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‘Green-eyed Afghan girl’ under probe in Pakistan

Posted in S. Asia


Published on February 27, 2015 with No Comments

Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed “Afghan girl” immortalized in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers.
The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.
After a 17-year search, McCurry tracked Gula down to a remote Afghan village in 2002 where she was living married to a baker and the mother of three daughters.
Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April 2014, using the name Sharbat Bibi.
She was one of thousands of Afghan refugees who managed to dodge Pakistan’s computerized system and to get an identity card last year.
Faik Ali Chachar, a spokesman for the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), told media the Federal Investigation Agency was probing Gula’s case.
“This is one of the thousands of cases which was detected last year and sent to the FIA. We are waiting for the findings of the inquiry,” Chachar said.
“Our vigilance department detected the Sharbat Bibi case in August 2014 and sent it to FIA for further investigation the same month.”
Many Afghan refugees try to get Pakistani ID cards every day using fake documents, Chachar said.
In her official registration with NADRA, Gula said she was born in January 1969 and gave Peshawar as her place of birth.The photo attached to the application has the same piercing green eyes and the same sculpted face seen in McCurry’s famous image only older, lined by age and surrounded by a black hijab covering her hair completely.


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