National Geographic’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’, Sharbat Gula, has refused to stay in Pakistan in response to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s offer to stop her deportation from the country. Earlier, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar had ordered to deport her and sentenced her to 15 days of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 1,10,000 for alleged forging a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).
The deportation was, however, stopped on humanitarian grounds and as a goodwill gesture towards Afghanistan. She became famous as the ‘Afghan Girl’ when National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984 and identified her as Sharbat Gula.
She gained worldwide recognition when her image was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was around 12 years old. Gula will leave for Afghanistan on Wednesday through the Torkham border.