afghan girl
Sharbat Bibi gained worldwide fame as the 'Afghan Girl' when Steve McCurry, a National Geographic photographer, clicked a photograph of hers at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984 and identified her as Sharbat Gula.Reuters

Sharbat Gula, the Afghan woman who shot to fame after National Geographic made her the cover girl of the magazine in 1985, will be deported from Pakistan probably on Monday.

On October 23, Gula, who is in her 40s now, was arrested in Peshawar after local authorities found her guilty of faking identity documents and staying in the country with those forged documents. She is currently serving a short prison sentence in Pakistan.

On Friday, Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal posted on his Facebook page: "With utmost delight, I announce that Sharbat Gula is now free from the legal troubles she endured over the past couple of weeks."

"She soon will also be free from an uncertain life of a refugee as she will be on her way back to her own country as soon as next Monday where she still is a beloved image and a national icon."

Earlier this week, Gula was denied bail by a local anti-corruption and immigration court which ruled that her lawyer acknowledged Gula had acquired the identity card even though she was not Pakistani. 

In recent months, Pakistan cracked down on millions of Afghan refugees living in the country, accusing them of posing a security threat. 

Some 1.5 million registered refugees and more than a million other unregistered refugees that have been displaced due to the turbulent history of Afghanistan are vulnerable to mistreatment in the current climate. Islamabad's new repatriation plans announced last year to send people back have seen a significant spike in numbers in the past few months as Indo-Afghan relations strengthened and those between India and Pakistan soured.

"Afghans used to be called 'Kabuli' in Pakistan, but now Pakistanis call them 'Hindus' because we signed economic agreements with India. They were telling us, we chose India's friendship so we should go to India. We were hiding in our shops and homes to avoid being arrested," Samihullah, an Afghani refugee, said. 

Also read
Quick Links