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Court rejects bail of Nat Geo famed ‘Afghan girl’ in fake ID case

PESHAWAR: A special court in the city on Wednesday rejected a bail application of the National Geographic’s famed green-eyed ‘Sharbat Gula’ in the fake identity card case.

The court rejected her bail plea after hearing arguments from both the sides.

Making her first appearance in the court on October 28, Sharbat Gula had insisted she did not deceptively obtain a Pakistani Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).

During the last Friday’s court hearing, a prosecutor, Manzoor Aalam said Gula retracted the confession that investigators say she made after her arrest.

The ‘Afghan girl’ was detained on October 26 in the north-western city of Peshawar on charges of holding a fake Pakistani identity card.

Gula – an Afghan refugee – gained worldwide fame in 1984 after war photographer Steve McCurry’s photograph of her was published on the cover of National Geographic.

Her piercing green eyes stared from the magazine cover of National Geographic in June 1985 and remained a mystery for the following 17 years. Later McCurry found her again in Afghanistan in 2002.

The famous ‘Afghan girl’ surfaced in Pakistan during the year 2014 but went into hiding when authorities accused her of buying a fake Pakistani identity card.

Afghan Ambassador expresses concern

Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal expressed his displeasure after her bail was rejected. He said that Gula had helped improve the image of Afghan refugees across the world.

He said that the NADRA was responsible for issuing the fake identity cards to her, while Gula had provided her name to them. He called on the government of Pakistan to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Zakhilwal confirmed that that Gula was not in jail, but was transferred to hospital as she was suffering from Hepatitis C. He said that the world was ready to grant asylum to Gula, but she had expressed a desire to stay in Pakistan.



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