Pakistan to deport ′Afghan Girl′ for obtaining fake ID card | News | DW | 04.11.2016
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Pakistan to deport 'Afghan Girl' for obtaining fake ID card

A Pakistani court has ordered the deportation of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan woman immortalized in a National Geographic cover portrait. She had been charged with living in Pakistan illegally on fake ID papers.

A court in Peshawar ordered Sharbat Gula - famed for her piercing green eyes in a National Geographic 1985 portrait - to be deported, a Pakistani prosecutor said on Friday.

Following a two-year investigation, she was accused of obtaining forged ID papers and living in Pakistan illegally.

Prosecutor Mohsin Dawar said that Gula faced deportation after five days, when her 15-day jail sentence was to expire. The court also fined her 110,000 Pakistani rupees ($1,050; 946 euros).

Afghanistan Sharbat Gula auf dem Bild von Steve McCurry (picture-alliance/dpa/Steve McCurry/National Geographic Society)

With her piercing green eyes, Gula's National Geographic portrait became famous worldwide

She pleaded guilty to the charges on Friday, her lawyer Mubashar Nazar told news agency AFP.

"We had requested the court to release her on humanitarian grounds," Nazar added.

Her four children will also return to Afghanistan with her. Gula has told media that her husband passed away several years ago.

Kabul's ambassador to Islamabad, Dr. Omar Zakhirwal, said Afghan authorities would help her resettle in her native country. Another consulate official said her fine had already been paid and that she will be released on Monday.

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry photographed Gula in December 1984 when she was 12-years-old at a refugee camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Her image was published in 1985 and became the most famous cover in the magazine's history. McCurry found her again in 2002.

Decades after she became a global symbol of the war in Afghanistan, Gula's case is once again bringing attention to the plights of Afghan refugees and the measures they are willing to take to avoid returning to their war-torn homeland.

Last year, the Pakistani government began a crackdown on Afghan refugees who allegedly used forged documents to obtain Pakistani nationality. Islamabad says it plans to send all of the estimated 2.5 million refugees living in Pakistan back to Afghanistan.

Over 350,000 documented and undocumented Afghan refugees returned home from Pakistan this year, according to the UNHCR.

rs/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)

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