In July 2013 Nickelodeon Pakistan launched a ground-breaking new series, Burka Avenger.
The series follows the adventures of Jiya, a schoolteacher with a crime-fighting, injustice-busting alter ego known as the Burka Avenger.
Now into its fourth season, Jiya has donned her burka to fight corrupt politicians, provide polio vaccines and expose match-fixing in cricket. In the very first episode, Jiya fights to keep a girls’ school open.
Armed with a pen and a book, the Burka Avenger practises a form of martial arts dubbed “Takht Kabaddi.”
She doesn’t wear a burka during her life as Jiya, but as the Burka Avenger she uses it to conceal her identity.
The garment also doubles as a gliding wingsuit - she’s prone to launching herself out of a catapult in order to get to the action quickly.
The show’s creator, Pakistani pop star Aaron Haroon Rashid says the Burka isn’t a traditional superhero outfit, but that was intentional.
“I didn’t want her dressed like Wonder Woman or Catwoman,” he told NBC. “I didn’t want to sexualise her. It’s not about what she looks like, it’s about what she is doing.”
Rashid said he wanted to character to be an inspiration for girls, and that it would be good for boys to see strong women.
The show has been dubbed into several languages and launched in Afghanistan and India as well.
Of course, being a kids’ show, it’s also accompanied by a heavy amount of merchandise and even themed birthday cakes.