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#Fighter: After the Taliban, Pakistan’s ‘Burqa Avenger’ turns her attention to Polio

 

A sharp increase in the number of Polio cases in Pakistan has caused widespread concern among health authorities around the world.

85 percent of all global cases of the crippling disease this year were recorded in Pakistan with the World Health Organization blaming Islamic extremists - who believe that medical teams carrying out vaccinations are western agents sent to "sterilize" the country's children - as well as government ineptitude.

Health authorities however, have now received support from a rather unlikely source, the 'Burka Avenger', Pakistan's first animated female superhero, whose previous foes have included (animated versions) of Taliban insurgents. 

The cartoon - created by Pakistani pop star Aaron Haroon Rashid - features 'Jiya', school teacher by day who dons a full-body Burka by night to fight extremists trying to shut down girl's schools.

Her main foes are a corrupt politician and Baba Bandook, an evil magician with a bushy black beard meant to look like a Taliban commander and who raises the question, "What business do women have with education?"

After the Taliban, animators have turned their attention to polio, a disease that is endemic in Pakistan and mainly affects children under the age of five.

It is transmitted through contaminated food and water and infects patient's central nervous system, causing paralysis and often, death.

Haroon Rashid said: "We always have a social issue or a social message that is the centerpiece of each show.  And of course, with the rising number of polio cases…the situation is alarming."

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