Pakistan court denies bail to National Geographic’s “Afghan Girl”
The Afghan woman who was shot to fame through a famous National Geographic cover “Afghan Girl” was denied of bail in Pakistan.
Sharbat Gula now in her 40s is now under detention in Pakistan for faking documents and staying illegally in the country.
“The petition filed in the special court was dismissed,” her lawyer Mubasher Nazar said. Steve McCurry’s 1980’s photo on the National Geographic cover made Gula a symbolic figure of refugees living Pakistan.
She was arrested last week from Peshawar. If convicted, she could be serving up to 14 years in jail.
Gula was arrested last year on the similar charges but was later released.
According to CNN, McCurry, the photographer who made her a celebrity said he is committed to provide legal and financial help.
“I object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms,” he said in a statement. “She has suffered throughout her entire life. Her arrest is an egregious violation of her human rights.”
UN Refugee Agency(UNHCR)’s Pakistan office said last week that only if Gula registers as a refugee, then only it can provide help.”Sharbat Gula falls under the ‘undocumented migrants’ umbrella,’
“Sharbat Gula falls under the ‘undocumented migrants’ umbrella,” said Duniya Khan of UNHCR.”The UNHCR cannot intervene since she is not a registered refugee.” she added.
According to Human Rights Watch, Pakistan has deported around 370,000 Afghans out of which 220,000 of them were registered as refugees.
Shattered by the civil war and conflict at home, millions of Afghans have sought shelter in Pakistan, HRW added.