Youngsters get ready to become first Pakistan Idol?

Islamabad: After making waves across the world and in India, Pakistan is set to get its own version of the singing talent show `Pop Idol`, auditions for which began here today.

`Pakistan Idol`, the local version of the globally celebrated singing talent show that has attracted 460 million viewers worldwide since it was launched in 2003, is being produced by the Geo TV network.

Imran Aslam, the president of the network, said Pakistan has a history of producing talented musicians across genres.

"The Idol will be a platform for people who sing in private, in the bathroom or in small family gatherings. We will bring them together and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their hidden talent," he said.

"From among them, the people will choose one voice that will reign in our hearts."

Auditions for `Pakistan Idol` will also be held in other cities, including restive Quetta and Peshawar. Participants have to be between 15 and 30 years old.

Asif Raza Mir, managing director of Geo Entertainment, said the network was aware that there are security problems in Quetta and Peshawar but the two cities are equally important.

"So we will provide our contestants, judges and crew members with security," he said.

The show was first aired in Britain in 2001 and immediately became a worldwide phenomenon, with local versions in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and South America airing 199 series across 46 territories and attracting upwards of a staggering 6.5 billion votes worldwide.