Wrap your head around this: A 37-year-old San Francisco mother of two and real estate agent by trade has been crowned the new Mrs. Pakistan World 2008 (as opposed to Miss Pakistan). Seriously. Maybe this will clear things up a little: Saman Hasnain (who enjoys soft rock music and ghazals) is of Pakistani descent and the pageant is organized and held in Toronto because Pakistan doesn't allow beauty pageants -- you guessed it -- for religious reasons. How exactly the lovely Mrs. Hasnain represents women living in Pakistan is a lingering question (last year's winner was from Houston), but I guess that's why it's called Mrs. Pakistan World. Hopefully her rise to the top will be healing salve for a country who last week saw their female opposition leader Benazir Bhutto assassinated. You go, girl.
-- Brian Bernbaum