Peshawar – Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed “Afghan girl” immortalised 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 computerised system and to get an identity card last year.
Faik Ali Chachar, a spokesman for the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), said 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.
“Around 23,000 cards of Afghan refugees were detected and blocked” in the 12 years since NADRA was launched, Chachar said… see more