Pakistan to bail ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula

Islamabad, Oct 31 (IANS) Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said National Geographic’s famed “Afghan Girl”, Sharbat Gula, would be freed soon on bail.

Gula, now a woman in her mid 40s, was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from her home for forgery of a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC). Gula has dual Pakistani and Afghan nationality, and both ID cards have been recovered from her.

The court is scheduled to hear her case on November 1, the Express Tribune reported on Sunday.

“I think I will have to review this case because she is a woman and we should see it from a humanitarian angle,” BBC quoted Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as saying.

“If we withdraw charges against her, deport her, or give her a temporary visa to leave Pakistan, then we will have to take back cases against the officials who issued her fake ID card. They are the real culprits, and I do not want to let them off the hook in any manner,” he added.

Sharbat Gula 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”.

Afghan writers say she belonged to Pachir Aw Agam, a district in eastern Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan.

–IANS

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