Burka Avenger

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Burka Avenger
Burka Avenger.png
Series Title Logo
Genre Action/Comedy
Created by Haroon
Written by Haroon
Arslan Naseer
Khaya Ahmed
Shehzad Ghias
Nida Hasan Fancy
Ahmer Naqvi
Directed by Haroon
Voices of Ainy Jaffri
Hamza Ali Abbasi
Wes Malik
Sardar Xin Khan
Anum Zaidi
Amjad Chaudhary
Sara Rubab
Ahmed Ali
Theme music composer Haroon
Country of origin Pakistan
Original language(s) Urdu
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39
Producer(s) Unicorn Black
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Unicorn Black
Original network Geo Tez
Original release 28 July 2013 (2013-07-28)
External links
Official website
Production website

Burka Avenger is a multi-award winning[2][3] Pakistani animated television series created and directed by famous Pakistani rock star and social activist, Aaron Haroon Rashid (AKA Haroon).[4] It was produced at Unicorn Black Studios in Islamabad, Pakistan. Its 1st season was aired on Geo Tez of Geo Network TV, while the 2nd season is currently being aired on Nickelodeon. The show features Jiya, an "inspirational teacher"[5] whose alter ego is a burka-wearing superheroine. Jiya uses "Takht Kabaddi", a special martial art that incorporates books and pens, to fight crime. "Smart, colorful and provocative, this Pakistani-produced television program about a super-heroine sends a clear message about female empowerment that has the potential to affect an entire generation."[3] The Urdu language series first aired on 28 July 2013. It is also been aired in India on ZeeQ and gaining success[6]


Burka Avenger is set in the fictional town of Halwapur in northern Pakistan. It features a superheroine who wears a burqa as a disguise to conceal her identity while fighting villains. Her alter ego is Jiya, an “inspirational teacher”[5] at an all-girls’ school. Jiya fights corrupt politicians and vengeful mercenaries[7] who attempt to shut down girls’ schools, using “Takht Kabadi”, a martial art that involves throwing books and pens. Together with children 'Ashu', 'Immu' and 'Mooli', the Burka Avenger fights the evil magician 'Baba Bandook', his henchmen and corrupt politician 'Vadero Pajero'.[8]

The main characters include three children, twins Ashu and Immu, their friend Mooli (who takes his sobriquet from his enthusiasm for the vegetable of the same name), his pet goat Golu, Jiya (the Burka Avenger), the villainous magician Baba Bandook, corrupt politician Vadero Pajero, and Jiya's adoptive father Kabbadi Jan.[5][8]


Episodes of Burka Avenger feature music from artists such as Ali Zafar, Ali Azmat, and JoSH, as well as Haroon. Rapper Adil Omar and Haroon released a music video featuring the Burka Avenger called "Don't Mess With the Lady in Black". Unicorn Black also produced an iPhone game and a musical album including songs from the series is in production.[8]

Awards & Achievements[edit]

International Emmy Kids Award (Category: Animation) Nominee - Winner TBA[9]

Winner of the Peabody Award in 2013[10]

Winner of the International Gender Equity Prize at Prix Jeunesse International Festival [11]

Winner of the Best TV Show at Asian Media Awards[12]

Rising Star Award (Category:Animation) at Canada International Film Festival[2]

Named by Time Magazine as one of the most Influential Fictional Characters of 2013.[13]

Finalist at Prix Jeunesse International Festival (Category: 7-11 Fiction)[14]

Finalist at the 2014 Annecy International Animation Film Festival (Category: TV series)[15]


Burka Avenger received mainly positive reviews and praise for its female empowerment themes and also inspired many. Time Magazine rated Burka Avenger as one of the most Influential Fictional Characters of 2013.[13] In an article on Burka Avenger, the Huffington Post stated that “Disney could learn a thing or two”.[7] The Washington Post elaborated on this, stating "Pakistan’s new superhero makes the hoop-skirted, Prince Charming-obsessed Disney princesses look downright antiquated. She was not born into royalty. She does not obsess about her beauty. And she definitely does not want or need to be whisked off on some white horse or magic carpet. No, Jiya, or the Burka Avenger, is too busy defending women’s rights and education for all. Now that’s what I call a role model for girls”.[16] CBC News put Burka Avenger's rave reviews down to “its colourful animation, pro-education message and cross-generational appeal", going on to state that "many are proudly referring to the character as Pakistan's Wonder Woman.”[17]

