International News

'Afghan Girl' deported from Pakistan after she declined government's 'goodwill gesture'

Sharbat Gula rejected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's offer to stop her deportation to Afghanistan on 'humanitarian grounds'.

Pakistan on Wednesday deported Sharbat Gula, of National Geographic 'Afghan Girl' fame, after she declined Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's offer to stop her deportation to Afghanistan from the country on "humanitarian grounds and as a goodwill gesture", Dawn reported. Islamabad had decided against her deportation on November 6. Officials, who were not identified, told the Pakistani daily that Gula was handed over to Afghan border personnel at Torkham.

An application submitted on behalf of Gula and the Afghan government requested the Pakistani government for her release to Afghan authorities on completion of her sentence on November 9.

She was reportedly arrested for possessing a fraudulent Computerised National Identity Card, and being in possession of both Pakistani and Afghan identity documents. Her bail application was rejected by a special immigration court on November 3. Gula was ordered to serve a 15-day prison sentence and to pay a fine of 1,10,000 Pakistani rupees. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, and was hospitalised while she was in police custody, according to her lawyer.

Pakistan has recently launched a drive against people with fraudulent identity cards. The country is currently home to an estimated three million Afghan refugees, most of whom are unregistered.

The woman's photograph, captured by Steve McCurry at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Peshawar in 1984, won international acclaim and was compared to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting. Her image had quickly become symbolic of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

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