Pakistan to deport National Geographic’s ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula

The owner of a bookstore shows a copy of National Geographic magazine with the 1984 photograph of Sharbat Gula in Islamabad, when she was around 12 years old.
B.K. Bangash/AP

That image was taken in 1984 at a refugee camp in Pakistan after Gula fled her native country when her parents were killed by a Soviet airstrike.

She's spent most of her life outside of Afghanistan, and now a judge says she must return there after completing a 15-day jail sentence and paying a fine of about $950, Reuters reports.

Gula, who is also known as Sharbat Bibi and is now in her 40s, was found guilty Friday of "illegally obtaining a Pakistani identity card," the wire service reports. Reuters adds that Gula was taken into custody last Wednesday and spent part of that time in the hospital "to treat a fever and high blood pressure."

As The Two-Way has reported, "the case against Gula first made headlines in February 2015, when officials said she had used fake information — including a claim that she was born in Pakistan — to get a Computerized National Identity Card along with two men who said they are her sons."

The case was then referred to Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency.

"Gula is one of several million Afghans in Pakistan who've sought refuge from war back home. Most are registered refugees, but many are undocumented," as NPR's Philip Reeves told Morning Edition last week. He said the Pakistani government is pushing plans to repatriate Afghans from the country, with a deadline coming up this spring.
Update
A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the deportation of Sharbat Gula, National Geographic’s famed green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’ immortalised in a 1985 haunting picture on the cover, after she pleaded guilty to charges of staying in Peshawar with fake ID cards. A special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ordered Gula’s deportation to Afghanistan after serving a 15-day jail sentence besides slapping a fine of 1,10,000 rupees (USD 1,100).

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