Alyssa Rosenberg is a Features Editor of Think Progress. Her writings are based on the intersection of culture and politics. She commented that “American superhero stories could stand to think more about Jiya’s dual role, and how she turns perceived disadvantages or the tools of her trade into strengths.”[18] Pakistan’s Dawn News referred to Burka Avenger as an "international phenomenon" due to its content.[19]

Since its broadcast, Burka Avenger has received mainly praise for its promotion of women's education in Pakistan.[20] The Burka Avenger is Pakistan's first animated female superhero.[21] Reviewers have noted parallels between the series and Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani school girl who was shot in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen.[22] The fundamentalists in the series who try to shut down the girls school have drawn comparisons to the Taliban who have destroyed hundreds of schools in Northwest Pakistan.[23][24]


Much of the initial commentary on the series focused on Jiya's choice of attire when in disguise (the burqa) and peaked prior to the broadcast of the show, which aired for the first time on 28 Jul 2013.[20] Former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, commented on 27 Jul 2013 that “Burka Avenger is good, but I don't like the feudal stereotyping or the burqa. A dupatta (head scarf) could have done the job of relating to context." In an interview on Australian TV Channel ABC News, Haroon responded to criticism stating "Most superheroes wear disguises and a show about a woman not wearing a disguise would be a different show." When asked about the choice to clothe the superheroine in a burqa, Haroon emphasized that the character 'Jiya' does not wear a burqa, headscarf or veil by day.[25] "We chose the burqa because we wanted a local relatable flavor.”[26] “We wanted to hide her identity the way superheroes do. She doesn't wear the burqa during the day — she doesn't even wear a headscarf, or a hijab or anything like that; she goes about her business as a normal teacher would. And so she chooses to wear the burqa only as a disguise, she's not oppressed ... and on the other end of the spectrum, a lot of female superheroes in the West are objectified, and sort of sexualized in their costumes, like Catwoman and Wonder Woman, and that certainly would not work here.[25][27]


  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6590751/?ref_=tt_cl_t7
  2. ^ a b https://www.canadafilmfestival.com/2014-official-selections
  3. ^ a b http://www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/burka-avenger-geo-tez
  4. ^ Haroon (singer)
  5. ^ a b c http://burkaavenger.com/
  6. ^ "Crossing borders: Burka Avenger goes to India".
  7. ^ a b Davis, Lindsey (2013-29-07). “6 Lessons Disney Could Learn From Pakistan's 'Burka Avenger”. Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-13-08
  8. ^ a b c "Meet Pakistan's Burka Avenger". Dawn.com. AP. 2013-07-25
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ 73rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2014.
  11. ^ http://www.prix.disseny.de/files/prix/prix-inhalte/pressRelease/EN/Nominees-Equity-Prize.pdf
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ a b Alter, C., & Dockerman, E. (2013-09-12). “The 11 Most Influential Fictional Characters of 2013”. TIME
  14. ^ http://www.prixjeunesse.de/themen/festival/2014/finalists/finalists.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.annecy.org/annecy-2014/festival/official-selection:tv
  16. ^ Neel, Aly (2013-01-08). “Burka Avenger, Pakistan’s new superhero”. Washington Post.
  17. ^ O’Neil, Lauren (2013-29-07). “Burka Avenger promotes girl power in Pakistan”. CBC news
  18. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (2013-12-08). “What Western Superhero Stories Could Learn From ‘Burka Avenger,’ A Pakistani Superheroine”. Think Progress
  19. ^ Sheikh, Shazeb. (2013-04-08). “Spotlight: Black with a vengeance”. Dawn.com
  20. ^ a b Khan, Faiza S. (7 August 2013). "The Ridiculous ‘Burka Avenger’ Backlash". The Daily Beast. 
  21. ^ Kapur, Isabella (26 July 2013). "Burka Avenger: Pakistan’s First Animated Female Superhero Is A Teacher By Day, Crime Fighter By Night". The Mary Sue. 
  22. ^ Mahr, Krista (1 August 2013). "Burka Avenger: Conservative Pakistan’s New Animated Liberal Superheroine". Time. 
  23. ^ "Burka Avenger: cool or conformist?". NDTV. 31 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Ehrlich, Richard (2013-08-09). "New Muslim superhero is a Wonder Woman-like education warrior". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  25. ^ a b "Lady In Black: 'Burka Avenger' Fights For Pakistan's Girls". NPR. 31 July 2013.
  26. ^ Swasti Chatterjee (Aug 17, 2013). "Burka Avenger to be made into a Bollywood film". Times of India. 
  27. ^ James Oaten; Del Irani (August 11, 2013). "Burka Avenger: Pakistan’s first female superhero". ABC. 

External links[edit]