Worry not! Burka Avenger will save the day

Published: July 25, 2013

Pakistan rises above dubbed English cartoons to have its own animated superhero. PHOTO: BURKA AVENGER FACEBOOK PAGE

Pakistan rises above dubbed English cartoons to have its own animated superhero. PHOTO: BURKA AVENGER FACEBOOK PAGE Hidden beneath a burka, the Burka Avenger fights thugs who try to shut down girls’ schools. PHOTO: FILE

Catwoman, Wonderwoman, Black Widow — all of them can just back off as Pakistan’s very own super heroine, the Burka Avenger, is all set to save the day. The desi superwoman is a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial art skills, who uses her flowing black burqa to hide her identity and fight thugs seeking to shut down the girls’ school, where she works.

The action-based cartoon, Burka Avenger, is a brainchild of pop singer and former band member of Awaz, Haroon Rashid, and will make its debut on Geo TV in early August. The cartoon is definitely a mirror to our society which suffers at the hands of extremists — those blowing up schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to oppose girls’ education. But limitations only give birth to heroes like Malala Yousafzai and, now, the Burka Avenger.

Haroon asserts that the purpose behind the cartoon is to emphasise the importance of educating girls and also highlight other major issues within the country. “Each one of our episodes is centred on a moral, which sends out strong social messages to kids,” Rashid told The Associated Press in his first interview about the show. “But it is cloaked in pure entertainment, laughter, action and adventure.”

While the West may raise eyebrows over the burka of the Burka Avenger considering it a symbol of oppression, Haroon explicitly states that by no means does it signify a dictatorial custom. Rather the dress was chosen in order to give a more local feel to the show. “It’s not a sign of oppression. She is using the burka to hide her identity like other superheroes,” said Rashid. “Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn’t have worked in Pakistan.”

The Burka Avenger’s true identity is Jiya, whose adopted father, Kabbadi Jan, taught her the karate moves she uses to defeat her enemies. In addition to Jiya, three young kids, twins Immu and Ashu and their best friend Mooli, serve as the show’s other stars. Each of the 13 episodes contains original music by Rashid as well as other popular Pakistani singers including Ali Zafar, Ali Azmat and Josh.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Lala Gee
    Jul 25, 2013 - 8:27PM

    Pakistanis are bunch of fool people seriously…..very broad minded..”Burqa avengers”………what about “Batmujahideen” or SpiderMujahideen the next movie or dil dil Mujahistan…………..lol…z…..

    ET:dont sensor…….as this is democratic society and we are free to express our point rather than be a narrow minded person…….

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  • PakThinker
    Jul 25, 2013 - 9:16PM

    All’s good but im afraid this may make Burka even more popular in Pakistan

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  • Asma Bashir
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:32PM

    Lets watch it…..its good to end with a moral…..hopefully acceptable for many.

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  • Jul 25, 2013 - 10:38PM

    Wow.. Cool. This seems to be a very good initiative as long as it give a good message to our kids. But I am most excited about hearing voice of Pakistani singers in this show. Lets see how popular it becomes and how many controversies are generated because of it.

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  • Hamza
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:45PM

    @Lala Gee: if you think that we are all free to express our point, then let them express their point, don’t criticize…. this is a really good concept, some thing that is good for our country and it’s image, please support it.

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  • Kanwal
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:12PM

    im glad the burqa clad woman has been portayed as hero and not as an evil person. the seculars/liberal are definitely not going to appreciate that. but it’s a good way to do away with stereotypes.

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  • shadytr33
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:15PM

    And now the people who used to say stop discussing women’s clothes will start criticizing the conservative clothing chosen for this fictional clothing.
    Indeed the battle is not for liberation of women (which is actually providing them education) rather than their choice of clothes.
    These men who say men shouldn’t dictate how women should dress will do exactly the same. “Dictate women how they(liberals) know better how women should dress* LOL
    Btw: Promoting education in women, good initiative !

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  • Naseer Muhammad
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:24PM

    Why not? A secular Pakistan must openly accept all view points minus the violence :-) xxx

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  • Kanwal
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:37PM

    @PakThinker:
    wts there to b afraid of? im glad it’ll help break the stereotype.s.

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  • Umer
    Jul 26, 2013 - 12:37AM

    @PakThinker:
    You are afraid of it ?? if no one has right to force someone to wear burqa, exactly same, no one has right to speak against those who wears it. If this mullah culture is wrong, u ppl are also wrong if you speaks against those who wears it willingly.

