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Published: Sat, October 29, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

National Geographic's famed 'Afghan Girl' denies getting fake ID

National Geographic's famed 'Afghan Girl' denies getting fake ID

Pakistani prosecutor Manzoor Aalam said Sharbat Gulla, during Friday's court hearing, essentially retracted the confession that investigators say she made after her arrest.

The action was a "complete contradiction" of the Pakistan government's efforts to "win hearts and minds" in Afghanistan, he added.

According to media reports Gula Bibi is being arrested under forgery charges.

The NAT Geo famed "Afghan girl" was named in a case as one of the thousands of Afghan refugees who managed to dodge Pakistan's computerised system to get an identity card past year.

Steve McCurry, the war photographer who captured the image of the his "Afghan Girl" with piercing green eyes, found her in Afghanistan in 2002. "Mr Sartaj Aziz gave me his assurances for which I am grateful", he said.

Reportedly, Deputy assistant NADRA Peshawar and two other officials issued Pakistani identity cards to the Afghan family, who were later suspended from their posts.

Sharbat Gula then and now
STEVE MCCURRY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YEARS LATER Steve asked Sharbat to pose for the same portrait back in 2002

"Three National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) officials were also suspended for allegedly issuing her the ID card illegally", Geo News reported. The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal talked to the press and said that he would make sure that Gula is returned safely to her homeland.

From last several months, the government initiated a drive for unearthing those foreigners, especially Afghan nationals who have got the fake IDs. Soon after her arrest, Sharbat Gula was produced before a court of law and she was sent on judicial remand to Central Jail, Peshawar.

The news appeared a year ago when Pakistani officials confirmed that Sharbat Gula had applied for a Pakistani identity card in April 2014, using the name Sharbat Bibi. The photo, which became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history, was likened to Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Thousands of Afghan refugees have managed to dodge Pakistan's computerized system to get an identity card.

Pakistan has for decades provided safe haven for millions of Afghans who fled their country after the Soviet invasion of 1979.

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