Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested National Geographic’s famous ‘Afghan Girl’, Sharbat Bibi on Wednesday over the charges of living Pakistan on fake ID cards. Authorities said, she was arrested from Pakistan’s Peshawar city.
FIA sources asserted that Bibi was arrested for forgery of a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) from her home. She had dual Afghan and Pakistani nationality. FIA recovered both cards from her.
National Database and Registration Authority (NDRA) last year issued three CNICs to Sharbat Bibi and two men who claimed to be her two sons.
The officer added the relatives of Bibi didn’t recognize the two persons who listed as her sons in the form.
In 1984 National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photo at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp, on the edge of Peshawar at the time of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. She was identified as the Sharbat Gula.
She was popular when in 1985 her photo was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine when she was about 12 years old. Bibi became famous as the ‘Afghan Girl’. Her haunting image became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.
According to The Dawn, National Geographic also made a documentary about her life and called her the ‘Mona Lisa of Afghan War’.
After 17 years search in 2002 McCurry again found her at a remote Afghan village. There she was married to a baker and had three daughters.
If she found guilty by the court she would face 7 to 14 years imprisonment and a fine between $3,000 to $5,000.
She was one of the thousands of Afghan refugees who managed to manipulate Pakistan’s computerized system and to get an identity card.
Pakistan has launched a crackdown and re-verification campaign against those who have acquired fake ID cards. NADRA has reverified 91 million ID cards in which 60, 675 cards were detected fake.
The official said that around 18 officials were under investigation for issuing the cards and 8 has been arrested so far.