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  • hema
    Jul 26, 2013 - 12:49AM

    i froze when i read that the creator thinks that a burqa is being used to give a local feel to the show. if you go back 20 years would you be thinking of burqa as part of our society? the same said for saudi arab would make a lot of sense. this shows how much burqa has gained popularity in our society. well its an unneccesary peice of clothing, but far be it from me to tell a burqa clad woman that. let them go around compromising their own freedom.

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  • Ansari
    Jul 26, 2013 - 1:41AM

    One more attempt from intellectual bankrupt intolerant secular to malign and mock Islam. I don’t understand, why these liberals can’t live without mocking Islam?

    PS: I know it will be tough for you to publish this comment as ‘freedom of expression’ is limited only to mock Islam and Muslims.

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  • Wen
    Jul 26, 2013 - 2:02AM

    Lets see how soon the extremists (read Taliban) and those who oppose women empowerment (most politicians and feudal lords) issue a threat or legally BAN this show. My guess is by tomorrow PM few hours from now, someone should issue an objection.

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  • darbullah
    Jul 26, 2013 - 2:54AM

    All the problems facing Pakistan will get solved now.

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  • Asif Butt
    Jul 26, 2013 - 2:55AM

    Can there be any Copyright problems regarding using the Avengers word in it ?

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  • Mango Lassi
    Jul 26, 2013 - 3:54AM

    Bikini avenger awaited as bikini is considered a sign of progress.

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  • Fudge
    Jul 26, 2013 - 5:29AM

    @Ansari:
    LOL, why do you guys complain so much! Your comment got published, yet you came up with a classic conspiracy theory.

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  • sensible
    Jul 26, 2013 - 5:32AM

    why can’t we take anything easy, just chill and enjoy the show. We should appreciate the effort of people behind this

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  • Madiha
    Jul 26, 2013 - 7:29AM

    love the concept and it looks like so much fun. so proud of the creators!

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  • kanwal
    Jul 26, 2013 - 9:34AM

    @ET mods
    Is there a policy of stopping people from using same names for posting comments? The comment posted above with my name is not me and hopefully i would be shown a way to make sure no one posts in my name again or using the same name?

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  • bla
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:28AM

    ugh i wish they wouldve named it something different than “burka avengers” lol

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  • bla
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:28AM

    …something like “ninja avenger” wouldve made more sense and sounds more appealing

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  • Waqar Ud Din
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:40AM

    The one thing that i find lacking in Pakistan’s society today is sensitivity to other people’s beliefs. I am not a religious person but that doesn’t mean i am not sensitive to other people’s beliefs. This comes accross as very offensive. They have taken the ninja burqa joke one step too far.!!

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  • Gingo
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:49AM

    @shadytr33:
    On the contrary its the conservatives who will be opposed to the clothing of this character and will term it an attack on ‘Islamic Values’
    Just look at the comments of Ansari.

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  • Jul 26, 2013 - 11:45AM

    @Waqar Ud Din: – “The one thing that i find lacking in Pakistan’s society today is sensitivity to other people’s beliefs. ”
    The moment one think that our culture, our religion, our ideology and way of life is better than that of others, there start a feeling of superiority over others and then the sensibility towards other’s belief is bound to be lost or diminished.and a thought process even to listen other’s point of view is stopped. This feeling comes because we have our own parameters or measuring rod to judge the activities while others have a different parameter and judging other’s belief, religion, culture and activities on the basis of OUR parameters will lead us to a distorted, and in correct conclusion.

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  • The Economist
    Jul 26, 2013 - 3:31PM

    Burka must be banned all around the world as it is used to hide themselves by trouble makers.

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  • Umer
    Jul 26, 2013 - 4:19PM

    How can we tell its a she underneath the Burka? Anyone remembers Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid.

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  • Umer
    Jul 26, 2013 - 5:01PM

    @Umer:

    You are afraid of it ?? if no one has right to force someone to wear burqa, exactly same, no one has right to speak against those who wears it.

    Speaking against it is actually freedom of speech. That is allowed in a non-Taliban environment.

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  • csmann
    Jul 26, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Nothing wrong with Burka. All super characters has some kind of veil. At least it shows empowerment of women. And she will be fighting the bad guys and terrorists, just as Malala is doing in her own way. Just consider the character as Malala donning Burka to defeat the destroyers of women schools,and killers of innocents

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  • Tehreem Khan
    Jul 27, 2013 - 6:28PM

    @PakThinker: Afraid? :O What is there to be afraid about? Islam?
    tch tch…I am ashamed at your thinking!

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