born into a Christian family. She completed her schooling at Sacred Heart Cathedral school in Lahore and intermediate at Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore.
Akhtar is an orthopedic doctor, and she earned her medical degree from the University of Lahore. She works full time at a clinic in Lahore, Pakistan.
Crowned as Miss Pakistan Universal 2022, she achieved the distinction of being the first Christian woman to hold this prestigious title and, significantly, the first doctor to claim this honor.
What distinguishes Dr. Shafaq Akhtar is her unconventional journey. Unaffiliated with the modeling world, she directed her focus towards representing Pakistan on international platforms. A true patriot, Dr. Shafaq embarked on a mission to make a significant impact in the pageant industry. She ventured into Miss Aura International, Miss Planet, and Miss Elite, competitions that showcased her unparalleled dedication and determination.
Dr. Shafaq Akhtar’s foray into these global pageants bore fruit, as she proudly returned to Pakistan with two coveted titles. She secured the title of Miss Rixos Sungate in Miss Aura International held in Turkey and was awarded the title of Miss Humanity in Miss Planet, which took place in Cambodia. These accolades not only reaffirmed her commitment to her mission but also brought glory to Pakistan on the international stage.
Despite having bestowed the title of Miss Pakistan Universal on the 31st of May 2023, Dr. Shafaq Akhtar remains resolutely committed to her enduring voyage in the realm of pageantry during her second year. As she continues her journey as a torchbearer for Pakistan, Dr. Shafaq Akhtar is preparing to participate in two more international pageants before the year’s end: Miss Tourism World 2023 in China and Miss Face of Humanity 2023 in Mexico. Her words reflect her unwavering dedication: “I am perpetually committed to elevating the stature of my beloved Pakistan on the global stage. Pageantry offers me a fulfilling path, allowing me to enjoy memorable experiences and forge connections with extraordinary women worldwide, all while representing my nation. It’s a platform through which I introduce the world to the beauty and diversity of Pakistan. I am profoundly grateful for the overwhelming love and support I have received from my homeland.”
Dr. Shafaq Akhtar stands as a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating that passion, perseverance, and a deep love for one’s country can lead to remarkable achievements on the international stage. Her journey is a testament to the potential for global recognition that Pakistan possesses in various fields, including the world of pageantry.
Sonia Ahmed, the visionary founder of Miss Pakistan, expressed her admiration for Dr. Shafaq Akhtar’s remarkable achievements, stating, “In the span of just one year, Dr. Shafaq Akhtar has not only successfully competed in three international pageants but is also gearing up for two more by the end of this year. This extraordinary feat exemplifies the unwavering dedication and patriotic fervor that drive her mission to promote Pakistan on the global stage. In a matter of just around two years, she will have garnered five international titles alongside one national title, with hopes for more in the future. Such unrelenting dedication is truly impressive, and it is an absolute honor to collaborate with such hardworking individuals.”
Dr. Shafaq Akhtar is also a prominent figure in a compelling short documentary titled “Pakistan’s Minority Queen,” skillfully directed by Sonia Ahmed. This captivating documentary embarked on its filming journey in January 2022 and is poised for release in 2024 at international film festivals. The documentary provides an intimate glimpse into Dr. Shafaq Akhtar’s life as a Christian Pakistani residing in Lahore, illuminating her inspiring pageant journey.
Dr. Shafaq Akhtar conveyed her enthusiasm about sharing her life’s narrative with the world through this documentary, stating, “I am genuinely delighted to open a window into my life and illustrate how pageant queens work tirelessly for Pakistan, often with limited recognition. Our primary aim is to project an accurate image of Pakistan, revealing the incredible aspects of our country to the global audience.”