Where is Batman?

Published: September 4, 2010

He will be looked at as the saviour of Pakistan, a national knight, instead of a provincial one.

Governments have come and governments have gone; the alluring power has warmed the seats of civilians and generals alike. Heads of state have been blatantly accused of corruption, dishonesty and misappropriation of funds. Ahmadis have been denied relief and bullet-riddled bodies have overcrowded morgues in Karachi hospitals. It feels like there is a pregnant cloud of gloom and bad prophecies waiting to unleash more lightning bolts.

What we need is a Batman. Stop smirking, I’m serious. But before you think I’m crazy, let me clarify that I am speaking metaphorically.

Unlike most superheroes, Batman possesses no special powers, and his abilities are reflective of his intellect, wealth and innate sense of justice only. In this respect, a Caped Crusader is the man of the hour for Pakistan, because not only will people aspire to be like him since he is not a Godsend, his regular life (much like that of Bruce Wayne) will keep him in touch with reality and the plight of his people.

Wearing a mask is another prerequisite, because that will mean that before Muhajirs, Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis and Pakhtuns can think of him as a bhai representing solely their respective interests, they will view him to be a Pakistani. He will be looked at as the saviour of Pakistan, a national knight, instead of a provincial one. So the mystery is definitely a bonus.

Having said that, I’ll admit that there may be a problem with the Bat-Signal; Batman is not telepathic, nor is he a person with multi-scopic vision. He relies on the police of Gotham city to activate a searchlight that he responds to, but doesn’t know about the crimes taking place in every shady corner of the city. In a utopian world, Pakistan’s law enforcers and Batman will form a coalition force that will make any criminal shudder in fear, and together rid the country of many evils. Maybe for the time being, the media can be the one that draws attention to crime scenes?


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • parvez

    I object. We need Catwoman
    Ok !! Compromise – Batman and Catwoman.Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com/ The Only Normal Person Here.

    Hey that was smart. I agree with you… Enough of BaDmen. It’s about time that we replaced D with T and get ourselves a Batman. So, how about having a “movement” in-search-of-batman? REVOLUTION of its kind. Recommend

  • Rishad

    @parvez LOL. well said though, i enjoy reading your pieces.Recommend

  • Haris Masood Zuberi

    Who’s willing to play Robin…? :pRecommend

  • http://fromkarachiwithlove.posterous.com/ Karachiite Khan

    An enjoyable read with a true and optimistic message.
    The media should indeed, continue to act as our Bat-Signal.
    Keep writing Atika.Recommend

  • Mohammad


  • Sonya

    @Mohammad: You are definitely right. But Atika is saying the same thing that only a Batman type ‘lunatic’ character can help enforce peace and justice in our society… and being a islamic country the peace would bring more faith towards our religion.

    The question still remains: Will the Batman will able to fly through the city amidst all the pollution and electricity outages? Can his suit stand the scorching heat of Karachi. If he faints during one of his brave rescue mission, will the mob help him to the hospital, or lynch him like a sialkoti mushtanda till death?

    Once we satisfy these questions… perhaps then the (Bat)man will arise …Recommend

  • Talha

    Unfortunately Batman got scared by what he saw at Sialkot and decided to stay away from that bat crazy country.

    As for Islamic Characters, Zia made things worse.Recommend

  • Bilal

    And lets all beware we might not end up having a BATMAN again (The ones that Army officers have) … Again as Atika said, its just a metaphor. A batman of USA? God forbid not again.Recommend

  • Daniyal Hasan

    I don’t think that we have a shortage of role models in this country or of appropriate examples of what people should not be. It hasn’t been that long since our country’s inception that the foundations on which it was founded on or the sacrifices undertaken by our forefathers can be forgotten and replaced with a need for fictitious characters. As for a masked vigilante patrolling our streets, I would pity such a man and the many labels he’ll get; American spy? Punjabi sympathizer? Pakhtun terrorist? or simply a nut job who doesn’t know what is coming to him. The media is politically biased and I doubt you need a news presenter or a news paper to tell you that there is something wrong with this country. In any case common sense would suggest that reporting a crime after it has been committed would not bear much fruition. All it takes to make a change or inspire someone is to walk out of your house and sweep the street you’re living on. For the time being I think we should stop dwelling on non-existent utopias and concentrate on what can really be done.Recommend

