https://pakistan.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_pf/features/2017/09/22/feature-01
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'Pakistan Girl' aims to inspire youth to fight injustice

AFP

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A man reads a copy of the 'Pakistan Girl' comic series September 15 in Islamabad. Pakistan's newest superheroine has vowed to battle corruption and protect battered women, as her creator tries to inspire the next generation to fight injustice. [Farooq Naeem/AFP]

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's newest superheroine has vowed to battle corruption and protect battered women, as her creator tries to inspire the next generation to fight injustice in a deeply patriarchal society.

The new "Pakistan Girl" comic series is based on Sarah, a normal teenager with a pet cat who discovers she has superhuman powers after waking from a coma caused by a blast in her village.

The creator of the English-language comic says he hopes the superheroine will give young girls across Pakistan a role model and embolden them to fight corruption and violence.

"There's a huge shortage of female role models and superheroes in the mainstream media here," author Hassan Siddiqui told AFP.

"We wanted to create a strong female character for the girls in Pakistan and even the young boys in Pakistan that they can look up to."

Women have fought for their rights for decades in Pakistan, where so-called "honour killings" and other violence against women remain commonplace.

Social media users have welcomed the comic, writing largely positive reviews online and calling for more superhero stories in the future.

"Its a very brilliant step by you guys... I'm a big fan of Marvel and DC comics and looking forward for this too," wrote fan Syed Hassan Nasir on Facebook.

Siddiqui said he now plans to work on an Urdu version of the comic with the aim of reaching millions of readers across the country. He is also mulling a possible animation adaption.

Reaching a new audience

Pakistan has a high illiteracy rate, but hopes are the comic will help improve those rates among boys and girls.

New fan and school principal Saadia Adnan hopes the comic will provide a new way to help educate children, while also steering them clear of gender stereotypes.

"I think we should be teaching them through this kind of literature because that's actually the tender age when they are building their own images of their future life," said Adnan after browsing through a bookstore copy.

Past heroes

Siddiqui's latest creation follows the success of his earlier comic series "Pakistan Man" -- a moustachioed hero who battles one nemesis named "The Corrupter" and another villain responsible for banning Youtube.

"Siddiqui's first comic, 'Pakistan Man', sold like hot cakes, and I hope this book, which is already doing good with sales, will follow suit," said Ahmad Saeed, owner of Islamabad's biggest bookstore, Saeed Book Bank.

"Pakistan Girl" also follows in the footsteps of the country’s hit 2013 comic "The Burka Avenger", which chronicled the adventures of a mild-mannered teacher who fights gangsters trying to close down the girls' school where she works.

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