A Pakistani court refused the bail plea of National Geographic famous green-eyed Afghan Girl on Wednesday. She was arrested in Pakistan on the charges of corruption.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested the ‘Afghan Girl’, Sharbat Bibi or Sharbat Gula on last week on the charges of keeping fake Pakistani ID cards. But she denied the accusation.
Her lawyer told the Peshawar high court on Tuesday that she had Hepatitis C. Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had asked the FIA to release her on humanitarian grounds.
Afghan ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said, “despite assurances were given by the interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and other government leaders the bail to free Sharbat Gula from incarceration in Peshawar was rejected today”. He added, “Despite being world famous, Sharbat Gula is a poor widow and the sole head of her family, comprising four children. She is sick, suffering from hepatitis which claimed the lives of her husband and elder daughter in the recent past.”
He stated that he appealed to Pakistan Prime Minister and sent a formal request to look into the matter and instructed the release of Sharbat Gula.
Sharbat Gula will now face up to 14 years in jail. Her arrest showed the plight of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. After the Soviet invasion in 1979, the Afghan refugees fled from their country and Pakistan provided them a safe haven.
According to UNHCR, recently Pakistan had hosted 1.4 million Afghan refugees. Also, one million unregistered refugees were believed to be in the country.
Last month UNHCR said, in 2016 more than 3,50,000 refugees have left from Pakistan and another 4,50,000 expected to do the same by the year’s end.
In 1984 National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photo in a Pakistani refugee camp. The Afghan Girl’s photo in 1985 was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. Her haunting image became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.