  • Wasim Ali

    I think Imran Khan is Batman. He is our National Knight & Savior of Pakistn. You Have given too many chances to our corrupted leaders & politicians. Please stop that & give him a chance. Recommend

  • rocket

    in a situation where Men with “NO BALLS” have rocked the nation ,I doubt the performance of a “BATMAN” as a lone ranger.however a combined effort by Batman, Superman,spiderman and may be a He-man can make some sort of difference. Recommend

  • Mr. Baig

    This article is an embarrassing concoction of pop culture and adolescent fantasy, especially for someone indulging themselves by participating in ‘journalism’. Please revise your knowledge of Batman and his role in Gotham City, and you will realize how and why Batman will fall short in delivering what the nation needs. I am willing to list a few reasons for you:
    – Batman is a ‘benefactor’ Gotham City, ask him to fix the issues of a country and he’ll probably fail.
    – His ideology is centered around justice alone. He doesnt aspire to empower the people of Gotham City by providing education or a higher standard of living but sticks to fighting the villians and thats it. Pakistan needs more than simple justice.
    – Bruce Waynes ‘regular life’ as you so eloquently put it revolves around being a socialite playboy. Unlike what you said, its his alter ego that gives him the ability to keep in touch with reality while he roams the streets. Check your facts before you write.
    – How is wearing a mask to run a country a good thing? Clearly you dont believe in people embracing each other openly and whole heartedly irrespective of what province they hail from. They shouldnt need a mask to be united, but preferably an open mind.
    – The country doesnt need a superhero without superpowers. We need a down-to-earth man trained in brilliant oration like Hitler was (a modified,do good version of course)-who persuades his country towards a more enlightended, educated, empowered future and follows the right philosophy.

    I dont know what in Gods name inspired you to elaborate so comprehensively on a metaphor that doesnt even skim the surface of the issues we are dealing with. Your self indulgent, narsassistic articles will not suffice if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist.Recommend

  • parvez

    Mr.Baig, Mr Baig, why so harsh why so serious ?
    I think the writer has treated the subject fairly and with no intention of it being a “serious” write up.Recommend

  • Murtaza

    Atika , when are auditions?? im up for itRecommend

  • Saadi

    I’d like to answer some of Mr. Baig’s questions.
    As u said, there is absolutely no theory that Batman will fail on Country level.
    As his idealogy revolving around justice, Hazrat Ali (R.A) said, a country(nation) can be well run by a non-muslim but cant without justice.
    Bruce wyne regular life was deliberately posed as a socialite playboy, so that no one can think he is the masked messiah.
    wearing a mask to run a country is only a metaphor of course as no one can do that in today’s world :)
    Hitler is not a good example as he only believed on what he think was right and did not care of the ppl. Recommend

  • Sonya

    @Mr Baig.
    Parvez correctly said: Why so seroius?
    I would like to ask you something too: If not a Batman, then what other possible sane solution would you propose for our country in current situation?Recommend

  • Sidrah Moiz Khan

    What a lame piece to be honest. Come out of the comic books girl and look out for practical and implementable solutions to life!Recommend

  • http://moresulphurthanclay.blogspot.com/ Javed

    Only Batman can pop up (hopefully in a nick of time) to save our day(pakistan’s, that is) but will the Batman survive the GHQ?Recommend

  • does it matter

    @Mr. Baig:
    let me start by writing im no writer! and that ur statement is just another example of people talking about what they dont know!!!

    just to put some things out there!!! you dont knowanything!(with all due respect to you) about Batman read the books, and you’ll find out the author is right in more ways than one.

    the whole point was to inspire people to stand up to the injustices of the city.

    the whole point of the mask was to show it wasnt a rich guy or a poor guy doing it, just a guy!!

    in that world he is the head of one of the biggest conglomerates rivaled only by lex luthor(bad guy for your information) and he sponsors numerous charity foundations (cares only about justice!!) and the whole playboy thing is just a disguise as someone put it Bruce Wayne is the mask not Batman!!

    And dude Leave the girl be, if you cant help her become better, then curb you’re rant!!
    and to the author the only reason i seem to be with you is coz nobody disses the BAT!!Recommend