‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula deported

KARACHI: Pakistani authorities deported Nat Geo’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula on Tuesday, according to media reports.

Quoting unnamed officials, the reports said Sharbat Gula was handed over to Afghan security personnel at the Torkham border after she refused the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s offer to stay in Pakistan.

She had pleaded guilty to six charges against her: illegal stay in Pakistan, forgery, cheating, tampering with documents and violation of the Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) Act.

A special anti-corruption and immigration court had ordered deportation of Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’ whose 1985 photo in National Geographic magazine became a symbol of her country’s wars, after finding her guilty of illegally obtaining a Computerised National Identity Card. The court also sentenced her to 15-day imprisonment, along with fine.

Sharbat Gula and the Afghan government, in an application submitted to the KP government, pleaded for her departure to Afghanistan on completion of her 15-day sentence on Nov 9.

The decision of stopping her deportation was taken on Saturday by the provincial government on humanitarian grounds and as a goodwill gesture towards Afghanistan. However, she refused to stay in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2016

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