A new children’s show called “Burka Avenger” premieres in Pakistan next month. It features a female superhero in a fictional northern Pakistani town, and two regular villains meant to reflect the reality in Pakistan; a corrupt government official and an evil magician styled to look and feel like a Taliban commander. The show was created by Pakistani pop star Haroon Rashid.
Our protagonist is a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial arts skills who uses a flowing black burka to hide her identity as she fights local thugs seeking to shut down the girls’ school where she works.
Sadly, it’s a battle Pakistanis are all too familiar with in the real world.
The Taliban have blown up hundreds of schools and attacked activists in Pakistan’s northwest because they oppose girls’ education. The militants sparked worldwide condemnation last fall when they shot 15-year-old schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai in the head in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her.
Action in the “Burka Avenger” cartoon series, which is scheduled to start running on Geo TV in early August, is much more lighthearted. The bungling bad guys evoke more laughter than fear and are no match for the Burka Avenger, undoubtedly the first South Asian ninja who wields books and pens as weapons.