Nat Geo’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula will not be deported from Pakistan, said government official Shaukat Yousafzai on Saturday.
Sharbat Gula was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Oct 26 from her house in the Nauthia area for alleged forgery of a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC). A day after her arrest, the United Nations High Commissioner distanced itself from Sharbat Gula, claiming that she was not a registered refugee.
Sharbat Gula will complete her 15-day sentence on Wednesday.
after nearly two weeks in a Pakistan jail, the Afghan woman known worldwide for her iconic portrait on the cover of National Geographic will be deported to her home country of Afghanistan, a judge ruled Friday.
Sharbat Gula pleaded guilty in a northwestern Pakistan court to using an unauthorized identification card. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail and ordered to pay a fine of 110,000 rupees (about $1,050 U.S.) She has already served 11 days and could be released early next week, Mohsin Dawar, one of her lawyers, told National Geographic.
She had faced up to 14 years in prison if she had been convicted of using a fake ID.
Aside from her legal troubles, Sharbat Gula, a mother of three, suffers from hepatitis C. Her husband, Rahmat Gul, a baker, died of hepatitis about four years ago. When her lawyers failed to win her release on bail after her arrest, she was transferred to a hospital in Peshawar.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan also requested KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to not deport Sharbat Gula.
KP’s home department, following the decision, has also stopped implementation of the decision to deport her.
The decision was taken on humanitarian grounds and as a goodwill gesture towards Afghanistan.
During a bail hearing before a special court earlier this week, Sharbat Gula’s lawyer said she is the sole bread winner of her family and is currently suffering from Hepatitis C.
Earlier in the week, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ordered the deportation of Sharbat Gula after she serves a 15-day jail sentence and pays a fine of Rs110,000.
‘Mona Lisa of Afghan war’
Sharbat Bibi became famously known as the ‘Afghan Girl’ when National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984 and identified her as Sharbat Gula.
She gained worldwide recognition when her image was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12 years old.
That photo has been likened with Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
National Geographic also made a short documentary about her life and dubbed her the ‘Mona Lisa of Afghan war’.
Take a look: Afghan Girl
She remained anonymous for years after her first photo made her an icon around the world and until she was discovered by National Geographic in 2002.
After Sharbat’s family granted her permission to meet with the man who photographed her 17 years ago, McCurry knew immediately, even after so many years, that he had found her again.
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