Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
October 31, 2016
An Afghan woman immortalized on the cover of National Geographic magazine is to be freed on bail, days after being arrested in Pakistan on fraud charges.
Sharbat Gula, whose green eyes made her famous as a child refugee, was arrested in the northwestern city of Peshawar on October 26 for living on fraudulent identity papers.
“I think I will have to review this case because she is a woman and we should see it from a humanitarian angle,” Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on October 30.
The Federal Investigation Agency “should arrange bail as soon as possible,” Khan also said.
But he added: “If we withdraw charges against her, deport her, or give her a temporary visa to leave Pakistan, then we will have to take back cases against the officials who issued her fake ID card. They are the real culprits, and I do not want to let them off the hook in any manner.”
Pakistan has recently cracked down on nonregistered Afghan refugees living in the country.
The country hosts around 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, according to the United Nations.
Gula, who is now in her 40s, gained international fame in 1984 after a photograph of her taken by war photographer Steve McCurry was published on the cover of National Geographic.
McCurry found her again in 2002 in Afghanistan.
Based on reporting by AFP and the BBC