In Brief

The superhero fighting for women's rights in Pakistan

First female comic book character is challenging gender stereotypes in a deeply patriarchal society

The first Pakistani comic book featuring a female superhero has been launched to widespread acclaim. 

Pakistan Girl tells the story of Sarah, an ordinary teenager who discovers she has superhuman powers after a freak accident and uses them to fight corrupt officials and protect vulnerable women.

“Donning a green cape, Pakistan’s national colour, the protagonist whips a man beating a woman in a market and saves a young girl taken hostage by a bribe-seeking police officer,” says AFP.

The English-language comic is the brainchild of Hassan Siddiqui, a graphic designer and art director from Islamabad, who says he wanted to create a strong female character that girls - and boys - could look up to.

“There’s a huge shortage of female role models and superheroes in the mainstream media here,” he said, adding he hoped the comic would challenge gender stereotypes in Pakistan’s deeply patriarchal society and help raise awareness about assault and corruption.

Violance against women and girls remains commonplace in Pakistan, with rape, so-called honour killings, acid attacks and domestic abuse routine, according to Human Rights Watch.

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